My history with dogs started when I was about six years old, and my parents took my brother and me to pick out a Dalmatian puppy. I named her Pepper, because she looked like she had been sprinkled with pepper (I was so clever, wasn’t I?). Unfortunately we only had her for a week before we discovered she was deaf – something I now know is very common among poorly-bred Dalmatians. My parents concluded that we simply didn’t have the experience or resources to dedicate to a deaf dog, so we returned her to the breeder. In addition to being heartbreaking for me (I had grown quite attached in just a week), it turned out to be a huge headache for my parents, as the breeders wouldn’t give them back their money, resulting in a trip to small claims court. This was my first introduction to “backyard breeders” – a practice I now vehemently despise. It makes me sad to think of what may have become of Pepper. I hope she found a good home where her owners had the means to accommodate her special needs.
My parents, turned off from the world of breeders as well, decided the best thing would be to adopt a puppy from the shelter. We went to PAWS and picked out a six week-old Sheltie mix. She had been dropped off in a box at the shelter that morning with her brothers and sisters, and was one of two left by the time we got there. Kelsey ended up being one of the smartest, most well-behaved dogs I’ve ever met and lived to the ripe old age of 17. It’s been more than five years since she’s been gone, and I still miss her terribly to this day.
After my husband and I had been married for a year, we decided it was time to add a dog of our own to our little family. I really didn’t care what kind of dog, but was still very much anti-breeder and hoped to find a rescue. Hubby was a little more specific: he wanted a female lab puppy. On to petfinder.com I went, applying for every female lab (or lab mix) puppy I could find. Much to my dismay, I received rejection after rejection after rejection. We lived in an apartment at the time, and a fenced-in yard was a non-negotiable for all the rescues I applied to. Hubby suggested we just buy a puppy from the paper. I did not want to support a breeder, but I badly wanted a puppy. We ended up finding a private rescue in the paper that took unwanted litters off people’s hands in exchange for spaying the mother dog. They had a litter of Black Lab/German Shepherd pups, and that’s how we ended up with Maggie.
Three years later, we adopted Stewie, a 10 month old dark brindle Pit Bull, whom I fell in love with while volunteering at the Humane Society. Such a sweet-natured, yet misunderstood breed, I fell in love with Pit Bulls, and soon I began volunteering for a local Pit Bull rescue as well. When was laid off in February of this year, I decided now was the perfect time to foster a Pit Bull, and we ended up with Josie, a four month old blue brindle girl. We’ve had Josie for almost four months now. Everyone always asks why she hasn’t been adopted yet, but it truthfully takes a long time to find a good home for a Pit Bull. We love Josie like one of our own, and are happy to take care of her for as long as it takes to find the perfect home. Some days I start to think that perfect home might be ours. But then she reminds us it’s not – usually by eating one of my shoes or pooping on our bedroom floor at 2 a.m. Three dogs are a lot to handle, and I know a lot of people probably think we’re crazy. Sometimes I think we are too. This weekend, we will have all three beasts, along with about 25-30 guests (including two more dogs!) up at our cabin for the 4th of July.
Should be no shortage of stories that come out of this weekend. Stay tuned…