My husband and I adopted (rescued) a second dog in January 2000. We went to the same humane society that we did when we adopted Missy, who is now (2001) 13 years old. The process of adoption had changed drastically in the past few years. We were able to bring Missy home the same day. We were both pleased and surprised that the humane society had us fill out a 2-page application for adoption, asking questions such as: do you work? How many hours? Do you live in a house or apartment? Do you have a fence? Any small children? Since we had another dog, they wanted to know the vet’s name and address. They even asked for directions to our home!
We could not take Mandy home that first day. They told my husband and I to talk it over. What they did not tell us was that Mandy (about 9 months old) and had been adopted for a short time (maybe 1 month), but then returned to the humane society. The excuse was “she was not good with young children.” She spent the other 6 months in a cage in a dark room at the humane society, with her only fun pastime between the two short daily outings to “do her business” was mealtime, and catching flies and bugs.
When we finally were able to bring her home on that snowy Midwest winter day, her eyes became bloodshot because she was not used to the light.
She is mostly Lab but howls like a beagle. She weighed about 48 pounds when we brought her to the vet and had no muscle at all. I had to help her climb onto my lap by pushing her back legs up.
From the scared way she acted, I knew she had to have been abused. She was afraid of every sound. We had a cage waiting at home for her so she could make herself at home in something familiar. Her cage became her retreat..a place of security where she could go when she was afraid or unsure.
The first week was very trying for all of us. Missy, our Lab/Dob mix (then 11) who looks much like Mandy, only with lots of white fur, now had to set parameters. Fortunately, Mandy was very submissive towards her..and we all passed the critical adjustment stage with no more than growls and barks.
We also used treats to get her to come to us and others. Missy taught her how to sit, lie down and roll over for food. She never growled but would cower away from people. We knew we had to get her over that before spring, because we are sailors, and knew she would spend much time with us and Missy at the marina.
Seeing all the people at the marina terrified her at first, but most boat people have dogs, so they were very understanding. She loves the boat though, like her own little den…and enjoys the fresh air, ducks, and seagulls.
This January will be our 9th anniversary with Mandy, and she has grown to love Missy and us as much as we love both of them.
So one more dog was saved…but how about the thousands of others? We still have much to do to get the word out. Hats off to all the humane societies that shelter dogs, as well as to the people who bring a rescue dog to a loving home. My husband and I agree that there is no such thing as a bad dog, only dogs that have been abused or misunderstood.
….And the great thing is…when you rescue a dog, in return they “rescue” you every time you are sad, lonely, or bored.
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