Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Knowing What You Want Part Two

One of our volunteers, Ronnie, was telling us about the list she made for a dog. Had to be a year and a half old, no barking, good with kids, good with cats, housebroken, trained...she found one in the paper that seemed to fit her list. A family camping in Lake Arrowhead had come across the dog. As it was approaching winter, they didn't want to leave the dog to die so they brought him back to L.A. with them (after having no luck finding the owner). He seemed perfect! Ronnie and her family brought him home...

This dog dug holes in the backyard until he broke his paw. At the vet, they were informed that he was only 9 months old. He barked at everything. He was far from housebroken.

Did they take the dog back?

No. Ronnie worked on housebreaking him. The boys ran around the backyard with him to get his energy out. When he hit two or three yeas old, he settled down and the family had him for SEVENTEEN YEARS. This dog that fit the list, but didn't. He was loved for all those years despite his workable behavior. Rather than giving up on him, they saw the potential and worked through it. They loved him so much that Ronnie sought out his breed again once he passed - Brittney Spaniel.

Having a list is great. There are many ways to find exactly what you are looking for - in the shelter system, through Pet Finder, through private rescue groups. The more detailed you are, the better the match will be.

Don't be married to the list. You might be surprised what comes along that fits just as well. Perhaps, you were looking for a younger dog (two or three) and the rescue group has a six year old that fits you better - if you're looking at a small breed dog, six is YOUNG. Small breed dogs can live 18-20 years so you're still looking at 14 years with that dog. If it fits the rest of the list, why not?

Erik and I were set on having a dog that was past the puppy stages - we did not want to housebreak, or go through the chewing and mouthing stages. But Lily came in the door and she had everything else on our list. So were open to making her a member of our family.

Just as Ronnie and her family lucked out, so did we. We were very glad that we brought Lily home. She's turned out to be a wonderful dog. While we've taken her to training classes and put in our time with her, she also came with a wonderful disposition. That's not something you can train into a dog.

What about you - have you ever wavered from what you originally wanted?

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