Tag Archives: Rescue Dog

Our heart grows with each dog

I’m feeling sad today, I just heard that one of the dogs from Annie’s rescue group has passed away. Like Annie, she was a senior girl who survived many years of breeding abuse and neglect.

I think it’s hitting me especially hard because I am out of town right now, and will be for another week.  I’ve always known my time with Annie is limited because of her age and this is a reminder that we need to make each day count.

Amber was with her owner for 2 years and had a lovely life with him.  He loved her and spoiled her and she learned what a dog’s life should be. Her final meal was a stack of bacon cheeseburgers that she thoroughly enjoyed. Last year she was joined by another, younger Newfie girl from rescue that turned out to be her niece. She was from the same kennel but I think had been one of the many puppies that had been purchased and then later surrendered to rescue.  Several other dogs from this kennel have ended up in rescue, another common trend of disreputable breeding practices.

In his tribute to his special brown girl, her owner posted this poem by Erica Jong.  It beautifully sums up the feelings of many of us dog owners.

Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love,

they depart to teach us about loss.

A new dog never replaces an old dog,

it merely expands the heart.

If you have loved many dogs your heart is very big.

 

Rest in peace sweet Amber.

Amber (Autumn) was one of the dogs featured at the end of this blog post: Adopt or shop, just do it responsibly

 

Happy Gotcha Day Sweet Annie!

One year ago, you came into our lives and so much has changed since that cold, January day.

It was not easy for you, during the previous year you had moved 4 times.  You were rescued from the only home you knew.  It was a terrible place that failed you in so many ways, but the future was scary and unknown.  You were taken to a temporary foster kennel until your foster placement was found.  You were with your foster family for several months before you were adopted but your needs were more than that family could handle so you were returned to your foster pack. On January 31st, we found each other and started down a new path together.

It took a while for you to trust us.  I don’t blame you, you were 9 1/2 and it was really hard for you to shed your fears and memories.  I wasn’t sure that you would ever bond with us, but I was OK with that, I just wanted to show you that you were worthy of the love that every dog should know.

Slowly, very slowly you have let me in.  You search me out and join me in different rooms in our home.  You trust that you are safe with me when we leave the house.  You show your personality which is very silly and you are so affectionate. You love food and treats so much, you seem to never get enough. You talk to me, almost every day.

You have changed our lives, filled our hearts and honored us by choosing us to be your family.

Annie, I promise you this, just as I did with Thomas and Abigail while they were growing up, I say this to you:

When you are nervous, I gotcha.

When you want to change directions because someone is walking towards us, I gotcha.

When you have a belly ache because you ate a whole loaf of bread you found on the counter, I gotcha.

When you howl at me to wish me good morning or are telling me that yes, you want to go for a walk, I gotcha.

When you are feeling unsure at your Dr.’s office, I gotcha.

When you are so hungry for dinner, you start dancing around, I gotcha.

For all those moments we share, fun, scary or otherwise, I gotcha.

Until we say goodbye, I gotcha Annie, I gotcha.img_4487

 

 

 

 

Weekly photo challenge: relax

At first glance, it’s probably hard to tell what this is but it is actually monumental.  Annie was a breeder dog and came from a horrible place.  It took her months to learn to relax with us and her safety place has always been her crate.  She has never rolled over for a belly rub and doesn’t really like it when I try to rub her belly.  I think she had so many years of puppies going after her belly that for her, having it left alone and protecting it is the ultimate luxury.  I didn’t think it would ever happen, but in the last couple of weeks while she is in her crate she has started to make attempts to roll over.  It starts with her rubbing her face in the bumper of her bed, then she pounds her back feet against the rear wall and starts the process of rolling over.  This was the first time she was actually successful and held it for more than a few seconds.  This to me is the biggest sign that she can finally relax and feel safe.img_3543

Annie’s long, long, beautiful tail

The way that a dog holds their tail tells us so much.  A wagging tail is almost always good, a tail held high and wagging is really good. I have been anxiously  watching Annie’s tail since the day we brought her home.

“A dog can express more with his tail in minutes than an owner can express with his tongue in hours.”
—Karen Davison

In the beginning, it hung straight down between her legs and the tip actually grazed the ground when she walked.  img_2918After a few days it started to wag. It wasn’t frequent and when it did it was low and slow.  She’d move it maybe 3 or 4 times back and forth and then it would stop. It never wagged when we were petting her, it would stop as soon as she was touched.

Slowly, very slowly, it started to get a little higher.  It reminded me of a helium balloon that would start to rise up and then drop down again. I was constantly watching it, hoping for the day when it would get up above her back. I knew we were making progress with her when she would thump her tail on the ground when I approached her while she was lying down.  Then it started to wag when she approached me.  It still drops as soon as I start to pet her, I think she just gets so absorbed in the affection that she can’t focus on anything else.

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We cheered when it started to raise up in line with her back.

