To celebrate the release of Everything But a Dog on 12/11/12, I'm talking to people who work with, or have adopted, rescue animals!
I spend a lot of time hanging out at Harlequin's online boards. I've made so many friends there. Penn, is one of the hosts, and I've known for a long time she was a lovely woman, but today she shares a story I hadn't heard before. A story that shows just how big her heart is.
About a year and a half ago, the email loop in our neighborhood was asking for foster parents for rescued animals. Being dog-free (yet having both a fenced yard and a dog run), dh and I agreed to contact the rescue group. As soon as she had our application, she called and asked if we could take a pregnant foster dog. I thought, "Well, we have the laundry room and the dog run and the fenced yard, yeah, we have enough room." I did NOT think about the fact that we'd have puppies to keep until they were adopted. So, during the Dallas Mavericks' win-the-championship game, Grace (a blue heeler/Australian Cattle dog) had 9 puppies. NINE!
It was pretty easy while they were still small enough for her to nurse them, but once they were old enough to be adopted, we'd be picking 3-5 to take to the adoption fair at the pet store every weekend and that's how I'd spend my Saturday or Sunday. And they went very slowly. One that looked just like the Little Rascals' dog got adopted the first weekend, but it was another month before another one got adopted. And then weeks with no interest. One Saturday, I emailed everyone in my contact list who lived in the area. Blaze author Candace Havens came over and adopted one for her parents. So then there were six . . . then the 3rd and last girl puppy went at an adoption fair. And slowly, slowly they trickled out. Mama Gracie went to a dog groomer (I still miss her, b/c by the time we let her go, we'd had her 5 months and she's a great dog - we just didn't think we were an dog-active enough family for her, b/c she is your stereotypical heeler in that she needs to do something like herd cattle or fetch flying discs or do agility all day).
People came to look at Blackie more than once, but never took him. Meanwhile, early on, my oldest had gotten very attached to him - and oldest doesn't get attached to much of anyone or anything. I told dh that I'd be the bad guy and tell the kids we weren't keeping Blackie. But, dh had a conversation with oldest and at one point oldest said, "I'd be really really sad for a really long time if Blackie got adopted." So, here he stays. :) He and I have done lots of training - he's very smart and pretty laid back. Every now and then he has so much energy building up (like lately, with all the holiday preps) that I take him to doggy day care where they wear him out.
And as you can see from his picture, he's not all black - he's got that heeler merle coloring. That's b/c we weren't going to keep any of the puppies so we named them by their markings - b/c trust me, having 9 puppies to keep track of, it's just easier. We had Domino, Stripe, Patch, Horseshoe, Spot, Blue, Blackie, Paws, and . . . JJ. Because JJ was the runt and had markings like a couple of the other puppies and finally I said, "We can't keep calling him the runt." So we named him JJ after JJ Barea, one of the players for the Dallas Mavericks. A small player. :) And, actually, JJ got adopted by a single mom who loves pit bulls (JJ looked very pit bully) and JJ Barea - it's like it was meant to be. (DH wanted to name each puppy after one of the guys who played in that championship game - 9 player, 9 puppies. But I couldn't handle that.)
You can visit her at: http://community.harlequin.com/member.php/25-Penn_Harlequin