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Dodger, a crazy fantastic dog

Updated on January 24, 2013

When a pet is so much more than a pet

Did you know that owning a pet is actually extremely beneficial to your health? Studies have shown that the very act of petting a dog or cat can lower blood pressure (a good thing because they certainly can do things to your house and belongings that can send that blood pressure back up). However, pets are more than just good for your health, they can bring a level of fun to any household and a measure of comfort to those who might otherwise be alone or depressed. They help most owners be more social and get more exercise, not to mention they are great to curl up with on the bed on a cold winter night. I would like to tell you the story of Dodger, the rescue dog who became so much more than just a pet in my house.

Sometimes getting your puppy is half the battle

For 30 years I have lived without pets in my family, not due to any dislike for animals but simply because my family traveled and it just was not fair to put an animal in boarding each month. But the thought of a dog had been present ever since getting my first apartment at age 21. Yet with travel and other commitments there was not much chance of getting one until I hit my 29th birthday. Then suddenly I had more control over my travel schedule not to mention living with my future wife who could share in the responsibilities. Now here was my chance! But now all the logistic questions came up, the most pressing is what type of dog to pick. There is no lacking in articles talking about which kind of dog might be best for you based on your life style, where you work and how big your house might be, but at the end of the day it all comes down to a personal choice. What kind of dog do you love? I chose a German Shepherd for their loyalty, their energy and their intelligence.

But just when you thought you had nailed the toughest question, a flurry of new ones quickly appeared, where do you get one and how old should they be, how about male or female. First, the question of buying a dog from a breeder versus a rescue is quite important. While you might have your own opinions based on what you are going to do with your pet, for me I really wanted to rescue a dog. What I soon discovered is that there are rescue societies for almost every breed of dog and cat. They will take any pets from humane society that fit that breed, find foster families to take care of the animal until they can find permanent homes. I went to a German Shepherd Rescue group to hopefully pick up my future dog. Unlike many humane societies or breeders who will give a dog to virtually anyone, most rescue societies are a bit more selective to ensure that they are giving good dogs to good homes. I had to have two interviews, a house visit (during the Super Bowl) and wait over 5 months. I know we all live in a society of instant gratification, but give rescue societies a chance; they just want to make sure you get the best dog for you.

For my first pet I knew I wanted a puppy. Yes I knew that it would be much more work to train a puppy, yet for my first experience I wanted to live it all. So I waited almost 6 months until the rescue group took in a pregnant German shepherd who gave birth to 9 puppies on Christmas Day. In honor of the holiday each puppy was named after a Reindeer with the last one being named Tinsel. I got the call a week later that if I would like to adopt one of these puppies I could. How could I say no? On Valentine's Day they were finally old enough for adoption and so we drove up to the foster parents to pick out our future puppy.

They brought them out one at a time so we could play with them and decide which one we wanted. Keep in mind that 9 puppies are extremely hard to keep track of especially when they are not potty trained. So picture yourself standing in someone's kitchen with these puppies running around, all with dried poop on them that they rolled in over just the past few hours, and being told to pick your future child. If the term deer in headlights means anything to you, that was me. How do you spend 5 minutes with a puppy and know it is perfect for you? Depending on which one took a nap they might have more energy, yet normally be a very calm later in life. No one knows. At the end of the day we picked one that grabbed our hearts, held our breath and filled out the paperwork.

Now I have read every book on how to raise a puppy and was committed to doing this correctly. I held that puppy the entire drive home (~2 hours) and once we got home was told to take that puppy directly to where you want them to go to the bathroom and wait until they go so they start to learn. 20 minutes later we got nothing. So I bring him into the apartment and two steps onto the carpet he pees. I now grab him and bring him back outside where he stands on the grass and looks at me as if to say, ‘you realize I am done now, why are we out here?’ So we go back in and while I clean up the carpet he confidently walks to the other side of the room, finds a nice place on the carpet and proceeds to empty the rest of his bowels in the largest pile of diarrhea I think I have ever seen.

This was my first day with a dog that would capture my heart completely.

When teaching your dog, they teach you far more than you ever teach them

After that first day we both learned about each other. What could melt the other's heart as well as drive them crazy. For three nights I trained him to sleep in his crate by placing him inside and sleeping in front of it with my arm inside the crate for him to sleep on. Many thought me crazy, and yet to this day he loves to sleep in his crate. We made almost daily trips to the pet store where he rode in the cart as we picked out new toys to hopefully save furniture and other things he might find appealing to chew on.

But one thing was missing...his name. I checked out websites with popular dog names yet none seemed right for him. I kept watching him to see what name would jump out of his personality. Finally while walking through a library it hit me. As a rescue dog that hopefully will help others later in life, what better story to consider than Oliver Twist, the story of an orphan who was helped from starvation and injury by a tough and tumble yet kind orphan named the Artful Dodger. Thus my puppy was officially named the Artful Dodger or Dodger for short.

Dodger turned out to be incredibly loyal, painfully energetic and one of the most lovable dogs I could ever have imagined. Dodger literally lives to please others and will approach any stranger with a wagging tail and a very wet tongue. So happy will he be that any glass or plate on nearby coffee tables is at risk of flying off by the sheer force of his wagging tail (which has happened several times). Other puppies that come up to him will get a full tongue bath before they know his name. And coming home from a long day at work, be careful as this 90+ pound dog can knock you over with the sheer excitement of seeing you after missing you all day. Yes this is one happy dog, but this dog has also taught me so much more about life and if I may, I would like to share a few of those items:

* When your dog destroys something in your house, just remember things can always be replaced. The thing that cannot be is family (and yes dogs count as family).

