Our dog, Zip, has been full of challenges. Most of them come from his previous life as a puppy companion to an older woman. He ended up in the shelter when the woman could no longer stay in her home and family could not keep her dear pets.
Zip loves laying in the lush grass over the septic field.
Read between the lines, and you know what things Zip never learned. Zip’s main purpose in life was to sit on her owner’s lap and be the center of her world. We suspect his owner wasn’t very mobile and because of that he wasn’t house trained until he learned it here. He had never experienced grass before us. To this day he likes to walk and lay in lush Iowa green grass and hates prickly cured Montana dry grasses. He isn’t crazy about snow and absolutely hates rain. He can hold it for hours rather than go outside in even a light drizzle. We have learned that we just pick him up and carry him out to a spot because he likely will never choose to go outside instead he will explode. He will go on walks, but he is the first dog that we have had that is not passionate about them. He is not a dog who loves to train with me or gets me out when I don’t want to go. We don’t tell him this out loud, but we think he is a pansy dog.
He hates walking through even a little water on the road.
Today he fooled us. His terrier instinct kicked in and he was on the hunt for some ground burrowing animal that has turned up in our yard. We have not see what is making all these holes, but Zip was out there in the hottest sun of the day digging for all he was worth. He was dirty from digging with his front feet and tossing with his rear feet. His feet were digging through not only soil but also rocks and roots. Some how I imagine that was harder on his feet than the dry grass. His head was down in the hole, snorting in a highly unimaginable fashion before today. His nose was mud caked from sniffing out his imagined prey. It was fun to see him having fun doing something outside.
This is fun and I know how to do it. How’d I know how to do this, my humans have not tried to teach me this?
So we now ask ourselves nature or nurture? When does it kick in?
It was fun to see him enjoying himself doing something so dog.
It seems everyone loves baby animals, but me. For some strange reason I am not attracted to that bundle of potential waiting to be molded. I have a dear friend who is a volunteer at a local animal rescue organization and she has told me about how many folks call wanting puppies and kittens. This mystifies me, after all they are only babies for 9 months, a year at most. Will these people still be enamored with their pet when it is no longer cute? Is the loss of the cute factor why so many dogs and cats end up in shelters?
Our dog of many years recently passed away. We went for awhile without a dog, but after so much quiet we decided it was time to find another dog for our home. The one thing we knew for sure it wasn’t going to be a puppy. We didn’t know exactly what we wanted, but knew it needed to be on the small/medium size, wanted to live inside, not too much energy, came housebroken and preferably crate trained.
We spend weeks looking daily on http://www.petfinder.com checking out dogs. In reading the animal’s stories and we soon knew what we were looking for a dog who once had a family. The changing economic tide, kids leaving for college, elderly owner going to a nursing home, a divorce and so many other stories tugged at my heart-strings. These dogs were all loved, but circumstances took them to the shelter.
Harley, Our Rescue Dog
We ended up adopting a 5-year-old dog. He came with a name I would not have picked out, a little smaller than we were looking for, but no dog is perfect. Our new dog is Harley, a Cairn Terrier. Even though he spent a couple of weeks in a shelter not being able to go outside every time he needed to, he is perfectly housebroken. When we leave the house or it is bedtime he goes to the crate and doesn’t make a peep. He came knowing his basic commands and is quickly learning those commands unique to us: wait, be kind and mine. He is anxious to please. He has bonded with us and follows everywhere. After having him a couple of weeks I can tell you he is a great family match and he has found a forever home with us.
If you are ready for a new animal in your family. I urge you to adopt a rescue animal. Take your time and get the right dog or cat for you. You can’t adopt them all. You can’t solve the unwanted pet problem alone. Rushing and adopting the wrong pet does nothing for you or the animal. Know what qualities you want, and which of them are negotiable. That said you can find a pet that will work in your home and family. Patience, in waiting for the right animal for you is the key. It will happen when it is right. It did for us, it can for you.