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Saturday, April 7, 2012

GOOD JOB!

Have we ever told you Buddy's story?

Three years ago, during what passes for an ice storm here on the Gulf Coast, someone dropped Buddy on the road near our house. We found him the next morning. The temperature was way way below freezing and the rain had turned to sleet and there was this wet, shivering black pit bull terrier huddled up on the outside of our gate.

We had to keep him separate from the other Hooligans until we could get him to the vet for a check-up. That took a couple of days because of work schedules and the local vet's office being closed for the weekend. But he finally had his health exam and  got scheduled for the Important Surgical Procedure all the other dogs have survived. And then, we talked it over and decided that we couldn't in good conscience put a pit bull with unknown history up for adoption. So he became a permanent resident of Hooligan House and Dad's special "Buddy".  He sleeps in Dad's lap and licks the grandkids clean when they come over to play, and he generally just ambles amiably through life. He's a Good Dog and keeping him was one of the best decisions we have ever made.

There were some areas where he needed help, like all rescued dogs need. For instance, he would not walk on the vinyl floor in the kitchen. It was NOT going to happen, no matter how much stinky canned food we put down on the floor to try to tempt him. Buddy sank to his belly and refused to move. That shiny expanse of slippery floor was just too scary for a dog who had never lived in a house. So we got some cheap carpet runners and put them about two feet apart from each other, and made him a red carpet runway to the kitchen. That did the trick, and gradually we moved the rugs farther and farther away from each other until one day there was no more runway. 

Rescue dogs do come with issues. And rescue volunteers and temporary foster parents often don't have the time to research what to do to help the dogs. Shelters have to move dogs into adoption or foster as quickly as possible to make room for new dogs that need help. Sometimes, dogs are adopted out who just aren't ready to deal with the environment of a family situation. That can be big Trouble. Recently, a couple of the local rescue groups here have contacted me with questions about how best to help some of their new canine residents who came from particularly neglectful backgrounds. I'm working with them and the foster parents involved are wonderful people who want to do whatever it takes to help the dogs acclimate to living with loving humans.

Not everyone can adopt a dog and the reasons vary. Most often, people can't afford an adoption fee and vet bills. But if you have a place in your heart and home where a newly rescued dog could be temporarily fostered through his issues until he is ready for adoption ---- what a wonderful gift that would be for everyone. Imagine helping a dog learn to trust that the outstretched hand of a human means something fun is about to happen. That a shiny floor or a doorbell are not really scary things. That another dog sniffing him is not cause for alarm. Teaching a dog how to play with a toy. Teaching him what a dog treat is. And even teaching him that it's perfectly acceptable for him to eat his food from a bowl instead of the ground.

Imagine the joy and the feelings of accomplishment you would experience. Yes, it hurts to send them off to their new adoptive homes, but the tears are rewarding ones. You have done important work and you know this dog has changed from being fearful and shy to being the confident, relaxed and, hopefully, mischievous critter God intended him to be.

One dog at a time. It's special work and it's not easy work.
 But it's Good Work.

Dad and his lap dog, Buddy

9 comments:

Ms. A said...

Our granddog, also a Pit, is the sweetest, most loving, gentle thing you can imagine. She, too, is a lap dog... when the lap can hold her. If the lap isn't big enough for all of her, she will still try to manage a little bit.

marfun56 said...

Well I guess that is a BARKalounger! Good job Hoolie House. Happy Easter!

Macintosh Mitch said...

What a great story! Buddy is a very lucky boy!

Love ya lots,
Mitch

Yum-Yum said...

We feel it's the BEST WORK of all.

Yum-Yum said...

We feel it's the BEST WORK!!!

Lori G said...

Awww, What a Big Teddy Bear!! Buddy is Gorgeous & Mom & Dad are the Absolute Best!!
You are such an inspiration♥

kingslandkennels said...

Nice blog

The Thuglets said...

What a fabulous story..Buddy is one very fortunate guy!
Hope you are having a fabulous Easter.

Big Nose Pokes
The Thugletsx

Anonymous said...

I love the story of how Buddy came to live with you! He's a very special boy, and he sure loves his Daddy!! What a great picture. It sure shows the love.
Love,
Lashes