Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Story of Our little Buddy

It was exactly three years ago this morning that James received an “urgent” email with a photo of a scruffy little dog wearing a necktie. The message read, “Do you know anyone at all who may be interested in adopting this little guy? We need to find him a forever home within the next few hours as he is scheduled to be put down at three o’clock this afternoon!”

Buddy Pre-adoption

James had been haunting me about adopting a dog for about five years but I was holding fast to my decision not to do so, as we travel a great deal for our job and it would be unfair to ask family members to dog-sit for us that often. Beside, my workload was already full and I was not relishing the idea of having to care for a dog on top of all the other things I already have in my daily schedule.

“Oh the drama!” I replied when he called me into the office to see the dog’s photo and message. “How old is the dog?” I asked.

“He just turned thirteen months this week,” James replied, reading the details in the message.

“Like they’re really going to kill a one year old dog for no reason,” I responded. “That’s ludicrous!”

“But they are!” James added. He was given a stay of execution when Dan and Ron (two guys who run a dog rescue here locally) took him from an all-kill shelter with the stipulation that they had to find him a home within a week. The dog’s time is up today so he must be brought back to be put down.”

“Oh, someone will adopt him if that’s true. There are people out there in Wellington with large farms who could offer the lil’ guy a great life!

I returned to the business of my day but for some reason, I was unable to get that silly dog out of my head. What if nobody steps up and takes him? How awful that they would simply end his young life. It’s not the poor pup’s fault that he has no home.

By noon I caved in and asked James to see if the dog was taken. He checked with Dan and Ron and no one even called about him as of yet. I could actually feel myself start to sweat thinking that the dog may really be put down in the next couple of hours. Before I even realized what I was saying, I called out, “let’s go have a look at him!”

When we arrived at the guys home where they sheltered the dogs, I saw that there were a bunch of canines running around the fenced-in yard.

Dan informed us that he and Ron had rescued and found forever homes for three hundred and forty-some-odd dogs this season by bringing them to the Wellington Horse Show. This little guy had arrived after the end of the season and there was no longer a show to bring him to and almost no one left in the very seasonal community to even consider saving the little guy.

He explained that the dog had been removed from an extremely abusive situation after neighbors could no longer bear to hear the dog cry. He had been caged daily and placed into direct sunlight without any water as part of his routine torture. His fur showed the evidence of his plight as it had been bleached out into spotty red tones by the strong mid-day sun. In his short life, the dog had been beaten regularly and was dehydrated from the sun torture. He was skinny from malnutrition and had never had a haircut (or bath for that matter.)
I went out into the yard where the dogs were roaming and playing, I sat down in the grass and called out. “Come ‘er buddy!” The word buddy was used as a term of endearment as in my buddy or friend. In a second, the little Miniature Schnauzer-mix broke away from the pack and came prancing like a gazelle into my lap. He began to bark and kiss my face as if he knew before I did that we belonged together. All I could think was; how could anyone want to harm this tiny animal who only wanted to love and be loved back?

Holding back a tear, I looked up at James and Dan as I gently sighed, “We’ll take him and his name is now Buddy!” The little guy, who came with the name of Cuba, reacted so well to my call of buddy that it only seemed fitting.

“Hold on!” James called out. “He’s very yelpy!”

He was, but I wrote it off to excitement. Dan conceded that the pup was indeed yelpy for the first few moments with anyone new. Between that and his history, Dan believed people had been scared-off from adopting the dog for fear that he may have too many issues. It was a Friday afternoon so James asked if we could possibly take him home on a trial basis for the weekend to see how the dog may adjust to life in our home. Dan agreed to the test, and James asked one last question, “Can we take him directly to a groomer?” He was dirty and tangled and it was quite difficult to even imagine what he truly looked like under all that long and scruffy fur.

After a bath, a haircut, a manicure, and even a blueberry facial, Buddy emerged a very handsome and regal looking pooch and I do believe that he knew it himself!

A Now Well-Groomed Buddy Striking a Pose for the Camera

A Now Well-Groomed Buddy Striking a Pose for the Camera

From the moment we walked in the door, Buddy never left my side and every time I sat, he would jump up onto my lap. He watched me work, clean, and even watched as I peed as he took in all the curious details of my day. When he finally had to pee himself, Buddy ran into the bathroom and lifted his leg against the toilet, proud that he knew exactly where to relieve himself at his new home. How could I get angry at what was plainly an attempt to do the right thing? All I could do was call out, “NO, no! Not there!” through my laughter. Then I leashed him up and took him outdoors to go. That was his first and only bathroom mistake… ever!

