Rescued animals are near and dear to my heart, they don’t really fit into the “green living” niche, but they are a huge part of my life. We have an embarrassingly large menagerie that will undoubtedly keep popping into my writing. I hope by sharing these stories I inspire someone to give a rescued animal a chance.
Our sweet yellow lab cross, Jed, passed away at 11 and left behind his friend Buzz, also 11. They were adopted on the same day at a local rescue when they were just weeks old. They were adopted to ease the loneliness of our elderly dog Dakota (adopted through animal control) when my St. Bernard, Samson, died suddenly at the age of 9. Dakota was not handling the loss of his friend well, but with his advanced age we didn’t want to stress him with an older dog or with a single puppy so we thought the adoption of two puppies would be ideal – it did work out really well. He eventually passed away many years later from cancer.
Buzz can seem pretty standoffish so we thought he would be OK as an only dog, but it became apparent that deep down he was a little lonely so we decided he might benefit from a friend.
I started looking for a St. Bernard, when I stumbled across Denali at another local rescue. I couldn’t believe my eyes, he was a Leonberger. A breed I had fallen in love with years ago, but due to personal reasons, (there are too many dogs in shelters needing homes) and, let’s face it, financial reasons as well, I never pursued finding one.
I was a little worried because it says that he shouldn’t be around livestock – we have our poultry and horses, the poultry are pretty protected in their coop but I didn’t know if he might be aggressive toward the horses.
I went down to visit him without kids to see if he might be a good fit. There was a large German Shepherd in the play area when I got there, the coloring was similar so I thought it was him as I couldn’t get a good look. Then they brought him out, extra large is kind of an understatement. He is HUGE! With a wonderful, loving personality, “I just met you, but I love you!”
The rescue didn’t think he would have a problem with the horses so our next step was bringing Buzz down for a meet and greet. Buzz hates the car, there is NO getting him in the car voluntarily…
Denali was extremely respectful of Buzz and his personal space, Buzz being older and set in his ways was not having any of his nonsense but Denali respected that. We caught Buzz wagging his tail a few times so we decided that it would be safe to try introducing him to the family and off we went.
Here we are in my son’s Mazda 3. Buzz had to sit in the front seat with me, just in case, my son and daughter sat in the back with Denali.
Denali adjusted to life at our wacky home REALLY well, the cats are in charge, he respects the horses, coexists with the chickens and sees himself as a lap dog. Denali was 11 months old when we took him home, still a puppy and relatively close to his full size, height wise anyway. His body will continue to fill out for some time. Giant breeds are NOT for everyone – it’s a lot of dog, luckily for us he had been fostered by a trainer who taught him a lot of manners.
The name Denali wasn’t really working for us so after days of name calling, we finally decided on Dexter. When I reviewed his paperwork from animal control, he had been surrendered because he killed 3 sheep, (the rescue believed he had run them into a fence). He has never shown any aggression towards any of our pets, I attribute that to our animals holding their ground – I think if they ran, he would chase them – not necessarily out of aggression but because he wants to “play” and with his size that could end badly. We had just finished watching the series Dexter on Netflix and it just seemed fitting… our very own, handsome, loveable, serial killer…
Please consider giving a rescue pet a chance, they have consistently been the most amazing additions to our family. There are even many rescue groups that can help you find that purebred dog you have been looking for.
I have many more rescue stories to share from dogs to cats to guinea pigs. I’d love to hear your rescue stories too!