Mickey, Home At Last
Posted at 04:00PM - Comments: (7)
In the editorial of the August issue (now online and in your mailboxes soon), I updated the story of Mickey, an-odd-but-cute looking, high-energy dog who had somehow spent almost a year at my local shelter without finding a permanent home. (He was adopted once, for a little more than two months, but was returned because the family’s original dog was picking on him unmercifully.)
I first wrote about Mickey in this space in May, when I started working with him prior to an all-weekend Adopt-A-Thon. I taught him to sit – and in that one simple process, he learned to pay attention to humans, control his own behavior, and offer that “good manners” basic whenever someone paid attention to him. Unfortunately, he didn’t get adopted that weekend…or for the next two months.
In the August editorial, I wrote how I had taken Mickey home and then on a road trip to see some long-time friends in the Bay Area, to try to increase his exposure to more prospective homes. One of my friends, a mom with a daughter in college, a son in high school, and a teacher husband, was looking for a second dog to be a companion to the family’s 10-year-old Lab-mix, and she fell in love with Mickey at first sight. I fostered Mick for an additional week while the family finished with some home renovation tasks and got prepared for dog #2. As I wrote the editorial, I was hopeful that this would be Mickey’s forever home.
Ah, it was not to be. THIS family’s first dog also took a strong dislike to Mickey, and after the big dog made one fairly serious attack on Mickey a couple of hours into our introductory session, the family decided on the spot that the senior dog is going to his grave (we hope not for a long time!) without a second dog in the home. Everyone was shook up – even the usually buoyant Mickey.
Well, I had several backup ideas. I showed Mick to another friend. She wanted him – but her husband was not ready for a dog to replace the dog they lost a couple of years ago. “It takes a village!” I said, as an introduction was set up between Mickey and my son’s girlfriend’s aunt, who also really liked Mickey, but was concerned that his energy level would be too much for her 92-year-old mother-in-law, who lived with her and her husband.
This whole time, I was staying with my friend Maureen and her husband Dan. They were not looking for another dog. They are absolutely devoted to their 12-year-old mixed-breed, Carly. But they both enjoyed watching and interacting with Mickey in between my arranged appointments with other prospective owners, and every time I got ready to take Mickey to another one, the goodbyes got longer . . .
After Mick’s final failed appointment, Maureen could take it no longer. “We want Mickey,” she said, even though Dan looked dubious. “He’s so sweet, and smart, and cute! I think he’ll fit right in.” “He’ll be your dog,” Dan responded – but when I came back to visit the family two weeks later, Dan answered the door with Mickey in his arms, and Maureen confided, “Dan loves that little dog . . . we’re teasing him about his ‘bromance’ with Mickey; they spend a lot of time together.”
And what about Mickey’s past downfall – the “original” dog in the family, who resents his presence? It’s not happening with Carly; ever the food-motivated opportunist, she quickly realized that the little dog seemed to need training, which means treats, and she runs to volunteer as a training partner and mentor. Mickey’s training sessions spell treats for Carly, which is helping cement his place in her affections, too.
The happiest outcome of all! A home for Mickey where I can visit frequently!