On my Lap and in My Arms

On my Lap and in My Arms

One of the things I noticed about Buddy was how he would panic when I tried to take him for a walk. With the memories of his torture in the sun still fresh in his mind; as soon as he was out of the shadows and entered the sunlight, he would try to pull himself into any shade he could see. He would try to escape the sun’s rays by going under a bush, a tree, even under parked cars. It took a couple of weeks before he learned that stepping into the sun was not a punishment and that he could freely leave the sunshine at any time. These days it does my heart good to watch my lil’ Budster actually decide to sit outside by the pool, taking in the sun’s warmth for the pleasure in which God intended.

Soakin' Up the Sun!

Soakin’ Up the Sun!

I was told by three different trainers that I would never be able to teach him the command “come,” as each time he heard the phrase he would run away, cowering and shaking with fear. To him the command meant, come and take a beating. It was suggested that I try to teach him a new word like “side” or “here” but I was determined to teach him that it was his former owner who was bad and not the word. I am happy to report that Buddy does indeed understand and obey the word come. He does so without any question, fear, or doubt in his mind.

After having a test done on Buddy’s DNA this year, it was determined that one of his parents was 100% pure-bred miniature schnauzer and the other 100% multi-generational mutt. I believe that when he was a puppy, one could not tell he was a mixed-breed and that his first owner planned to breed him. He had already had the dog’s tail cropped like a true breed and had not had him neutered. I think that once Buddy started to grow, it became evident that he was not a pure-breed and therefore worthless to the owner, who took his frustration out on the innocent dog.

Chilaxing!

Chilaxing!

I don’t know all that Buddy had gone through during that first year of his life, in fact I try not to even think about it. I do know that nowadays, he is quite a happy and loving member of our family and I can’t even imagine my life without him in it. He helps me through my issues with chronic- acute pain and gives me at least a few reasons to laugh out loud each and every day. His actual day of birth was sometime during the last week of February 2011 but we celebrate his “re-birthday” of March 30th; the day (thirteen months after he was born) when he became a member of our family… forever!

My Buddy and Me

My Buddy and Me

Happy Birthday Buddy, you are and always will be, my little man!

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The Great Canine Mystery

Like I needed C.S.I. or N.C.I.S. when there was a real canine conundrum waiting to be uncovered here at my house? “The Mad Mystery of the Mutts Missing Mainspring” or “What Kind of Dog is He Anyway?”

At long last, the verdict is finally in on my pups. Their DNA test results have come back from the lab and yes, it did in some cases simply confirm the obvious, while other results were total shockers.

1st Buddy:
No surprise here; one parent was 100% Miniature Schnauzer and the other was so many generations of mutts breeding other mutts, that it is virtually impossible to narrow it down to anything more than “mixed” breed (at least through the basic DNA test). So as far as breed goes, we know exactly what we knew going in, he is Mini-Schnauzer mixed with “something else.”

Buddy

Buddy

Common Traits:

Being vocal (barking) and a need to protect and guard the home: This is one hundred percent true! He is a bit Napoleonic at times, thinking he is much bigger than his 13 pounds.
Smart and Treat Driven: Well, he’s smart enough to know that he doesn’t care about treats or learning any stupid tricks. Luckily, he has the important basics like stay, come, sit, and down, under his belt. Quite frankly, I think he knows want’s important and what is merely human amusement. As far as Buddy is concerned, if we want entertainment, we should go read a book or turn on the TV! I am actually surprised that his DNA didn’t reveal that he is part cat!

Buddy always resting but always alert!

Buddy always resting but always alert!

Theo:
Big surprise here! We were sure that he was at least “part” Bichon for two reasons, one; he looks it, and two; we were told by the people who surrendered him, that he was half Bichon and half Shih Tzu. Test result show that although one parent was at least “part Shih Tzu, he has absolutely no Bichon in him at all. He is however also mixed with Lhasa Apso and Chinese Crested! Yes, Chinese Crested. Who knew? His other Parent was an amalgamation of Cocker Spaniel and Rottweiler. Also, like Buddy, one of Theo’s parents also possessed a concoction of so many generations of diverse breeding that it can only be call “mixed” breed. I guess that’s the politically correct way to say mutt these days.

