Adopting A Rescue Dog..Getting To Know What You Are Taking On. Part Two.

Songbird BStarred Page By Songbird B, 10th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/i1sn7qj-/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Adoption & Rescue

Adopting a rescue dog can take courage, patience, and time..but what you get out of it is unconditional love and loyalty from that furry four legged canine, what more could you ask for? With advice from 30 years of personal experience of owning rescue dogs, and sharing the memories their paw prints leave behind on the heart..

Adopting A Rescue Dog... Be Realistic.

Choosing to adopt a rescue dog, is not something to step into lightly. As of any animal it takes commitment, and with a rescue pet, that can be quite some commitment believe me.
Sometimes you may strike it lucky, and the Rehoming Centre has all the information you will require about your pet's history, but if we are realistic, more often they haven't.
Adoption Centres will only have the information provided, or gleaned from assessing the temperament of the dog before he/she goes up before the public for viewing. This was something we came across when we adopted our Bearded Collie, 'Scooby', so I speak from experience. If a dog is a stray, such as our present pet, 'Raffles,' there is all manner of unknown territory that comes with them.
I personally, would think of no other way of owning a dog than from a Rescue Home... Sure, puppies are adorably cute, and we all positively melt and fall in love when we see them and I confess that I am no different, they also come with no history to speak of which is a bonus, but for every dog in every cage, in every rescue home, these are the discarded pups that grew up. The pups that never had the training to mould them into the obedient pets we all hanker for, and the pups that cost veterinary fees, food, time and effort that some naive owners hadn't realised they would have to provide. These were also once the pups, that will be euthanised on a daily basis because of overwhelming numbers in so many rescue homes across the world.
The harsh reality of this can take your breath away can't it..?

As I said at the beginning, it takes real commitment to invest in a rescue dog, or any pet come to that..but what you get back in return repays that investment a hundred-fold in my opinion.

Training..

Whatever dog you take on, it is worth thinking about training, and this is particularly relevant should you decide on a puppy.
Training can help give a dog clear guidelines, and assist in the bonding between pet and owner. A well behaved dog is a joy, and as for a poorly trained one, well I guess we have all seen the results of that at one time or another.
There are many dog training DVDs and books out there on this subject so information is easily accessible. The internet is also full of advice, or better still, look up your local dog training class, there is sure to be one in your area. You can usually find these advertised in large pet shops or at your local Vets.
Classes also promote healthy socialisation among dogs, and a great way of making friends with like-minded folk too. It can be a win-win situation.

Dogs are so much happier when they understand what is required of them, and that form of communication removes stress and any build up of aggression felt by owner and/or pet, which has to be beneficial for both.
Owning a dog should be a joyful experience, not one where you are pulling your hair out in frustration, with a cowering pet who doesn't understand what they have done wrong to earn your displeasure, or perhaps faces the prospect of being returned to the Rehoming Centre under an ominous dark cloud.
It happens believe me, as the following story shows, and it's only by being responsible dog owners, investing time and effort required that this sad cycle could be broken once and for all.

Taking On A Second Dog.. Meeting Frisco.

If you have followed Part One of my articles concerning 'Adopting A Rescue Dog', you will have met Shep, our rescue Border Collie. Shep was an absolute sweetie, once he finally settled down that was! I can write from over 30 years of owning Rescue Dogs, and all the experiences, both good and bad, that came from it. These years taught me so much, and took me on a steep learning curve too, but every one of our dogs were worth the odd grey hair or worry line etched on my brow.

Having returned home from a holiday away, we noticed that Shep just wasn't his usual exuberant self. We had met another dog whilst away, and Shep and Camby had spent the best part of the holiday playing together. Now we were home and Sheppie was pining..He was lonely.
After a long discussion, my husband, bless his kind soul, agreed that we needed to look for a doggy companion as a playmate for Shep. After all, we reasoned, if you have the expense of one dog, another shouldn't make that much difference.. Funny isn't it how pet owners will twist logic to validate their decisions.
So this is the story of Frisco, and how we became a two dog family.

Returning to our local Rehoming Centre, we searched for a suitable match for our lad, and found him in a cross-breed dog called 'Monty', of all things! Monty was classed as a Collie X, a black and tan 4 year old neutered dog with a gentle, lovable temperament.
When we made inquiries about him, a staff member said that he had been returned to the home after an unsuccessful adoption, and she really wouldn't recommend him because of it. I was curious and asked why?
We were told that his last owner (she had him all of two days!), said he wasn't house-trained, and worse crime of all..he had Chased Her Cat! You see what I mean about giving a dog a bad name?

