Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Tale of Two Dogs

It's been some time since I last posted, being busy with the puppies, who are now leaving for their new homes. Two weeks ago, when the first puppy left, it was on the same day that a wonderful little rescue dog that I was fostering left for her "forever" home. I got to thinking about the different paths that each of these dogs lives took on the way to their new homes.

It was extremely hard, letting the first puppy go to her new home. Sending the puppies of to their homes is always bittersweet. By the time they start leaving, we've had them for ten weeks. From watching their birth, seeing their eyes open, those first steps. Then it's on to learning about the grooming table, walking on a leash, and getting along with others. Then it's time for them to move on to their permanent homes, where their arrival has been highly anticipated.

While driving home from the airport, after dropping off the new owner and her puppy for their flight home, I got to thinking how different these two dogs lives have been. The puppy, who was ten weeks old at the time she left, had never known anything except her mother, a clean area to sleep in and play, patience while the "humans" taught her how to stand on the groomng table, get a bath, walk on the leash, and play with toys. She, like the rest of the littermates were always told how wonderful they were, and encouraged when they took their first tentative steps down the deck to the yard, had their first "scary" bath, etc. They were cherished puppies, and I'm sure they know it.

In contrast. I thought about the little rescue girl. I received a call one evening from the rescue coordinator for our breed. An older dog needed to be fostered immediately, since the owner was moving into an apartment that did not allow dogs. The dog needed to be picked up the following day. The next evening, I went to pick this little girl up. She's 8 1/2 years old, and due to a lack of dental care, had lost all her teeth. No, not most of her teeth, ALL of her teeth. The owner explained that she "just didn't have time for the dog" anymore, and she had spent a lot of time in her crate.

I could only imagine how frightened this little dog must have been when I took her and placed her in the car. Here she was, 8+ years old, being taken from the only home she has known, because, basically she wasn't convenient anymore. She was such a stoic little dog though. She sat on the front seat, peeking at me every so often, I'm sure wondering what was going on. She fit in quickly with my other dogs, never causing a problem. I couldn't imagine someone not appreciating her, she's quiet, clean, and never caused any problems. Despite her lack of teeth, and age, our wonderful rescue coordinator found her a home quite quickly, in Texas. The problem became, how to get her to Texas, since the temperatures were so high in August, that she couldn't fly, and I was less than enthusiastic about flying an eight year old dog to her new home. In October, we found a ride for her from Denver to Texas, and she couldn't be doing better. I receive updates from her new owner who can't say enough about how wonderful and loving this little dog is. How sad that it took this little dog so long to find a home that would truly appreciate her, and love her for who she is.

So, as I drove home that night from the airport and dropping off the owner with her new puppy, I had to think about the very different paths each took to get to their homes; and wonder when did the rescue dog go from being that cute bundle of joy as a puppy, to an unwanted burden on her owners?

As a breeder, in the end, the only thing I can do is screen potential owners as well as possible before placing puppies in homes where they will ALWAYS be a true part of the family. It didn't take much more than looking at the rescue dog and her plight to hope I never make a mistake.

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