It had been 8 years since we had owned dogs and my hubby and I found ourselves stopping to pet just about any dog, of any breed or size, as they walked by. Eventually I suggested maybe it was time for us to consider getting another dog ourselves. So off to the Toronto Humane Society I went, to see what was available. Our previous dogs had been rescued 10yr old mini-dachshunds who we spent 5 years loving, and while they had been cute as all get-out, this time around I wanted a younger dog and one who I stood at least a chance of training! (dachshunds are not the easiest dogs to train)
But I am a sucker for the long snout and floppy eared look, and when I walked by the cages at the THS, I was taken by a 6 month old, 20 lb dog who had the face of a dachshund but who also had long legs! She growled as I walked by her cage and remember thinking “that’s not a smart move doggy” but then I realized she was just scared. So I brought my husband back the next day and we agreed to bring her home and named her Tater.
The first 6 weeks with Tater were very stressful for us. Tater was a very willful dog with a mind of her own. I am not sure how many times during that first month or so that I seriously considered returning her. I couldn’t walk her with out her pulling and jumping and snarling and just about every other display of bad behaviour you can imagine. But little by little, she started paying a bit more attention to me and I learned a few things about dog handling and training and things got a bit easier. It surprised me one day to see her sleeping on the couch and for me to realize that despite our difficulties I had fallen in love with this spitfire of a dog.
One thing that really helped us out was that she loved the off-leash dog park. Despite being a terror on leash, she was a delight off leash! She was the fastest dog at the park and loved nothing more than a really good chase, and would run around the park getting as many dogs as possible to chase her. Now that she is 6 years old, she really only plays with her brother Roogie, however she loves people even more than dogs and will go up to just about anyone with her bum a’wiggling hoping to score a treat! And she is very successful with this tactic! lol
Tater loves to sleep under the covers with us at night. She is like a living, breathing teddy bear. She’s bigger now, at 30 lbs, and I have to say I think this could be the perfect sized dog. Big enough to get respect at the dog park but also small enough I can pick her up if I need to.
Three year ago, a professional rescue friend of mine was networking a dog on Facebook, who had a great story. This dog had been picked up in LA as a stray, and when he hadn’t been adopted in a few days, he was slated to be euthanized. He was literally “dead dog walking” as he was being taken to the euthanasia room, but unlike the other dogs making this same journey who freak out, this dog was wagging his tail and kissing the hand of his executioner. This behaviour earned him a brief reprieve, and is when my rescue friend got him out and into a foster.
I am not really sure what came over me, but I was smitten with his shelter pic with the huge ears, and I found myself posting a reply to one of her Facebook entries, saying “I might be able to take him”. Ten days later, he flew up to Toronto where I met him at the airport. I cried a few tears when I first laid eyes on him in his crate…he was so quiet and looked so scared and confused all curled up in a corner of his crate. I gave him a few treats and that started our lives together. He had no idea how to walk on a leash, had not been house-trained, and really had no manners. But he did have an abundance of love and kisses and enthusiasm, and learned the other stuff very quickly.
When we got home he was immediately let out of the crate and off we went for a long walk around his new neighbourhood. Despite having been in that crate for appx 9 hrs, he didn’t do his biz during the entire walk, but rather waited till we had been in the house for 20 seconds and then he relieved himself fully on our dining room rug! And we only had one other house training accident before he was fully house trained, which I think is really good. To this day, he prefers to do his biz while off leash. He will pee on leash if he absolutely has to, but he has never, ever pooped on leash.
His inate enthusiasm for life actually became a bit of a problem for a while. He was so eager to play with other dogs, that he often didn’t notice that some of the other dogs were not so interested in playing with him, and occasionally a fight would break out when the other dog got fed up with the attention. We worked and worked on this and now he is a really good dog park citizen!
We named him Roogie which is short for Arugula…all our beasties are named after vegetables. He was a wonderful addition to our family and I have learned so much about dogs from both him and our other rescue dog Tater. Our favourite place in the world is the Cherry Beach dog park in Toronto, and we go there almost every day. It fills my heart with joy to see Roogie so happy. I can’t thank my friend Sheila Braun from “BFF K9 Rescue ” enough for both initially saving Roogie and then for helping us to find each other!