I must admit, when my husband heard that he wasn't house-trained, he turned away saying that was more than he was prepared to take on, but my intuitive sense indicated that a 4 year old dog not being clean in the house was somewhat unusual, and as for chasing cats, well didn't most dogs do that out of habit?
Monty came home with us that afternoon, and he never went back.

Frisco and Shep..What a double-act..

'Monty' became Frisco, then Fricky or Frisky, whatever name came to hand first. It wasn't difficult changing his name as we noticed that he didn't respond to his own, and I felt it was something the rescue home had chosen when he had been brought in as a stray.
In truth, when we took him home for the first time he did spray urine against the door curtain, but I quickly realised that this was scent marking only. He did it the one and only time on his arrival, so much for not being 'house-trained'! I was so glad that I listened to my instinct and not condemned him too like so many would have done.

Shep and Frisk hit it off from the first moment they sniffed each others vital bits in doggy greeting. Shep had a new best buddy, Frisky had a new home, and we had freed up another kennel for another rescue dog at the Adoption Centre. Our two boys became inseparable friends, wherever one went, the other would usually follow, it was a perfect match.

The only problem with Frisk was that he had been found as a stray on the streets before he was picked up, and that straying tendency of his was hard to break. No matter how secure we made our garden, the little devil would take it into his head to go walkabout. Shep, thankfully never followed, and he always let us know when Frisk had done one of his vanishing acts, so we were never far from being in hot pursuit of our wandering vagabond.
We would be out searching for Frisk, yet somehow he would always be able to sneak up behind us unseen, and become our shadow! There we were yelling ourselves hoarse, and he would be grinning his soppy doggy smile, slipping in silently behind and following us up the road! Oh it was a great game for him..Did I mention the odd grey hair or two I gained????
As he got older, the straying stopped..but the grey hairs didn't..

Ducks, Hamsters And The Attraction Of A Male Leg..

Looking back, I recall with a smile the day that Frisky came into the living room to find Shep sat between my husband and I on the settee, there being no room for him as well. He looked at Shep sitting there so smugly, then walked out to the kitchen and started barking excitedly..Shep of course, nosy as ever and not very bright, dived off the settee to see what he was missing. As he went into the other room, Frisk doubled back and jumped up in Shep's place! If looks could kill...

We also didn't realise just how appropriate Frisky's name would be until he had tried to make love to the Gas man's leg when he came to do a Meter reading. Once attached, he just didn't want to let go.. We never had the same Gas man twice..funny that.
He also did this somewhat embarrassing party trick to a local Mayor we had visiting, who was demonstrating how to ride a Unicycle. (Don't ask..)
Frisky got that wicked gleam in his eye, and before we could stop him he was on the Mayor's leg and going for it like a good 'un.... You really had to be there to appreciate the hilarity and complete absurdity of the situation. I am so glad the Mayor had a good sense of humour and could see the funny side of it as he brushed dog hairs off his trouser leg!

Frisk would round up stray ducks that made their way into our garden, and even one day let us know when a Hamster had somehow made its home in a bonfire we were just about to light. He wouldn't stop pestering until we located the pet and brought it out to safety.
Frisky had the gentlest, funniest, loving nature that could ever be found in a dog. He was truly one of a kind.

Collie/Setter Cross..

It took us a while to figure out what breed of dog Frisky may have been crossed with. This is always a bit of a guessing game as you can imagine with a cross breed. We knew that he had a lot of Collie traits and character, but it wasn't until he was sat in the garden and the light of the sun caught his coat that I began to wonder if he was part Irish Red Setter too.
His tan undercoat became a deep liver red when lit by the sun, and was stunning to see. (I feel my old photos do not do it justice here).
This aroused my curiosity to find out if he had any Setter traits as well.

Irish Red Setters are a friendly, playful breed. They interact very well with children and other pets, including cats if they are brought up with them. They have high stamina, and do need a lot of exercise. Intelligent, they are easy to train, and similar to Border Collies, do need mental stimulation as well as physical activity.

Well all of this certainly was true of Frisco.. He had unlimited energy, yet was a lovable and affectionate lad, who seem to have a real zest for life. Crossed with a strong Collie influence, he turned out to be a delightful combination of the good, and slightly mischievous, traits of both breeds.. Some cross breeds are a match made in heaven and Frisky was ours.

