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Our Rescue Dog: Lou the Silly Chiweenie
A Delightful Tail....Tale.
Two years ago our lives were in the eye of the tornado of financial turmoil. We experienced every one of the recession/depression issues the economy has dumped on everyone for the last 5 years. If you managed to stay clear of the storm-God bless. You are one of the lucky. If you got eaten alive by the mess as we did or merely beaten a little by debris spewed from the tornado, then you must know of what we speak.
We lost our business. We lost our home. We went bankrupt. We had jobs, lost jobs. You name it, we had it. When life deals you such chaos and hardship, you long for something warm and fuzzy. What is the answer to that longing: Adopt a doggy.
They say when your marriage is in the crapper, you should not try to salvage it by having a baby. This is true and equally the same if your financial life is in ruins. Along those lines, adopting a dog which carries responsibility although not as significant as a baby, when your marriage is crap or your finances bust is probably not a good idea either. Thankfully, our marriage is strong and never was crap. To the contrary, it has been the only thing going right in our lives. Therefore we felt stable enough to adopt a friend.
It seems a burden to place on any dog (or a baby for that matter) to expect it to help lift you out of a bleak situation, but to us rescuing a dog was a way to prove to ourselves we could do something, at least one thing (outside of our marriage) correctly in the midst of our upside down lives. Our little rescue was a confidence boost, a reason to go on and hope that the World would be alright again. We did not rescue our dog, he rescued us.
Difficulty Finding Reputable Dog Rescuer Groups
Trying to find our new doggy was difficult. Our attempts were thwarted as we hit road blocks at every turn. We discovered there is not a wealth of information out there about how to find a reputable dog rescue group. We had no idea there were unscrupulous groups impersonating as rescue people to make a profit. At one adoption event held at a local pet shop, we found the people working the event were from some alleged rescue group out in the desert of California. Not to judge, but the women resembled work/release jail inmates who yelled and cussed in some cases, at the dogs and then sprayed them with water bottles if they barked. We suggested that spraying a dog with water as he's in the cage is cruel, we were given a look by one woman/ ex-con, that could have cut us to the bone if she had a knife! Afraid to complete the paperwork because this woman would know where we live, we hurriedly left the store and continued down the road on our dog adoption journey.
We learned about the nastiness of dog selling on craigslist! Many backyard breeders list dogs on craigslist. Back yard breeders are people who breed dogs in an assembly line fashion circumventing any animal control regulations by doing it in a covert manner out of their homes; and definitely not doing it humanly. Dogs to them are just "product" and they could careless about how the dogs are treated or what over breeding does to their bodies. The conditions are horrid. Dogs crammed together in a make-shift kennel on dirt. In the cold, in the heat, little food. Despicable.
Of course backyard breeders do not advertise that they are breeders. They cleverly disguise their nasty business as "Need to get rid of my dog" and tell you whatever tear jerk story their illiterate, limited brains will allow them to write or they claim to have "found" the dog and do not want to sell it but do ask for a "re-homing fee" usually about $100 or more to give a potential buyer an illusion they are being diligent in finding the poor doggy a good home by making you pay a "small fee".
We contacted many of the people behind these ads. Whenever we attempted to arrange a time to meet with them or attempted to asked them simple questions over the phone, we were met with apprehension. On one occasion we set up a meeting in a public place only to be stood up. Our suspicions were probably accurate. A backyard breeder is always worried about any potential buyer being an Animal Control officer.
Questions from potential adoptive dog owners are encouraged by legitimate rescue groups
Dog rescue groups who are real and above-board, will allow you to ask questions. In addition to allowing you to ask questions, they will answer as fully they can all your questions. What I mean by that is, they have taken the time to get to know as much about the dog as possible. Whereas a craigslist seller or breeder knows very little about the dog they are selling or "trying to find a good home" for. They cannot answer any questions about the dog because they have not bothered to find out about the dog. Their only goal is to move "product", turn over a quick sale and move on to the next. Too many questions from you and they run because they know how stupid they look not being able to answer basic questions.
A reputable dog rescue organization will typically provide:
- Veterinarian records about your rescue or a dog you are interested in.
- Know the dog's temperament. Is he friendly around children? Is he good with other dogs? Does he need to be the only dog? Is he socialized? Is he house broken? Does he have any medical problems? Is he an older dog?
- Your dog will come already spayed or neutered and all immunizations will be current.
- Your dog will be microchiped with the contact information of the rescue group. In most cases your rescued pooch will also have a dog license from the City or County where the rescue is located.
- The one thing the rescue organization may not know is about your dog's past for obvious reasons. Many dogs are found as strays on the street. They do not come unfortunately with any information matrix.
