I have a confession. Rather than work with one of our dogs, trying to curb her bad social skills, we gave her away.
Sydney came in to our lives in September 2004. In May of that same year, I had to put down the love of my life, Lina. Lina was a 13yr old Rotweiller, and she was the best dog ever. Dog lovers and non-dog lovers all agreed that Lina rocked. So, when Lina left me, I was broken. My heart ached. A neighbor called us several months later, wondering if we would take in another dog. (We had two other dogs with us.) Because there was still a hole in my heart, I went to see this dog in need of a home.
As I sat on the neighbor’s driveway, Sydney was practically in my lap. And, Sydney was a 2yr old Nova Scotia Duck Tollling Retriever; she was not a small dog. Still, she clearly loved people, and she figured she was small enough to be a lap dog.
I have been around dogs my entire life, and I would often watch dogs while the owners were away on vacation. I know how to introduce dogs to each other, and I know when I am with a dog that does not play well with other dogs. So, before I agreed to take Sydney, I had to bring her to our house and introduce her to Wilbur and Cherokee. Sydney would not be welcomed in our home, if she didn’t mix well with Wilbur and Cherokee.
Initially, the three dogs did great. In fact, they seemed to get along so well, we welcomed Sydney into our home with wagging tails. However, as months turned into years, we found Sydney was quite aggressive to other dogs. When defending her turf, Sydney had a tendency to snap, in a knee-jerk reaction, at whatever was close. Too often, it was Cherokee that was close to Sydney, and it was Cherokee getting the brunt of Sydney’s snap. After several years and 3 ripped Cherokee ears, I decided it was time to find a new home for Sydney.
I knew Sydney came with baggage. Though she was a great people dog, she was not a good dog/cat dog. I did not feel comfortable passing Sydney to just anyone, knowing the history. So, I turned to my friend Elise. Elise runs ‘Pick of the Litter‘, a no-kill animal rescue shelter. She has several dogs and cats, as well as a goat and pig. She manages Pick of the Litter on her own, and she relies completely on donations. I asked Elise for some advice on how to handle Sydney. Elise suggested I get Sydney into obedience school. And, as I confessed earlier, I didn’t heed Elise’s advice. I felt obedience school was expensive, and I knew I was not disciplined enough to practice what we would learn in obedience school. Fact of the matter is, I was lazy. What’s worse, I considered putting Sydney down.
The thought of putting Sydney down made Elise angry towards me, as it should. Sydney was a good dog, and I had no business putting her down, because I was a lazy dog owner. Thankfully, and after serious consideration, Elise agreed to take Sydney into her shelter. And, I agreed to sponsor Sydney monetarily. For almost a year now, Sydney, now named Squidney, has been living happily with Elise. Furthermore, Squidney has had no altercations with the other dogs within Elise’s shelter. Why? Because Elise is a gift to the animal world, and she has the ability to work wonders with animals of all shapes, sizes and temperaments.
Not surprising, people, like myself, find it easier to pass their high maintenance dog on to someone else rather than take on the responsibility needed to provide for the animal. That said, Elise receives more dogs and cats vs. finding homes for the rescued dogs and cats. [For the record: Wilbur and Cherokee are rescue dogs, as was Lina.] And, with every new dog and cat comes added vet bills, food bills, grooming bills, etc. Pick of the Litter has reached critical mass. A continuous flow of funds are needed, immediately, to keep this animal rescue operation going.
By accessing Pick of the Litter’s website, you can sign up and make one general donation or subscribe and donate $7.50 a month, automatically via Paypal. $7.50 pays for heartworm preventative medicine for one dog for one month, one month of flea treatment for one dog or 10 days of dog/cat food for one dog/cat. Contributing $7.50 each month for 6-months provides enough money for 1 vet exam and rabies vaccination, two bags of dog food or 2 dog/cat beds. And, contributing $7.50 each month for 12-months covers the cost to spay or neuter one dog/cat, pays for a full vet exam and set of annual vaccinations or provides microchips for 9 dogs/cats.
All donations to Pick of the Litter are 100% tax deductible, as it is a 501C3 non-profit organization. In addition, 100% of all donations go directly to the care of the Pick of the Litter animal residents and foster guests. Please consider donating to Pick of the Litter. You can access their website at: http://www.ourpickofthelitter.com. Or, you can make a check out to Pick of the Litter and mail it to Pick of the Litter, P.O. Box 1994, Hiram, GA 30141. If you are an animal lover, but you’re not an ‘animal in your house’ kind of person – this is a great way to help your furry friends without having the furry mess. Even better, you won’t need to scoop the poop! Please donate, and share this with your friends. Thank you.
3 thoughts on “Our Pick of the Litter”
I’ve recently started volunteering for a dog rescue organization, but I’m not worthy. The people there, like Elise, are saints. Squidney gives new meaning to “lucky dog,” because you had the good sense to realize that she was not a good match for your pets and to be honest about that and your feelings. That situation is stressful for all involved – humans and animals. Everyone is much happier now. I wish I could donate to Pick of the Litter, but am unemployed at present (hence volunteering my time at the local dog rescue organization). I admire you for positing about your experience and getting the word out about Elise and her good work.
Thank you so much, AA. I appreciate you taking the time to read the posts, and I am grateful for your kind words. You are doing your part by volunteering. Thank you for that.