My friends and family members, close and extended, often ask me questions about dogs. What sort of food should we feed our dog? Where is the best place to adopt a dog? What’s the best breed? How do we train her to stop barking? Should I get the rattlesnake vaccine? Oh, and what’s the best food to feed our dog? (I get that last one a lot!)
RARELY do my family members and friends listen all the way, or take all of my advice. And I know I’m not alone; I’m sure it’s the same with doctors and lawyers and therapists and car mechanics; people hear what they want to hear and do what they want to do.
But when someone I know – a civilian, not a “dog person” – does listen, and take some of my advice, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me.
My husband’s brother and his wife (my in-laws) started asking me last year about dogs. They both love dogs, though neither has owned one for decades. They bought a house in the San Francisco Bay Area a year or two ago, and have been slowly working toward readying themselves and their home for a dog.
The cool thing is, before they just went out and adopted the first cute face they saw at their local shelter, they asked me about breeds and sources. I asked them for a list of attributes they both wanted and did not want in a dog – and they sat down, discussed it, and came back to me with such a list. There were certain traits they liked and certain breeds they were considering. Of the breeds on their list, I felt that one of their first stops should be some Boxer rescue groups, and that they should look for an easy adult dog for their first adoption.
Within a couple of weeks, they brought home Rosie, an adult Boxer who had been fostered by a Boxer rescue group volunteer. Rosie had been hit by a car while running loose on the streets; the Boxer group had paid for surgery for her broken leg, as well as spay surgery. Thought she is a sweet and mellow girl at home, she’s got spunk to spare on the trail, and loves hiking with her new people.
These people, my in-laws, feed her a great food, take her to a fantastic daycare for exercise and socialization (and for dog-sitting when they go out for a long evening, like dinner and a movie), hike with her several times a week, and have just generally done everything right with this adorable dog. I’ve taken a few “tech support” calls – regarding a reaction to a dewormer (that the rescue insisted they give to the dog), Kong toy-stuffing, crate-training, gassiness, heartworm prevention, flea prevention, and food, and they have listened closely, done further research, and have basically done everything I would do for my own dogs.
They recently had a scare; Rosie’s appetite, never great, abruptly ceased to exist. Then she stopped drinking. They took her to the vet, and things snowballed. Long story short, whether it was being hit by a car while a stray the year before, or a sub-par spay surgery after her rescue from the streets (likely both), her spleen was badly damaged, she had developed some adhesions, and her intestines were a mess. My in-laws approved a rather open-ended surgery estimate, and Rosie had one heck of a surgery to repair everything that was awry inside. She recovered from the surgery beautifully – and her owners report that all her fussing over food and gas, and even her occasional discomfort during exercise, has all gone away. I know many people who would have had to think twice about such a big vet bill for a dog they hadn’t owned that long, and maybe it hurt my in-laws, but if it did, I didn’t hear them whining about it. All I’ve heard and seen is how much they love and enjoy their Rosie.
Anyone who is involved with rescue or sheltering can tell you how rare it is to meet committed owners like this, which is why I wanted to write this bit of appreciation. If you are involved with rescue, tell us about some great owners you’ve met!