Rescuing Dottie

Four years ago this August, I sent my sweet Scooter across the Rainbow Bridge; it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

It took me a long time to decide I wanted another dog, but last year I started yearning for another, so Beloved bowed to the inevitable and put out feelers on Facebook for another dachshund or dachshund mix.

We were very specific about what we wanted – an adult dog that was house-trained, past the puppy “chewing” stage, and that would at least be tolerant of our new grandson (more on that later this week).  Most of the dogs we found that were up for adoption were snatched up before we could do much more than inquire about them, so in July when we found a solid black female dachshund mix for adoption in Birmingham, Alabama I didn’t ask about her because I figured she’d be gone just as quickly as the others.

Lo and behold, nearly a month later, the person who’d located her for us asked, again, if we were interested.  I contacted the foster there who, in retrospect, seemed a little too eager to adopt Dottie out.  (I discovered later that while the foster was disingenuous, if not quite dishonest, about some of the dog’s less-than-desirable qualities, solid black dogs are notoriously difficult to find homes for, and I’m still not sure why.)  We began the paperwork to adopt her, paid the appropriate fees, and found ourselves – quickly, under questionable circumstances that I won’t go into here – driving ten hours to Birmingham to get her.

Maybe not the smartest move in the world, adopting a dog sight unseen, but we were sad about her plight – we’d been told she was a puppy mill mom, which should have been suspicious right off the bat since she was only two years old and not a purebred.  (When I finally received her paperwork from the shelter from which she’d been rescued, she was listed as a stray – she was too healthy and too friendly to have been abused, and my theory is she was just the result of some very irresponsible owners who never had her spayed or registered and let her run loose, and she was picked up by the local dog catcher.)  We’d also been told she’d been scheduled to be euthanized while at the shelter and rescued by the foster, and that much is true.

We both fell in love with her the minute we saw her, and although she growled at me initially, the feeling was mutual as far as Beloved was concerned and she’s been his abject slave ever since, albeit an occasionally recalcitrant one, at least in the beginning.

We’d been told she was energetic, but that is something of an understatement – This. Dog. Never. Stops.  And she was definitely NOT past the puppy chewing phase, as my kitchen cupboards and dinette set will attest to; she is, in fact, what’s known as an “aggressive chewer” – there are chew toys, antlers and the sad remains of squeaky toys all over the house (but she’s no longer eating the furniture). She’s the first dog I’ve ever kenneled, because she’s the first dog I ever had to kennel; in truth, it turned out to be a wise decision, because she’s so curious and exuberant, if left to her own devices she will get into all SORTS of trouble (one day I’ll have to post the photos of the living room after she yarn-bombed it with $60 worth of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky).

Dottie also loves to run – boy, does she love to run – and is an accomplished escape artist; our yard simply cannot contain her (although that is getting better).  She also has a talent, as I mentioned earlier, for getting into trouble; in the first three months we had her, she was attacked by ground wasps – she ran through their nest in the back yard – and grazed by a car (see the “escape artist” comment above), fracturing her tailbone.  In the beginning, we questioned our sanity, bringing what we now affectionately refer to as “The Hell Hound” into our home.

But if Beloved and I share any two qualities, it’s our stubbornness and sense of responsibility – we’d adopted her and we were going to keep her and make it work, by golly.  We began by enrolling her in two obedience courses at the local Pet Smart (where she frequently had her trainer in stitches) and she did well.  We have worked tirelessly with her and she’s come such a long way in the last year – she’s still energetic and exuberant, but she’s no longer destructive and when she does escape the yard, we rarely have to hunt her down; she’s close by and comes when we call (and, boy howdy, wasn’t THAT an accomplishment).  In fact, these days we can take her into the front yard without her leash and she stays on our property, even if there are children out – she loves, loves, loves to play and be petted.

At any rate, that’s the story of how we rescued Dottie.  We love her to pieces, and although Beloved will deny that – it’s some kind of guy thing, I guess – she adores him beyond all measure.  And she’s pretty fond of me, too.

I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about her in the future.