Saturday, November 7, 2009

"Found" Pets

This is a picture of my dear little Susie Bell. After a long happy life, we had to let her go yesterday. She was my constant companion (and I do mean constant. I never went anywhere in the condo without her at my heels.) I miss her terribly.

But I don't want this post to be sad. I want it to be hopeful. You see, Susie was a rescued dog. We found her at the pound and nursed her back to health. She rewarded us with years of joy and uncritical love.

If you are considering adding a pet to your family, let me encourage you to by-pass the pricy purebred. There are thousands of homeless pets waiting to be adopted at local shelters. Puppies are fun, but let me also urge you to consider adopting an adult animal. There are far more of them available and they are less likely to be placed in a home. Susie was at least 5 years old when she came to live with us.

Another source of "found" pets is puppy mill rejects. Meet Mack, an Irish Jack Russell. He was born with a surgically correctable defect, but the breeder was going to put him down since the defect rendered him unsell-able. Instead, Mack came to live with us. His problem was fixed and he's been a happy, healthy addition to our family for the last four years. He's a natural clown and so smart we suspect he can both spell and count to at least 3.

If your heart is set on a specific breed, another place to look for a "found" pet is among rescue societies dedicated to certain breeds, like retired dog track greyhounds.

If you do bring a dog into your family, you open yourself to heartache, but the love and laughs they bring to their owners' lives far outweighs the eventual sadness.

Do you have a "found" pet? Please share your story. Someone else may be moved to save a little life.


Vanessa Kelly said...

Bless you, Emily! You are certainly doing the work of the angels by taking in rescued animals.

Several years ago, my first husband and I took in a husky/collie female who had been abused. She had such a sweet, placid personality, and repaid us with many years of love. When my first husband and I split up, Sadie went with him. She really helped him get through what was a tough time for both of us.

Jane L said...

My husband and I had lost our St Bernard many years ago and swore off pets! But a few weeks later I found a St Bernard shelter and we went there to find a puppy, but they had only adult dogs! We picked out our Winston, he was about four Years old they thought and he was so funny right from our first meeting! He was my husbands best friend and I mean best friend! Sadly Winston passed away about five years after we got him, but yes he brought us so much laughter and mischief. We miss him but now have our little Pomeranian Gizmo, who is only 6 months old and full of energy! It seems impossible to replace your pets, but the next one brings something so wonderful to your life , that it almost seems meant to be!

EmilyBryan said...

Vanessa--I never considered it the work of the angels. We receive so much back from our pets. Sounds like your Sadie had a giving heart too.

Animals benefit their people in so many ways, in companionship, in improved health, in less stress.

EmilyBryan said...

Jane L--I'm glad you didn't give up on pets. Sounds like you'll always remember Winston.

Pomeranians are so sweet. I love their little foxy faces.

It might interest you to know that smaller breeds tend to live longer. Skipperkees are the Methuselas of the dog world, often living 20 years.

Amanda McCabe/Amanda Carmack/Laurel McKee said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Emily! It's so hard to lose our little fur friends.

I also have 2 rescue dogs! One a Poodle mix, one a pure-bred Pug who came from Pug rescue. They are fabulous dogs, and very, very loving! I would join you in encouraging people to adopt rescues. :)

Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

Bless you for promoting pet rescue. Our family would not be complete without Skye kitty and we are considering getting her a brother from the same shelter in the near future.

Skye was a terrified bundle of furry fear in the back of a too-big carrier when she joined our family three days after her predecessor, Olivia, had passed. We couldn't take the gaping agony of catlessness and when we saw her picture on Petfinder, we knew we were her family.

We weren't sure she even had legs for the first week, as she skulked more than walked and found all the new stuff uber-scary (especially black shoes, which she still doesn't like) but two years later, she wants to be veryveryclosetothehumans at all times and is a fuzzy chatterbox who loves to loll by the heater and watch her humans make art.

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Amanda! Thanks for adding your voice to the issue.

Susie was my little Wonder dog. We wondered what she was. The vet suggested she was part poodle, part papillion, part chihuahua. Which I turned into "papi-oodle-huahua."

I've heard being owned by a Pug is a rare treat!

EmilyBryan said...

Hi Anna. Thanks for bringing up the kitties who need homes too. Your Skye sounds like a very lucky feline.

Mari said...

All of our animals are rescues--strays that we happened to find on our property.
Or should I say, they found us?
I swear animals are psychic and they can find kindred spirits.

EmilyBryan said...

Mari-Animals do have a sense about people. If my dogs didn't warm to someone, I figured they had reason.

