I read a news article recently about abused and abandoned dogs, and I liked a pet rescue group on Facebook that always seems to post about repeat foster dogs that are abandoned by multiple owners, and those stories prompted me to post about my own rescue.
To start, the story of why I adopted a second dog.
I have always adopted rescues, and I had adopted a puggle a few years ago. When I moved from my apartment complex, where she had lots of friends, to a house where she was afraid of the neighbor dogs, I considered getting a second pet.
I brought her with me to several adoption events, but she was afraid of all of the dogs at the adoption events and the frdogs at the pound were afraid of her. I did not want to get a dog that would fight with my current one, and she had a history of being mean to dogs she didn’t like. Although, until I took her to these adoption events, she got along with most dogs.
Finally, I went to one a few minutes before they were going to pack up for the day. It was an adoption event in a PetSmart, where the rescue group comes for a Saturday and brings a few of the foster dogs.
When I walked in, the cashier asked if I was there to see the puppies. I was surprised when I walked to the back and found that they weren’t six month old puppies starting to outgrow their baby cuteness into their adult cuteness, they were babies. I didn’t give them more than a glance, instead focused on a pit mix that was a little older.
As I read her information sheet, my dog started tugging on her leash. I glanced at her, to see what she was trying to get into, and found that she had shoved her face against a crate I had not initially noticed, on the other side of the puppies. I walked over to her and found a puppy separated from her siblings. The volunteer explained that she had recovered from her injuries, but her siblings had not and she was a little too energetic to be with them. She didn’t look energetic as my puggle licked her face, but she looked relieved to get the attention. As I spoke with the volunteer, her siblings were adopted, but no one even looked at her.
I learned that these tiny puppies were rescues. The owner of the mother dog called animal control and requested that they be picked up when they were approximately six weeks old. animal control contact the rescue group who took care of the puppies until they could eat exclusively solid food and adequately recovered from their injuries.
I didn’t intend to adopt a puppy, but my dog seemed attached, the puppy liked my dog, and that story broke my heart. So rather than getting an adult dog, which was my intent, I adopted a puppy.
Now, puppies are super cute, but here’s what I learned about a puppy vs a grown dog. Puppies don’t always like their owners immediately. I can say with total confidence that the puppy loved my dog and tolerated me. I had never had a puppy so young, and for the first couple of months, she didn’t sleep through the night.
This is when I learned something that blew my mind. I had always viewed crate training as something that might be needed, but was a little mean, and only to be used when absolutely necessary. It only took a few nights for the puppy to learn she would go into her crate every night, and if she cried (She never has been much of a barker) she would be let out….immediately to go outside. When she did her business or didn’t and just wanted back in, she would go back in the crate. We would repeat this all night. Soon she only cried to be let out for potty, then when she was older and could sleep through the night, she developed a little yelp that let me know she wanted out for the morning. By then, she preferred her crate to sleeping anywhere else. During the day, her crate is left open and she goes in there to sleep, or hide. At night, she will find someone to close the crate door. But for those considering the crate, know that possibly the only reason she likes the crate is due to the fact that she is never locked in there when no one is home and she knows she can get out.
She sometimes takes toys with her
She also views her crate as her space, and hides things in there, mostly things she steals from people in the house, like shoes. She gets upset when I go in her crate to clean it out or switch the bedding.
As she grew, she learned. She learned the basic commands and behaviors, and fully developed her own personality. She eventually grew attached to me, after I earned her trust, and she has a tendency to love nearly everyone she meets.
She loves to play
And due to an accident, has grown to tolerate the vet office and even like some of the techs.
She has personality, preferences, and things she doesn’t like. She still thinks she’s a lap dog, and loves to play in water.
I guess the point of this post is this:
If you want a dog, they are fantastic animals. They are loyal, playful, and adorable.
If you want a dog understand this: They have to be taught and positive reinforcement is better than punishing them. Dogs don’t always understand how the punishment connects to the behavior, if they realize they were punished for a behavior. If you punish a dog for peeing in the house, he might just hide where he pees.
If you want a dog understand this: The tiny puppy stage only lasts for as long as the can’t sleep through the night phase. If you want a puppy only because of how cute it is, Google the full grown version of the breed. Adult dogs are still super cute and loving, but a lot of dogs are surrendered to rescue groups and shelters because they aren’t puppy cute anymore.
If you want a dog understand this: That dog loves you. when you hurt them, it’s like when a loved one hurts you. Have patience, have compassion.
If you want a dog understand this: you will have a loving, loyal companion, someone who is always excited to see you (seriously, I get the same super excited greeting from my dogs when I come home from a long day at work as I do coming in from taking out the trash) Someone who loves to learn new games, and will always cheer you up.
Please, research before you decide to adopt, recognize the commitment you are making, and understand that dogs are not objects, they are living creatures who don’t deserve abuse.