Annie’s whole disposition is so different from the way it was her first couple of months with us.  She is no longer guarded in the house and doesn’t get startled anymore when she comes around the corner and sees one of us. She seeks us out, and pushes Maisie away in order to get all of our attention. Her tail wags most of the time, and occasionally continues to wag when we are petting her–at least for the first few seconds.  It curls more and waves back and forth whenever she is expressing herself.  It has started to raise up above her back but she can’t yet hold it there. Hopefully we will see that sometime soon!

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We are waiting for the day that Annie’s tail gets as high as Maisie’s.

Becoming sisters

Recently someone asked me what the major differences were between Maisie and Annie. It took me a minute to gather my thoughts and figure out where to begin.

When we brought Annie home, the contrast between the two dogs was shocking. We’ve had Maisie from the time that she was a puppy. She has always been treated with love and affection. In her mind, everyone is her friend. She loves meeting people and other dogs. She loves to play. She has baskets of toys, and plays with her toys on her own and when she needs to burn some energy. She is a bundle of joy and fun. She is always excited about every new adventure and has nothing to fear.

Annie was the complete opposite. Prior to her rescue she didn’t know that people weren’t to fear. She was trying to figure out if she was safe in our house. She wouldn’t even take treats from our hands. Protecting herself was her top priority and it took her a while to learn to trust our kind overtures. She showed no interest in toys and she did not want to play with Maisie.   Maisie is very good about reading human cues, but not so good at understanding dog cues. I was not surprised when I heard a scuffle on Annie’s third day with us. Annie came skittering around the corner and went straight into her crate. She was hanging her head and when I approached her to let her know she wasn’t in trouble, she had a big tuft of brown fur sticking out of her mouth. I chuckled to myself, Maisie was fine, they were just setting boundaries with each other, and it might take a couple hints for Maisie to understand the boundaries. I gave Annie a few pats, took the fur out of her mouth and watched her expressionless eyes as she pulled herself into her protective barrier and settled into her bed. It broke my heart that she was so guarded, but I just knew that I could get her to relax by giving her time and patience.

It took several days, but Annie started to understand that this was her house as well as Maisie’s. Annie tried to keep her distance with Maisie, and Maisie continued to try to get close and get her to play. Even though Annie seemed annoyed by this, she never gave Maisie another “correction.” Over time she started to warm up to Maisie and she would come out of her crate and lay on the floor when Maisie was doing the same thing. In the beginning, she would lie far from Maisie, but slowly they started lying more close together. It’s taken a while, but now they are always in the same room with each other and they lie very close together when they sleep. They also follow each other around the house, and Annie takes great comfort in having Maisie with her when we leave the house so I know they have bonded.

Annie is now so comfortable in the house that she spends very little time in her crate. She prefers to be on the cool tile or spread out on the floor. She is always close by and very often is a tripping hazard. I love that she wants to be close to us and that she will come searching for me if I’ve left the room.

Their body types are as different as their personalities. Maisie is slightly undersized and is very light-footed. I call her Tiptoe because of the way she walks. She holds her head high and puffs her chest out when she prances around, looking more like a pony than a dog. Annie is very stocky and long. She’s shorter than Maisie but she has very broad shoulders and hips which give her a bigger appearance. Her head is a little small for her body and she holds it low, between her shoulders. She has huge flat feet and they point inward when she walks which causes her shoulders to roll along with her hips. She truly has the look of a black bear when she’s walking around the yard.

Maisie likes to push on Annie to get her to play and she’ll wrap her neck over Annie’s. Annie will usually try to change directions to get away from Maisie but recently, she’s learned she can give a good shoulder check to get her to move. Annie will also use her strength to push Maisie away when she is getting attention from me. Annie now wants as much attention as possible and she just shoves her way in so she can be closest. Every now and then she’ll give Maisie a check out of the blue, which Maisie interprets as an invitation to play. I can’t tell if Annie is trying to play, or is being a pushy big sister but it’s fun to see them engage more frequently with each other, and Maisie not being the only one to initiate an interaction.

Annie still doesn’t show any interest in toys but she did do a funny thing one day. Around 8:00 every night, Maisie has her crazy time. She will grab one of her favorite, noisiest toys and start running circles in the house while squeaking the toy as much as possible. She usually does this when we’ve settled in to watch TV, so the volume gets turned up, Maisie races around, skidding out, changing direction and being very distracting for 5-10 minutes. Annie usually is starting her after-dinner snooze so when this starts she typically gets up and goes to her crate to get out of the way. One morning, green dragon was lying by Annie’s crate after it had been discarded the night before. Annie stood over it, then pounced and grabbed it and took it to the back of her crate. It’s the only time she has pounced much less grabbed a toy and it made me smile because she was showing a hint of mischief by stealing Maisie’s favorite toy. Maybe she was trying to hide it in order to have a more peaceful evening that night, but I really think she was trying to show Maisie who’s the boss.