They also know when someone likes them and means them well. When I found my Susie at the pound, she'd been there a week and the workers were afraid she'd have to be put down. She did nothing but cower from everyone. But when she saw me, she raised on her back legs and pawed the air obviously happy to see me. The worker said they'd never seen her do that. She knew she wanted to be my little dog at first sight.

Rachel E. Moniz said...

I am so sorry to read about Susie. Today's blog is a wonderful tribute to her. It has certainly made me want to go to a shleter and see what beautiful animals are in need of a loving home.

Booklover1335 said...

My heart goes out to you Emily....losing a pet is heartwrenching. My Boston Terrier, Maggie, died a couple of years ago, and I could not stop crying for days.

Maggie wasn't technically a rescued dog, as we did buy her from a breeder, but she was the left over dog of her litter. She was the runt, and they did not know if she would live. She was so tiny that she had to eat and drink out of a margarine tub lid, not the tub, but the lid because she was so small. She would get lost in the grass in the backyard, and she loved to snuggle up in between your shoulder and your neck to sleep.

Naturally with our care she lived to be 10 yrs old, grew to be a normal size, and despite being sickly and small when we got her.

If I decide to get another pet it will definitely be a rescue dog, or a dog from a local shelter. There are so many out there needing a home and love. Thanks for sharing your stories.

Anonymous said...

How nice of you to take the time so soon after loosing your pet to pass along some important information.
Thank your for sharing pictures of your dogs. Susie was certainly a sweetheart. Mack looks like a sweet, smart dog. I sure he can count to 3. I second your suggestion of getting rescue dogs. We did puppy foster care for two reasons. First the pound did not have room to keep a mother and new puppies until they were old enough. Secondly, having them raised in a home, socializes them and they are a more adoptable, better pet.
We have 4 dogs and two cats plus a python and peacocks, all shelter or rescue animals.
An important thing we as pet owners can do for our pets, ourselves, and society in general is to have our pets spayed and neutered. There are too many animals to place and many are destroyed each year. No kill shelters are wonderful, but is not always possible to do. Our county shelter can get over 100 cats and dogs each week. There is no way to place that many animals. It is better for the health of your pet to be "fixed". They won't miss having babies and you won't have to worry about finding good homes for them all.

Emily, I hope all the good memories of Susie help soften the sadness in your heart.

EmilyBryan said...

Rachel--Don't go to the pound unless you're ready to add to your family. It's hard to leave there empty-handed.

Booklover- Maggie was a lucky little terrier to receive your special care. And I'm sure she rewarded you with lots of love.

EmilyBryan said...

Pat--A python? Really? Your heart must be ever so much bigger than mine. Thank you for your generous spirit.

You raise a very important point. Please spay or neuter your pet. Even with the best intentions, even no kill shelters can't keep all the animals. I've been told that after a certain period of time, dogs in shelters start to pine and quit eating. They don't want a full dish and a place to sleep. They want people to love.

susan said...

sorry to hear about Susie and know you miss her..we get attached to our pets. Welcome Mack to the family and hope he is a joy for you all. susan L.

mrsshukra said...

Hi Emily... so sorry to hear about your Susie! When our sweet doberman passed away many years ago, we just couldn't get another... so no found pets for us but I have friends who find their dogs from the Humane Society and have been happy.

Teddyree said...

Hi Em, I was so sorry to read about your Susie, she sure was a cutie. They bring such joy to your life don't they and become so much more than a family pet, our Rottie Rajah was a treasured member of our family. Hope Mack is keeping you company, he looks like a bit of a ratbag LOL

EmilyBryan said...

Susan--Mack, our terrier, is certainly helping us through our grief. But he's grieving though too. He's looking for her every time we take him out and starting to worry his feet.

Etirv--I hear what you're saying. It's hard to replace a well loved pet with another and wouldn't be fair to the next animal if it's tried too soon. So sorry about your doberman.

Thanks, Teddy. Susie will always be in my heart as I'm sure your Raja is in yours.

Mack is a little bounder. Once he conned Susie out of her soft food by barking at the front door even though no one was there. When she came running to investigate, he looped around the other way to her bowl and had it scraped clean by the time she came back. But he only fooled her that way once.

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

(((HUGS))) to you on the loss of your Susie Bell. Oh boy, do they claim our hearts!

I have six rescues at my house, all with different stories. Interesting enough, the purebreds (a Giant Schnauzer and a Cocker Spaniel) were the ones with three paws in the euthanasia room. The others are mixed breeds who didn't do well at the shelter or were overlooked/returned for a variety of reasons. I think they are all awesome!