Nowadays, many crosses are actually encouraged..think of the Labradoodle (Labrador x Poodle mix) for example or Peagle (Beagle x Pekingese mix). I had never realised until recently, that I owned a Jack-Chi (Jack Russell x Chihuahua). The list is endless!
These are called 'Hybrid' dogs, not recognised as a true breed, but acceptable crossovers. They are sometimes also called Designer Dogs, though personally I cringe at the name. I would rather think of them as Happy Accidents myself..
If you want a chuckle, check out some of the varied hybrid mixes on this link..They will make you smile in disbelief.

Changing Times..

Shep and Frisky stayed friends all their lives, or at least until we sadly lost our Shep through old age. He started to suffer from epilepsy, unfortunately a medical condition Border Collies are prone to. He would collapse unconscious without warning whilst running in the fields, and then within a few minutes he would be up and charging about as if nothing had happened. It would frighten us more than it did him.
These fits became more and more regular, until he was fitting several times a week. The vet couldn't control it, and due to Shep's old age, we knew his quality of life was now seriously impaired, and the decision was finally made that it was kinder and more responsible to put him to sleep. Shep was 14 years old.

Frisky missed Shep badly, so we took on another rescue called 'Big Ben', a Springer Spaniel X Collie known as a 'Sprollie'. He was huge! I think somewhere in his genes there might have even been a Great Dane or a small pony!
Ben and Frisk rubbed along ok, but it wasn't the same as him and Shep. Ben, we later discovered, had a major heart defect and we lost him only four years later. Once again Frisk was on his own, and by now an old, old gentleman. It didn't seem fair to bring in yet another dog as we knew his life was drawing to a close .
That was probably the biggest mistake we ever made and one we would always regret.
We are often lead to believe that dogs 'live in the moment', or so some experts tell us. They say that dogs have short memories and therefore cannot dwell on what has past. That didn't explain how much our poor elderly lad would grieve for his lost companions. The spirit and life seem to go out of him, and we were at a loss as to what to do.. In the end we took on another rescue dog, Scooby, who I have written about before on Wikinut, but because of our indecision about what would be best for Frisco, we had left it too late.
Two days after we bought home this shaggy Bearded Collie who suffered from endless ear problems, Frisco had to be taken to the vets who told us he had come to the end of his life and it was time to let him slip away. My poor elderly lad had had enough, so all we could do as responsible dog owners, was let him go into that long sleep, a difficult decision that all pet lovers must face at one time or another in their lives. It never gets any easier letting go..

Goodbye Old Friend..

I love each and every one of our funny, naughty, mischievous, lovable rescue dogs, each individual, wonderful character, but those years with Frisco left such an indelible paw print in our hearts that will never fade with time. Today, more than 15 years since he left us, Frisk is still spoken about fondly by family and friends. What better tribute than that can I possibly add? Until we meet again old friend over that Rainbow Bridge..


Authors Note:

I hope that this two part article on Adopting Rescue dogs will leave you wiser, better informed, and even touched by the exploits of Shep and Frisco. I hope it gives you a valuable insight into the pleasure and occasional frustration, of opening your heart and taking on a pet from a Rescue Shelter..What these dogs give back in return for that one small act of kindness is immeasurable.. Please think about rehoming a rescue dog if you can. You will never regret it. Thank you. \0/x Songbird B

Related Links by Songbird B:
Part One of Adopting A Rescue Dog. Getting To Know What You Are Taking On

Other Pet Related Articles by Songbird B:
Adopting A Rescue Dog And Possible Unknown Factors.
Rescuing Raffles.
Rescue Me.
If I Only Had A Voice.
What It Is Like Owning A Jack Russell Terrier.
If I Followed You Home.
In Doggy Dreams.
The Welsh Legend Of A Faithful Hound..Gelert Of Beddgelert.

Credits and Acknowledgements:
Many thanks to all the contributors and youtube for embedded videos.
All images Author's own and not to be used without permission.

Why not join us at Wikinut? A friendly on-line community of writers, and earn royalties as you share your stories too?

Tags

Adopting A Dog, Adoption, Advice, Breeds, Collie, Crossbreeds, Dogs, Pets, Rehoming Centre, Rescue Animals, Rescue Centre, Rescue Dogs, Rspca, Setter X, Songbird B, Songbird B Articles, Training

Meet the author

author avatar Songbird B
Hi there! I am Songbird B, and I am a semi-pro female Jazz vocalist. I have a huge passion for Jazz music, and I love writing Poetry, which I have done all my life. I am very Spiritual in my beliefs, and love Photography, Music and Garden Design....I...(more)

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Comments

author avatar Rania, Jamie & Reni
23rd Mar 2013 (#)

Songbird B, this is a ten star page!