* Dogs will do silly things all the time, find a little humor everyday in something they do to bring laughter to your life.

* Boys will be boys and dogs will be dogs. Being angry at a pet is like being angry at a child, most times they didn't know what they did. Show patience and restraint even if you are incredibly upset.

* Remember when life is hard or terrible things happen, be thankful for this ball of fur whose only goal in life is to make you happy.

Take a moment and share some love even when you are feeling your worst. It just might help.

Would you ever adopt a rescue animal?

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And before I knew it, we had two dogs, but that is another story for another time.

Some of Dodger's favorite tough toys

Do you have a favorite story from when you got your pet, would love to hear it.

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    • profile image

      john9229 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the crazy fantastic dog :)

      I've two puppy also...

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      This is a heartwarming story...animals add so much to ones life...I have had too many animals to have a favorite story... from birds, turtles, fish, dogs, cats and horses each one has a great story...enough to fill my Heart with many wonderful memories.

    • dawnsnewbeginning profile image

      dawnsnewbeginning 4 years ago

      Help! I'm going through that puppy stage now! Just kidding. We have had dogs all our lives and they all were special!

    • profile image

      hungrygemini 4 years ago

      I do have a favorite pet they are just common dogs, they help me at home guarding and making my family safe nice photo you have and great story too.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      What a great story about your dogs, love all the pictures too.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      Love your pups. All of my animals are rescue adoptees. I encourage everyone to adopt from an animal shelter. There are so many wonderful animals just waiting for a loving home.

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      A lovely lens

    • profile image

      WinWriter 5 years ago

      Awww I loved this lens. Your pictures are great, especially that last one. They look like they get along famously. * Blessed *

    • serendipity831 profile image

      Drake McSherry 5 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      What a wonderful story-Dodger is beautiful. My rescue animal is a kitty named GaGa, I wrote all about her story on Squidoo as well.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      Dodger sounds like a great dog! Nice to meet you here on Squidoo.

    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 5 years ago

      Loved your lens. Dodger is a lucky pup, indeed!

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      When my dog was hit by a car when I was 14 or 15, I couldn't cope with the idea of getting another dog, but I got a cat from the shelter - his eyes looked bright and he was very friendly. I took him straight to the vet, and the vet said he was very sick with worms, several kinds. But he lived, and was so smart - he could open doors, knew how to look after me with his purring, and was wonderfully naughty. He lived to a ripe old age, and I still think of him very fondly.

    • profile image

      kendrafowler 5 years ago

      Dodger is simply cute and totally adorable. When dogs come into our life, it becomes complete. Loved your lens. I read it over and over again!

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      Harmony, my tabby, was an unwed mother who was rescued by a vet, was so pregnant her tummy scraped the floor as she walked. She had seven babies and we, along with 24 other couples, had to pass an interview given by the rescue vet, in order to get her. We are very fortunate to have her and that she allows us to live with her.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      We had a kitty cat once that my hubby brought home in his backpack on his bike - he was full of mites and cleaning his ears was ongoing. He was incredibly trusting and always let us do it - almost like he knew it was in his best interest.

    • PlethoraReader profile image
      Author

      Matthew 5 years ago from Silicon Valley

      @Gypzeerose: Thank you for the blessing. In our family they are not really considered animals, more parts of the family. :-)

    • PlethoraReader profile image
      Author

      Matthew 5 years ago from Silicon Valley

      @julieannbrady: He can still ignore, but at least we know he is listening. Thanks for the comment.

    • PlethoraReader profile image
      Author

      Matthew 5 years ago from Silicon Valley

      @anonymous: Thank you for the blessing, and glad to hear of another who sees the value in rescuing these wonderful friends!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      We have only every had rescue dogs! Thank you for sharing Dodger with us! Congratulations on making Squidoo's 50 Dogs We Love list!

      Blessed by a puppy luvin Squidoo Angel

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Such a sweet doggie ... love how his ears seem to tune you in.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Very sweet - angel blessed for letting us into that wonderful personal story, and for having such a humane attitude towards animals.

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 5 years ago

      How precious! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Really nice story

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      What a cute pet story! I loved getting to know Dodger. Thank you for sharing. Look forward to reading about your second dog soon. :)

    • PTurner56 profile image

      PTurner56 5 years ago

      Dodger is a love! Great lens!

    • PBJasen profile image

      PBJasen 5 years ago

      Very nice lens

    • profile image

      claudiatuli 5 years ago

      great lens, cute dog!

    • profile image

      mohamedm 5 years ago

      Nice Story i liked your dog :-)

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

      Great story about your dog. What a cute baby and we all learn about life from our pets.

    • charlb profile image

      charlb 5 years ago

      A very lucky dog! He seems to have found a loving and caring home.

    • micheleburke profile image

      Michele Marie Burke 5 years ago

      Well done!

    • PlethoraReader profile image
      Author

      Matthew 5 years ago from Silicon Valley

      @duslan: Thanks Duslan, he certainly knows how to play on the heartstrings.

    • duslan profile image

      duslan 5 years ago

      Such cute pictures!