Theo (short for Theodore)

Theo (short for Theodore)

This special blend of breeds should have Theo showing some of the following traits:

Loyalty: 100% true of my Theo
Smart: Also true. No this is not the ranting of a proud papa, the dog is smart, there is just no way around it.
Hunter/Scouter: SO very true! Theo loves to lead the way, although he totally “heals” during our walks unless I give him the okay to relax. I have often said that had I waited to learn about his personality before naming him, I would have wound up calling him Scout! That same characteristic is also responsible for his desire to retrieve, which makes him enjoy fetching things. Whenever Theo gets board, he brings me his “toy de jour,” so that I can throw it and have him “bring it” …over and over again. If I am dumb enough to pick up the previous day’s toy and throw it, I get a look that says, “are you freakin’ kidding me? That’s so yesterday!”
Treat Driven Pleaser: I’m glad there’s proof that it’s genetic; I was beginning to think he picked it up from me! Theo unlike Buddy is happy to learn silly dog tricks. He plays dead when shot with my finger, gives me a high-five on command, sits, lays down, gives his paw, then switches when I say, “other one,” and best of all, kisses me when I say, “give daddy a kiss.” This is only a sampling of what he has learned to date. I soon plan to work on a “hug” command. How cool will that be?!

Did someone say treat?!

Did someone say treat?!

So now I have an idea of why they look like they do but does this make them what they are? I think not. Just like with children, it’s the old nature verses nurture debate. However what uncategorically is true about them is that they are 100% my little boys! And because they are, they’re so full of love that they greet me with wild adoration as though they believed they were never going to see me again, whether I’ve been away on a trip for weeks or because I stepped outside for a moment to check the mailbox! I love how they stop whatever they’re doing to come charging the moment they hear me say, “wheeeeeeere’s my boys?!”

Both will sit perfectly still and allow me to give them total head-to-tail haircuts with a small hair-cutting scissor. I believe they would rather do this than go off to a groomer. Buddy thinks that getting his morning grooming (by me) is the highlight of his day and only has to hear me tap his brush on a surface to come skidding into position with his head held high and I swear; a smile on his face!

Neither dog likes the water but they both tolerate their weekly baths and actually think that they are all that and a bag of chips when they’re all done. They even walk into the shower on their own when I declare it “bath time!” Knowing that I am caring for them, my boys happily let me clean their eyes free of “sandman” goo and brush their teeth daily.

They sleep in bed at our side, always making sure that some part of them can feel us, even if it’s just a back paw against our leg. I know that they do this because they feel protected and secure under our care.

Theo was three months old when he came to us. He had no story of misuse other than being the runt of the litter, most likely due to having been born with a twisted paw. This made him the “pup with the problem” that no one wanted to take on. At least he was loved by the young woman who fostered the surrendered mom and her pups. At this point he was still basically being cared for by his mother.

Theo's turned leg makes him look like a ballet dancer!

Theo’s turned leg makes him look like a ballet dancer!

Buddy was an entirely different story; one I can’t even get into because it hurts me too much to think of all he had to endure the first 13 months of his life, before animal rescue finally came to take him away from the abuse. So, Theo was a surrender and we literally saved Buddy from being euthanized, a mere four hours before he was scheduled to receive the shot! For these reasons, my canine kids are referred to as, rescues.

Buddy prefers his breakfast in bed but he deserves a little spoiling.

Buddy prefers his breakfast in bed but he deserves a little spoiling.

I agree that it was a rescue, but it is my belief that they rescued me. After years of dealing with chronic, acute pain and the frustration that accompanies it, these two little guys give me a reason to fight threw it. I can’t allow myself to get caught-up in a pity party when they need my care. There is no getting around it; they depend upon me for their wellbeing. Seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, regardless of holidays, birthdays or how much my body hurts, they need to be fed, walked, groomed, and loved. It’s a lot of work but what they give me back, cannot be measured; the loyalty, company, trust, and unconditional love is like no other and never, ever waivers.

I guess I really always knew everything I needed to know about my guys all along. They are a little bit of this and a little bit off that and… 100% love.

Until next time,

Don

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