Exquisite pictures of such beautiful dogs and your heartwarming story is unequaled!

Thank you so much for putting such a page together for all to view.

Uthrania Seila

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author avatar Songbird B
23rd Mar 2013 (#)

Bless you dear Uthrania for such fulsome praise..I am so glad that you enjoyed my article..Thank you for looking in on me..x

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author avatar Retired
23rd Mar 2013 (#)

Wonderful part two and follow up about these adorable and remarkable dog-friends. Love the pictures! Touching, wise and inspiring. Thanks for sharing. Namaste, rd

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author avatar Songbird B
23rd Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you RD..Frisky was such a joy to own, and even now is sadly missed..He was quite a character in his own way, and such a handsome lad too..Thank you for dropping by my friend..\0/x

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author avatar richardpeeej
24th Mar 2013 (#)

It is wonderful to hear how you have given your time and effort into making sure that all your rescue do

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author avatar richardpeeej
24th Mar 2013 (#)

---oops...dogs have had a full and happy life after an unhappy start. You are a very caring woman Bev and a real inspiration to anyone wanting to take on a rescue dog. May Raffles have a long and happy life with you and your OH,,

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author avatar Songbird B
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Bless you Rich, what a lovely thing to say! Each and every one of my dogs has a place in our hearts, and they certainly enriched our lives. Raff is still going strong I'm glad to say dear heart..Bless you for such a loving post.Hugs..\0/xxx

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
24th Mar 2013 (#)

I understand your love for dogs... nice share..

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author avatar Songbird B
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Rezoul, and bless you for looking in on me and posting a comment. It is appreciated.

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author avatar Carol
24th Mar 2013 (#)

This is lovely and the photos are amazing!

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Carol, I know how dear dogs are to your heart too my friend..These are quite old now and showing their age..lol A bit like me I think! \0/x

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author avatar Djbrat
24th Mar 2013 (#)

This warms my heart....(((hugs))) ♥

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Bless you Dj, I am so glad you enjoyed my article..Thank you for looking in on me and leaving a comment..Hugs x

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
25th Mar 2013 (#)

so very very lovely this Bev...the doggies are absolutely adorable...

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Bless you Carolan..My dogs have certainly been some characters..lol.\0/x

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author avatar Buzz
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks, dear Bev, for featuring these adorable dogs, man's best friends!

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you dear Buzz for looking in on me..We learn so much from our animals, and where else would you find such unconditional love without strings attached? Lovely to see you here my friend..Hugs \0/x

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Wonderful share in every way Songbird. Reading this post slowly and enjoying it all along the way, I was able to understand your pets so well, their character and behavior. I believe when we leave this shore, others will be waiting for us at the other shore to welcome us and put us at ease. And there will be no differentiation with regard to human, animal, bird species. And we would recognize each other without introduction - the soul connection works without any barriers! Pure bliss for those with love in their hearts -siva

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Ah dear Sivar..You are a man very much after my own heart.. When a love link is created, it cannot be broken within this life or the next. I know that the Rainbow Bridge is a poem meant to comfort those who have lost such treasured pets, but I also believe there is truth in it too..The love bond is one of the strongest in the world. It is not easily severed. Bless you for looking in on me Sivar, you always such such insight and value to my pages, and I am proud to call you friend..\0/x

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author avatar C.D. Moore
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Wonderfull page! Dogs are such loving beings. They can teach us a lot. The pictures are amazing too!

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you CD, these photos are quite old now, but Frisky was such a handsome lad and loved posing to have his picture taken..lol. I agree completely, dogs and pets in general teach us so much if only we would take the time to listen and understand them..Bless you for visiting my page dear friend..\0/x

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author avatar Delicia Powers
27th Mar 2013 (#)

Beautiful commitment and inspiring, what a lovely why to share your giving heart...:0)...fantastic article, thank you.

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author avatar Songbird B
27th Mar 2013 (#)

Bless you for looking in on me Delicia, I am so glad that you enjoyed my friend, and I could share my dogs and experience with others who might wish to make the same commitment..Lovely to see you here on my page my friend..\0/x

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author avatar Mystic Maid
10th Jun 2013 (#)

Beautiful story, it brought tears to my eyes. I have rescued a few special souls myself and they are still in my heart.

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author avatar Songbird B
10th Jun 2013 (#)

Oh bless you Georgia for popping into my page and I'm so glad that you enjoyed this and have been touched by my article on Rescue dogs.. They truly do leave paw prints in your heart don't they my friend?\0/x

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