Saturday, May 25, 2013

rescue me...

  I know I've talked often about what an incredible dog Trooper is.  I'm not sure if I've ever really fully shared how incredibly intelligent he is, and how unique he is.  He was a pound puppy from a shelter that at the time was a high kill shelter.  I got him when he was eight weeks old, the same day he arrived at the shelter.  I was told he was a lab and pit bull mix, but later after DNA profiles were available for dogs I learned that he was a Premium Heinz 57 Blend instead.  A mix of Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound), Boxer, Collie, Whippet, and yes... Chihuahua.

  If you've never read my first book "My Best Friends Have Hairy Legs," let me give you the Cliff Notes version of how smart he is... when he was just six months old I introduced him to my now ex in-laws on a Christmas trip to south Florida.  I pointed to my fiancee's grandmother and whispered to Trooper that she was very sad because her dog had just died and he needed to be extra nice to her.  As soon as I unleashed him, he walked over to her, put his head on her knee, and stayed there without moving for four hours while she stroked his head.

  This picture was taken two weeks before that incident, the day I had the first of several eye surgeries.  He did not leave my side all weekend.

  If I ask him to "show me" what he wants when he comes over and paws my arm, he will either walk to where I have the dog treats hidden, or he will walk to the top of the stairs (or front door) to let me know he has to go outside.

  When we go outside, he knows the difference between "front yard," "mailbox," "beach," or "field" and will walk to whichever one I call out.  He knows which door is the front door, garage door, or back
door, as well as the pantry.  He knows all of our neighbors by name, and if he sees someone walking up to us, all I have to do is say that it is (neighbor) soandso and he will stand down his guard and go back to playing with Annie.

  His intelligence continues to amaze me, and at nine years old this year, he is still learning.  What is even more incredible about him is that he was a pound puppy.  He's not a pure bred dog.  He was rescued.

  Annie, whose story has her own page [here], looks like she is a pure beagle, but I think she is more of a mix of other hound breeds including beagle.  She was dumped and left to starve when someone couldn't continue to feed their hunting dogs.  She was rescued, and every single day shows me how grateful she is for that fact by continuing to give the sweetest hugs I've ever gotten.

  I share this because every day, thousands of dogs are abused and mistreated in puppy mills just to get a perfect pure bred dog that people will pay far too much money for.  I share this because every day, too many dogs [and cats] are put down in kill shelters, dumped on the streets, or abused by people.

  Best Friends Animal Society is working on puppy mill initiatives [click here to help or learn more] to try to stop the abuse.  But the best way you can help is to stop buying pure bred dogs from anyone other than a local, established breeder where you can see the parents and see the environment.  Even better than that, you can rescue a dog [or cat] from a shelter or rescue organization.  Each month, thousands of volunteers spend countless hours rescuing, fostering, and trying to find homes for these wonderful animals.  Like Karen, at This Old House 2, who works with a local shelter.  Or Amy, who works with the Richmond Animal League to find homes for some of the sweetest faces ever.

  If you can't open your home to a rescue, either permanently or just to foster this summer, then at least consider rescuing them from the confines of the shelter for a few hours by volunteering to walk the dogs or play with the cats.  What an awesome lesson in responsibility it could be for a student out of school for the summer ... walking a dog instead of playing Minecraft 24/7?

  Can't you hear them calling?  "Rescue me..."

1 comment:

  1. Both Jazz n Jewel are rescue cats and they add a great deal more to my life than I do to theirs. And yes, puppy mills and people who don't get their animals desexed and just allow them to breed - and then dump the offspring, are another of the things that makes my heart hurt. Wrong, wrong and wrong.

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