In Praise of Rescue Dogs (Back to One)

We no longer have any of our initial pack. They’ve all gone to the Rainbow Bridge. They each, in their own exceedingly special way, gave us so much love and devotion. We miss them all. We wouldn’t have traded our rescue kids for any amount of money.

The first of our furkids to leave us was Blizzard. I’m not going to go into the long, sad story. What I am going to tell you is that after a few months, we decided to adopt again. By that point, we were living in Michigan. Once again, my friend Janet happened upon a  young, male, white GSD named Chief. I’m sure I will be able to talk about Chief at a later date. We just lost our boy to cancer on July 3rd. It’s still way too fresh to talk about, but I will one day.

Syd as an 80 lb lapdog

Now we have Sydney! Sydney came to us not too long after Liesel went to the “bridge.” Friends had seen a classified ad in a local paper looking for a home for a female German Shepherd Dog. We went to meet her. What a beautiful dog! Our only concerns were how she would fit in with Chief and Guinevere and, even more concerning, how was her health? Since she didn’t come through a rescue organization, we had to rely on the previous owner’s records. The vet records were available. On the negative side, her medical health had not been kept up over the past year. We had her tested for heartworm. If she’d been positive, we couldn’t have kept her. Luckily for us all, she was negative. We brought her home and had our vet update all her vaccinations. She went on heartworm preventative, immediately.

Sydney was a joiner. Again, it was a good thing as the other two were completely bonded. Guinevere and Chief had recently lost their “sister” Liesel, and were ready to accept another pack member. The three got along beautifully.

Syd definitely has her baggage that we’re working on. She really hates going to the vet. She’s so afraid! We have to sedate her and have her wear a muzzle. We learned, her previous owner would pin her to the ground with his body to have her vetted. No wonder she’s a basket of nerves.

Sydney’s slowly – yet surely – making progress. When she first came home with us, she really didn’t trust me very much. It seemed pretty obvious that some woman had really treated her poorly. Now, she’s a whole different girl with me. No more snarling or snapping when I got too much into her “zone.” It’s taken time, but patience and love has bridged the gap. These were not things we had to deal with when our dogs came through rescue.

We will, undoubtedly, adopt another dog in the near future.Sydney is missing her friends and would love a new “brother.” It will be imperative, however, that the new family member be submissive. Syd is a very dominant girl, now. We will be going through rescue – no doubt about it. There are so many wonderful dogs and agencies…

You just can not beat rescue! In general, you will get a healthy dog (up-to-date on vaccinations, and heartworm negative) who has already been neutered (except VERY young dogs) and housebroken. They’ve already been through foster care where many of their “demons” have been exorcised. The foster parents can help you to know your dog’s personality and you’ll know what to expect before they come into your home.

It will still be up to you to take care of your new friend. It’s so worth it! You’ve helped save a life. In turn (if you’re anything like me), having these wonderful beings in your life will help to save you. We save their lives – they save our humanity. I think we get the best part of the deal.

Up Next: Drawing a Crowd (The Wonder of a White-eared)

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4 thoughts on “In Praise of Rescue Dogs (Back to One)

    • That’s the beauty, Tipper! These dogs are anxious for a new, loving home. Dogs, being pack animals, especially yearn for acceptance and affection. Yes, a large dose of patience is necessary for those who have had very rocky starts, but so many – especially in this day and age of recession – have been in loving families who have had to give them up for some reason. It’s so sad for all concerned. So many have gone from being much beloved pets to shelters. Bringing a dog into the family who has been given up for adoption brings renewal to all concerned.

  1. Syd reminds me of Von- Heidi’s dog. Beautiful dog. Planning on a rescue dog ourselves. It will be our first dog as a family.

    • Let me suggest that you look for a dog that is around two or three. We just rescued another dog! He’s a puppy (will be a year on Aug. 6). He’s in need of lots of training and he’s very mouthy. (More on Bear in next Blog Post.) The dogs we’ve gotten that have been a wee bit older, have all been past that stage.

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