We Give up trying to Find THE Dog and settle on Finding THE Group
After many attempts to find "the dog" we finally we came to the realization we needed to find "the organization" that would lead us to the right dog. Lucky for us, we found the Kris Kelly Foundation in Santa Monica, California. (http://www.thekriskellyfoundation.org/ ). A search of their site lead us to find "Ringo Starr" as he was dubbed by a small neighbor of his foster mom.
Ringo was a small dog weighing only 9 pounds and the offspring of a union between a Chihuahua and a Dachshund. We did not know it at the time, but this combination is known as a "Chiweenie" and is considered a designer dog.
We do not know much about Lou's background. We were told by the Kris Kelly Foundation that Lou was found wandering the streets of South Los Angeles, malnourished, cowering and shaking. He seems to have a real dislike of any males especially those in their teens to late 20's. He had a real aversion to anytime my husband hugged me or tried to kiss me. Lou would stop, turn and run from where ever he was to my side crying and then growling as if he had witnessed someone (his former mommy?) getting badly beat.
Lou Joins our Family
Lou arrived in our home in May of 2010. He had been living with a foster family and their older dog for several months. He was very bonded with them. When he was left with us, he cried for hours. This is not an exaggeration. He had tears in his eyes. He went into the backyard where only minutes before his foster mom had taken him up on our deck, now she was gone. He climbed up there expecting to see her and when he didn't , he tried to look over the gate to see her car. It was hard to watch him. I tried to distract his attention by giving him a treat. He would have nothing to do with it.
I picked Lou up and tried to comfort him. He quieted down somewhat. I decided a trip to the local Petco for new toys might cheer him up. Lou seemed to be getting along with our other dog, Sammy a Cocker Spaniel with a very friendly disposition so I put them both in the car and off we went in search of a new toy.
Once at the store, Lou and Sam ran around the aisle like any children would, excited to smell and examine everything available. Lou picked up in his mouth, a package that contained two plush toys in the shape of a bone. One yellow and one blue. To this day, these are his favorite toys.
Lou warms up to Daddy
Slowly Lou warmed up to my husband, his new "daddy". They bonded over playtime. Lou is a pooch who can tell time. I am serious. Every night at 8:30 pm precisely, he goes upstairs, grabs both his bone toys (the yellow one and the blue one) and brings them down to play with daddy. He knows the sound of my car over his dad's but waits by the front door for both of us at exactly 5:30 pm when he knows we will be coming home.
Lou came to love his older big brother Sammy. Sammy was a good humored dog (he passed away in September 2012). Lou would try to rouse Sammy to play. Sammy was long past the playful puppy stage but would oblige Lou on occasion. They would play hide n seek. Lou would run for the bed in our room and hide under it. Sammy was larger than Lou and could not crawl under the bed, but he would stick his head underneath and look for Lou. To Lou's squealing delight. Lou would then run out the other side of the bed and hide behind the door. Sammy would pretend not to notice. We would say to Sammy "Where did Lou go" and Sammy would eventually find Lou. Lou would roll over on his belly, the international dog sign of deference.
Lou has found his place in our family, of course he considers family, my husband, me and him. He disregards our four children as part of the family. Our children are grown and only one is at home, a son in his 20's. Lou's dislike of males in their late teens to mid-20's still exists. Why this is we do not know. Lou knows our son will come home after work around 9:00 pm but regardless, Lou still barks and yells at him. Every time the poor kid leaves his bedroom and goes anywhere else in the house, Lou follows him around as if to say "I am watching you". We are trying to break him of this. No amount of scolding or telling him to "behave" seems to be working. We resorted to professional help.
We have purchased the "Perfect Dog System" by Don Sullivan. We have not reviewed the information yet, but we do use it as a threat to Lou. We just show him the DVD case and say "we are going to use the Don Sullivan on you" and he walks off to his "safe place" in his doggy bed. Could it be working already?
When Sammy past, Lou was depressed. He seemed to stay upstairs sleeping in Sammy's old doggy bed. No amount of coaxing could get Lou to come downstairs or to play a game of catch. Eventually, Lou snapped out of it with some gentile persuasion. Extra walks and special treats helped.
These days I find myself again out of work. Lou does not mind even though I am intrusive in his normal routine of wake up, go for a walk, sleep for the next ten hours while mom and dad are away. He seems to be putting up with me. He enjoys the extra walks and understands I need to get out for fresh air and away from job searches on the computer.
Adopting a dog, cat or other animal is a commitment. It is a lifetime commitment one that could last 15 to 18 years. A dog is not a possession that you can trade in or sale when you tire of it. Rescuing a dog is a rewarding experience and will provide you with many years of unconditional love and companionship.
Rescue organizations we endorse