On September 22, 2007 a wonderful event happened. Shelby (aka Petunia) welcomed us into her life.
Shelby is a 10 year old, long haired dachshund. She is deaf, and with age, is starting to lose her sight as well, however, she can still spot a crumb falling from across the room! And the energy this little girl has!! You just wouldn’t believe it!
My sister Inge introduced us to SCARS as she is an advocate for rescuing animals where possible. She emailed me one day telling me about this poor little girl who was on the website just waiting for a home and did I know anyone who might want her. I had seen her on the website before and couldn’t help but fall in love with those eyes.
While I was thinking of people who may want to adopt her I thought of my father-in-law. He was home by himself and could use a companion. So, I called Kevin (my other half) and asked him what he thought of that idea. He hesitated for a moment and then said “Well, I was thinking getting her for us.” At this point, I wasn’t sure. Our little guy Scooter had passed away in April at the age of 16 years and I really didn’t know if I was ready to have a new little one in my life. So, I looked at her picture again and there was my fatal error! I emailed Inge and told her we had found Shelby a home - with us! Inge of course was thrilled! Now, the saddest thing I think at this point was the name they had given Shelby at SCARS... Petunia!!! She was not a little flower!!! She was a Princess (as we were to find out) and so we decided her name would be Shelby (we also have a passion for the Ford Mustang).
So that weekend, we drove to Edmonton from our home in Calgary to meet our soon to be new addition. When we got to her foster home she immediately came running over to greet me and Kevin and it was like she knew why we were there. She grabbed onto the plastic handle of the leash we had brought and was trying to pick it up. She was just a little bundle of pure excitement! So there was no doubt in my mind that we had to bring her home, and Kevin felt the same way. After signing the papers she was ours.. lock.. stock.. and energy! After a brief visit with my sister we were on our way back home to Calgary - nothing like a one day round trip to pass the day - and she settled down in the truck, after an hour of trying to decide which window she would be able to see out of the best!
Once we were home, she sniffed around the place, pooped on the floor, and blessed it as a good home to be at. We had a nice little bed for her which she found to her liking as well. She did the three minimum turn and layed down for the night. Sunday was a fun filled day of trying to figure out how to talk to each other when she couldn’t hear us, and we didn’t know if her family before had tried to use hand signals with her. She was happy though, she had food, she had water, scratches when she wanted them.. and...a doggie door!! Well, once she figured out she didn’t have to tell us when she wanted out, there was no stopping her! Until she figured that part out, we did have a bit of training us to figure out when she wanted out! After a couple of errors and carpet cleaning spots, we figured out when she just sat and stared at us, it meant she wanted out!! We were trainable though, and willing to learn. It really is one of the biggest challenges with adopting a rescue dog, understanding the cues they have been using all their lives and they really don’t understand why their new humans don’t understand what they are saying!!!
Sunday was a fun filled day of learning a bit more about each other, and of Shelby figuring out the rules of our house.. basically there weren’t any!
Monday morning I did have a good giggle at her. I got up for work and you should have seen the look I got!!! I could just see her checking her doggie watch with a total look of disgust, then looking up at me with a look that said, without a doubt, “Excuse me... Mom... Princess’s do NOT get up this early.. Please turn the light back off!” Her new dad was of course thrilled because he feels the same way about getting up in the morning!
So began our life with Shelby. It is now three months later and her Dad (and yes Mom too) caters to her every whim. She is our little Princess. There have been challenges along the way, but none that were insurmountable with effort. We do have a little problem when we take her for walks as she decides to take us for the walk by pulling on the leash, and she can become aggressive with other dogs sometimes. So we started obedience classes. Well, we get to class and she is the perfect little angel. My classmates are wondering what I am talking about when I tell them the problems I see. Not in class. She gets along with all the other dogs, and when I am asked to walk her on the leash she obediently walks along right beside me, never pulling, never going off on her own. Just following along like a perfect, well trained little dog! The little brat!! I know she was doing it on purpose!
