Wednesday, October 04, 2006

T is for Three Dogs

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If you're an animal lover, don't go to Petfinder unless you want to end up with another pet and/or get depressed.

I try to stay away, but over the weekend I was there for a few minutes to find an email address for Sunny's foster mom. What sad stories. So many dogs (and other animals, but I didn't look at them) needing a good home with someone willing to spend the time and money to make their life better.

I'd like to share the stories of our three dogs today. Apologies to the few long time readers who have heard these stories before.

Glory, a big black lab mixGlory is a 10 year old, 70 pound lab mix.

When she was a cute little puppy, some young man without a clue adopted her to live with him in his apartment. By the time she was a large six month old energetic puppy, she was taking up way too much room in the apartment and demanding too much of the young man's attention.

DH was in town one day and overheard the young man say he had a dog that was too big and he was going to drop her off in the country. DH said he lived in the country and he would take the dog. And he did.

That day while I was peacefully working at home, DH drove up the drive with a big, bouncy, black puppy in the front seat. He opened the car door and Glory jumped out to inspect her new property. She ran and ran and ran, seeming to know where the property boundaries are. When she was tired, she came in the house, met me, and has been part of the family ever since.

Sunny, a small mixed breedSunny is a five year old small dog mix. There are many different opinions on what that mix is. She is unique and wonderful.

We found her on Petfinder in a foster home about 100 miles north of us. She was a two pound puppy who had been dumped alongside the road with her mother and two siblings. Her adult weight is sixteen pounds.

Her blurb on Petfinder said she was Terrier/Papillon, but they were just guessing. She did look like a Papillon puppy with curly hair. One of her sisters looked like a Jack Russell and the other looked like a white poodle. Her mother looked very similar to Sunny.

Pappy, a PapillonPappy, an eight year old Papillon, also came from Petfinder. We got him four years ago when he was four years old.

We had no intention of getting a third dog. We had never heard of Papillons before getting Sunny and becoming interested in the breed.

I emailed Pappy's Petfinder link to DH for the purpose of showing him what a Papillon looked like. Then I promptly forgot about sending it.

Later, I was sitting on the sofa and heard DH say, "We need to get that poor boy."


Turns out DH was right. Pappy was a total physical and emotional basket case when we adopted him. It was obvious that he'd been abused and his health issues ignored.

The first month we nursed him back to health and let him adjust to his new home as much as possible. The second month he started doggy school. One of his first exercises was to be fed pieces of turkey dog while being held so he would learn that being held was a good thing.

After two years, he trusted us enough to sleep tummy up. After four years, he is healthy, normal, loving, and loves running the agility course at doggy school.

For anyone thinking of adopting from Petfinder, there are some wonderful dogs there - BUT be prepared. Most of the dogs have "issues". Some are basic personality issues, and some are issues acquired from having a bad experience in their previous home. All "issues" require time, patience, love, and effort to resolve. It's not as simple as the Dog Whisperer leads you believe.

And please remember that cute little lab puppies quickly grow into large dogs that need room to run and play. Especially if you live in an apartment.