Soaking Up in the Sun – Whole Dog Magazine

It’s been a tough year. Over the course of six months, my husband and I lost three of our beloved animal companions, each death unexpected. First, we lost our pot-bellied pig, Sturgess; a week later, our 14-year-old corgi, Lucy, was diagnosed with and died from cancer. In my grief, I turned to Bonnie, our adorable 13-year-old Scottie/Corgi/Poodle mix, and told her, only half-jokingly, that she had to live forever.

Then we lost her to cancer too—suddenly and unexpectedly. This left us bereft except for our four-year-old Kelbie Kai. He was young and healthy, but for the first time in over forty years we were living with just one dog. Our house felt sad, quiet, and empty.

A few weeks before Bonnie died, I had just started thinking about finding another dog. I’m also just beginning to realize how challenging this can be. My husband, Paul, and I have been working in animal shelters for over 40 years. We never had to go looking for a dog; we never had to go to a dog. Sooner or later someone will arrive at the sanctuary and say unequivocally: “I’m yours.”

Start looking for a new dog

In the past, we would just look at local shelters for our next dog. I have long been an active supporter of shelter adoptions. But today, most of the shelters in our neighborhood are so-called “no-kill” shelters. While the goal of reducing euthanasia is a great thing, it often results in shelters housing too many dogs that are highly unsuitable for adoption, and we have no interest in supporting that. Our preference was to support open shelters (we did end up going to a good one).

Additionally, most shelters in the area are filled with pit bull type dogs, and while I am not anti-pit bulls, and I strongly oppose any breed ban, they are simply not a good fit for us.

What type of dog is right for us?

in past articles Whole Dog Diary, I recommend that people who are considering adopting a new dog make a list of attributes they must have, want to have, don’t want to have, and really don’t want at all, and then use those lists as search criteria. However, we weren’t sure what we were looking for. Another livestock breed? We already have the Kelpies, so maybe, maybe not. Bonnie Terrier Mix? Maybe, but they don’t seem to be easy to come by.

Trainer friends in the surrounding area promised to keep an eye on our candidates, but that didn’t help much since we couldn’t give them much information about what we wanted. A friend contacted me to inquire about her neighbor who was looking for a home for a 4 year old German Shepherd. “Yeah!” I thought. We had a great shepherd in the past (Paul’s dog Smokey, when we first met many years ago). But Paul said no. I’d been selling him on the benefits of small dogs for years, but he didn’t want a big dog.

We tried Petfinder and other adoption sites, but photos on a computer screen didn’t do much for me – even cute ones. I did click a photo of a Cattle Dog mix and there was supposedly a rescue group just five miles away. The funny thing is, we know all the rescue groups here, and I swear there isn’t one within five miles. Sure enough, when the website opened, I read, “All of our dogs are in foster homes in Alabama…” You must adopt sight unseen, pay the adoption fee and transportation (over $500), When the dog gets here, he’s yours, whether you like him or not. Obviously, this is not something I would do.

I looked at Petfinder for a few weeks and became increasingly disappointed. I’ve found ample evidence that a scam I’ve heard about many times is still being used frequently: so-called rescues that post pictures of cute dogs they don’t actually have, and when someone contacts them about a specific dog, They say, “Oh my gosh, that dog just got adopted, but we have another dog just like it!” Then they’ll find a shelter dog (usually from a shelter that calls themselves “no kill” Free to buy, they are eager to place any dog ​​into any so called rescue) and then charge you a ridiculously high adoption fee because their investment in the shelter is so low. Get the dog.

A friend who works at an open shelter run by Frederick County Animal Control contacted us about a young Cattle Dog mix there. We went to see him, but he wasn’t “the one” – too big, noisy, and unable to be a good companion and playmate for our 30-pound Kelbie. The other dogs in this shelter are pit bulls, labradors, and retrievers. Not suitable for us. I cried for Bonnie, missing her sweet presence and not knowing where else to find it.

an unlikely source

Then I thought about Craigslist. Look – I’ve warned people about the real and significant dangers of trying to sell or adopt a pet through Craigslist. Scammers obtain dogs for free or cheap from unsuspecting owners and then charge exorbitant fees to adopt them out to others as “rescues.” Or worse, hoard or abuse them.

But I would be on the other side of the equation. I would be a responsible person and try to adopt a dog as our rightful home and maybe even save a dog from those terrible fates. I looked on Craigslist for dogs in our surrounding area.

Four days ago I found an 11 month old Pomeranian in perfect condition in our town. We have had two great Poms in the past (Dusty and Scooter). Maybe we need another one? I sent an email to the person who posted the dog and she responded. They gave him up because her 15-year-old daughter originally wanted to breed Pomeranians but changed her mind. However, another woman is coming to see him tomorrow. If she doesn’t accept him, the lister will contact me.

1 year old Pomeranian mix

When I didn’t receive a reply I sent another email just in case. Sorry, I was told that another woman did take him. “But,” she said, “I looked at your website, and if he doesn’t work there, I really want you to have him. I think you’d be the best fit for him.”

I checked Craigslist over the next few days, but nothing interested me. Most are puppies for sale at retail puppy prices. There is nothing on Petfinder. Then, an email. “She doesn’t want to keep him. Are you still interested?”


Meet our new dog

The Craigslist poster said she would meet us the next afternoon with the dog. She was picking him up from another woman and wouldn’t want to take him home if she could help it. She arrived the next afternoon, dressed in Mennonite attire, and got out of the car with the dog in her arms—except, obviously, it wasn’t a purebred Pomeranian. He’s at least twice the size of a Pom (or four times the size of a tiny Pom!).

She carried him into my training center (her daughter had unsuccessfully taught him to walk on a leash) and put him on the floor. His nose is longer than Pom’s, his body is twice as long, and his fur is straight and long instead of Pom’s fluffy–but he’s beautiful.

I sat on the floor and Paul sat on the chair. The puppy looked at me warily, obviously more worried about Paul. He warmed to me quickly but remained skeptical of Paul. My heart sank. Paul certainly didn’t want him because the puppy barely came near him. I’m sure his decision was “no.”

After a while, the shopkeeper cleared his throat and said, “What do you think? I do have an appointment that I need to go to…”

I looked at Paul and he smiled at me and nodded. Really? I thought the owner was going to ask for money, but she stood up with a smile, thanked us and left. He is ours.

1 year old Pomeranian mix

It took us a week to come up with a name for him. The sunshine is so nice. As I write this, he has only been here two weeks. He was hanging out at the academy last week and did his first piece for Peaceable Paws one night, perfectly socialized with a fearsome Maltese/poodle mix. He started his training session tonight but has already learned to walk on a leash, sit on cue, and lie down on bait. He is cheerful and brave, has learned not to chew on ropes or lift his legs (will be neutered soon), and is making peace with Paul.

Kai seemed a little unhappy at first (I think he enjoyed being the only dog), but now the two of them are happily frolicking, playing, chasing, tugging, and wrestling. I love that Sunshine isn’t all Pom, and he’s even bigger than a Pom (he weighed 16.2 pounds when we went to the vet this week). He is probably a Pom and an American Eskimo (we call him Pomskimo). He has stopped barking when he is alone and everything will be fine. He brought sunshine back into our world. I kept smiling and singing the “Sunshine” song. I just told him he had to live forever.

Author Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, is a training editor at WDJ. She and her husband, Paul, live in Fairplay, Maryland, where her Peace Paws Training Center is located. Miller is also the author of numerous books on positive training.Her latest work is Beware of Dogs: Positive Solutions for Dog Aggression.