So, our first class continues. I have already taught her a hand signal for sit which she has mastered. It is amazing what can be accomplished with a little bit of treats!! So of course the class is all amazed at how well she will listen when I tell her to sit. However, now comes the new instructions, we have to tell them to go “down” and to “stand”. Well says the instructor, it is very simple. You put them into a sit (all her classmates had figured out the sit pretty quickly with food being involved) and to stand you put the treat to their nose and pull it away from them. They of course stand and follow the food! So, yes, she had that one down pat as well. Now however it was time for the down. Simple says our instructor, just take that treat to their nose again, and pull it down toward their body. They will follow it right through and sit down to get it. HAH!!!! Have you ever tried this trick with a long bodied, short legged dog?? They are contortionists!!! She was moving her body in ways I thought impossible to get that food. The instructor took pity on me and came over to “show how it is done”. Well good luck! Didn’t work for her either! Shelby just kept bending that head under her body and never had to sit for it at all. So, the instructor finally conceded the fact that sometimes the long bodied, short legged dogs were harder to get to do it, so what I should do instead was sit on the floor and have her go under my leg to get the food. Hey, it worked! She crawled under my leg to get the food I was holding on the other side! The first time. After that she knew what I was doing so would just jump over my leg instead! Again, the little brat!! But, I have faith, this too will work out, and she is getting better on the leash now too! Monday night is our second class so we will see what wonderful things they will come up with for us!
Shelby is filling a void that I knew was there after Scooter left us, but didn’t realize how much I needed to have it filled. I can’t imagine why her family let her go after 10 years but it was my luck that they did. There are challenges with her age and disabilities but the joy she brings far outweighs those challenges and I am sure she forgives us the challenges she has with us as well.
Saturday, 22 December 2007
On September 22, 2007 a wonderful event happened. Shelby (aka Petunia) welcomed us into her life.
Saturday, 8 December 2007
This is Annie. Her sad eyes and battle scarred face tore at our hearts. We had just lost our young SCARS rescue, Casey, to a tragic accident. Holly was depressed and subdued and needed a playmate. We were looking for a Lab/ Border Collie cross, with short hair this time. Annie's little face begged us to adopt her.
We all piled into the car on a scorching July day and drove up to Sylvia's to meet Jill (Annie) and her brother Jack. Annie pretty much ignored us after Sylvia released her from the quarantine shed. Exploring around the dog runs was much more important than meeting new people! Even if those new people were going to be her forever home.
As Annie was 4-5 months old, we missed all of the endearing puppy antics that you would get with a younger pup. However, it was nice to also miss the teething and crying at night. House training was a snap and not one pair of socks or underwear came to grief! She was already big enough to go for walks and play with Holly. All she lacked was stamina which we built up gradually with good food and exercise. Annie still doesn't have Holly's border collie turn of speed or agility, but she is great at hand to hand combat and loves wrestling.
In true Lab fashion, Annie will eat anything, any time. She always thinks that she's starving and licks up every crumb or drip from the kitchen floor! I really don't know how she managed for 3 or 4 months on her own after she was weaned (presuming she had a Mom that long). Maybe that's why she wants to eat so much, making up for lost time! Annie is vocal and sounds like a bear when she's rolling on the carpet or trying to get Holly to play. She's a real character and we're glad that we had the chance to add her to our life. We love her!!
Just wanted to send along some pictures of Cricket (formerly Pearl) enjoying her new home. Please feel free to use them as you like.
Cricket hasn't been a problem free gal, but she is definately part of the family now. Her sense of humor and love for life is infectous! ***Karen
Monday, 3 December 2007
Just wanted to send a short note thanking you guys for the newest addition to our family! We have had Bruno for 3 weeks now - he has been an absolute joy! He now plays well with our 2 year old Wheaten Terrier who has shown much patience for the energetic little ball of fluff and teeth. He constantly is entertaining us - he is really clever, mostly obedient and is enjoying the snow and the freedom of a yard. I will post some more progress reports as my little guy gets bigger -
Thanks again for placing him with us - he is a perfect fit
Gillian, Scott (and Callie)