Saturday, May 19, 2007


I've been thinking about my fur family lately, how it's changed over the years, how it will change again in the future.

Skootchie's 10th birthday was the 15th of this week. She would have been 10 years old. I still can't believe I lost her when she was so young. She was the easiest puppy in the world to have. We bought her from a pet store after we were denied by a shelter. The thing is, we went to the shelter a month earlier and asked what we needed to do to prepare for a dog. We changed our work schedules, bought everything they said, and planned to come home for lunch to let her out. When we were ready, we again went to the shelter to see what they had. When we asked to see a puppy, we got a lecture like you wouldn't believe from a different woman. I was so angry I cried (I'm not sure many people have seen me that angry.) We would be "cruel and inhumane"
because we would crate her during the day when we were at work. I'll never, ever forget that. (Maybe I should go back and thank them, since they were essentially the reason I got started in rescue and to this day have saved well over 500 dogs.) So, we internally said fuck that and drove right to the pet store at the mall.

She was soo quirky, which made me love her so much more. I mean, how many other dogs do you know that can sneeze on command? That's how special my girl was. She used to take a squeaky toy, drag a dog bed over it, and then do this kinda digging thing on top of the dog bed. I never knew what that was about but I'll never forget it. She had the worst breath in the entire world but her kisses were precious since she didn't dole them out all that often. I still tear up thinking of her, I miss her so freakin' much.

Millie. The story behind Millie is that we went to the shelter (same shelter) to adopt a dog. Skootchie growled at every single dog we put in front of her, except Millie. While we were there, a family was returning Millie - they had adopted her the day before. They put her in a crate and kept her in the kitchen. They couldn't understand why she barked the whole night. The father couldn't be kept awake like that so they returned her. When she was put in the cage, she barked more and more. We asked to see her and Skootchie immediately took a liking to her. We didn't pick her, Skootchie did.

We should've known then that she was going to be a handful! After years of destruction, training, seeing a behaviorist, almost getting us kicked out of our apt, housebreaking, and loving her through it all, she's the best dog a gal could ask for. She used to go everywhere with me. Her snarkiness with other dogs never really improved, which is why she doesn't come to flyball or demos with me. That and she still can't be crated. She's slowing down now - I see the signs of aging like a hammer to the head. I worry that I'm going to lose her before I'm ready. Of course I'll never be ready. She's white all over now, not just the premature graying thing she had going on in the face at 3 years old. She's stiff and her joints crack when she moves (she's on supplements now, which she hates.) She doesn't run as much as she used to, doesn't play as much as she used to, gets startled really easy these days, and sleeps all the time. You will never understand what this dog has done to my heart.

Then there's Freddie. He came in as a rescue. He was 7 months old at the time and my home was the 4th he had. His bark was fucking ridiculous - like, I can't even describe how ridiculous. He is a gorgeous dog and has an incredibly sweet, Momma's boy personality...until he gets pissed off. :p But, his bark was so shrill, so loud, so high pitched, that nobody would take him. I searched high and low for a vet that would do a voice alter on him - nobody would. One day I got a call from a vet that wanted me to pick up 2 abandoned Min Pins. I explained the situation and asked if he would consider doing the procedure. He said he wouldn't promise anything, but to bring him and if he thought his bark was bad, he would do it. We put him in a crate in the basement and left the room, which got him barking - he is still a pretty vocal dog. Once the vet heard the first bark, he said, Oh yeah, that's what the procedure is for - that type of bark.

Freddie is ball crazy and needed a job being stupidly high in energy. I found out about flyball and wanted to get him involved immediately. It took about a year to train him. The team I was with at the time didn't do clicker training with flyball so I had to fly by the seat of my pants and make it up as I went along. I wish I knew as much then as I do now. He might even have a box turn. But he's 9, slowing down a tad, but still going strong. Just don't put your hand near a ball, he might draw blood accidentally. :)

Pacie. Sigh. I don't even know where to start with Pacie. He was adopted out by my friends in New Jersey that do Min Pin rescue. The family they adopted him to moved up north and couldn't handle him. I now know why as he drives me up the freakin' wall every single day. I wanted to train him in flyball, worked on recalls, worked on the box, and brought him to practice a few times. But, then he got sick. His kidney values are in the toilet and we don't know if they'll ever improve. My vet doesn't think he has all that much time left - not as much as a 5 year old dog *should* have.

I considered adopting him out. He and I butt heads occasionally and he and Freddie fight all the time. Not just stupid little snarky type of fights, but close to you're-not-getting-out-of-here-alive kind of fights - similar to bitch fighting. It's hard to break them up when they get like that. I scream like a banshee every single time and usually that works but there's been a few times I've had to physically separate them. I shouldn't have kept Pacie, he wasn't/isn't good for the pack, but at this point he's staying until he dies. It's the very least I can do for him. No regular pet home would be able to handle him anyway. Which is too bad because he's a total Momma's boy too. He gets wiggle butt if he even *thinks* I'm reaching out to pet him and he loses his mind.

And then there's Tweak. It's amazing how quickly I fall in total and complete love with a dog I know will be mine forever. She's so good, so easy to own. What a great personality on that little girl. She's growing like a weed and, in some ways, reminds me of Skootchie. I can't wait to see what the future will be like with her. Sometimes that thought makes me feel guilty. I wish Skootchie could've met her. I think she would've taught her a ton.

So, my family went from Skootchie and Millie to Millie, Freddie, Pacie, and Tweak in a short 10 years. My life would be soooooo different without them. I don't know what I'd do with all of that free time. Maybe I would be ok with it. Maybe I would always feel like something's missing. I don't know and never will. I only know that I wouldn't trade my life with anyone in the world, for any amount of money in the world. My Dad says everyone has a price and for the most part I agree with him. Not when it comes to my fur kids though. Bill Gates doesn't have enough to make me part with my dogs. Life just wouldn't be worth it without them.


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