Bonny and Lampchop (her #favorite cuddle toy)
While most of us during Covid have gone crazy ordering on Amazon, I would
It's been challenging enough working remote for these past nine or so months, but in the process, our beloved dog died last July, which only added to the shit year 2020 had become. Our family lost a best friend..in every sense of the word. She was such a good girl and a complete love. Now, at the time, we were all completely distraught, and I swore up and down that I needed to mourn...I needed a full year to be sad, recover, and move on. This didn't sit well with my kids, but I needed that time.
Kaya lived a long, beautiful life. She was loved by all and was with us for 14 years. We miss her every day.
By September, with my younger two being away at college, the loneliness was seeping in...really getting to me. This normally Boisterous house was QUIET! No more doggie visits checking up on me, no short walks on breaks, and no more cuddles in the middle of the day.
In addition to Covid forcing me to be home, I no longer had the companionship of our dog. Although, I intended to give myself time to mourn, I found myself searching the rescue sites daily for dogs. The lonelier I became, the more I searched...it kind of became an obsession. Every dog I inquired about..had an application/owner already waiting. Covid created a high demand for dogs it turned out. Everyone and their mother was looking for a new dog!
She loves picking up all the new scents and rolling around on the lawn.
Let's just talk about the whole dog adoption business for a minute. There are a whole bunch of rescue facilities out there. I was so excited at the prospect of getting a new dog and figured I would find one easily..but I was oh so wrong. All the local rescue/shelters had zero dogs to offer. I ended up looking further away and finally had some luck.
Each rescue facility has their own vetting process and application. They are serious about placing dogs with the right families for the best outcome and complete success, which makes total sense. When vetting on each end isn't done...there could be bad results for both family and dog. It's important for each party to ask thorough questions.
https://www.sweetpawsrescue.org - I have only heard WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT SWEET PAWS..but unfortunately, they didn't have any dogs available for adoption when we were looking
https://www.angelshelpinganimalsmv.org/ - We adopted Bonny from this rescue facility. The Director was very friendly and makes it her mission to find her pups homes. I did not ask enough questions, initally..but that's on me.
Many searches and applications later, I spotted a male dog that looked like he needed some much needed love and his location was about 90 minutes from our house. Although, I thought we found our next furry friend, as it turned, the Rescue Director said she didn't believe that specific dog would be a good candidate for us after all...as he still needed a lot of obedience training. So, the search continued. The Director reached out to me a few days later to tell me she received some new dogs from St. Thomas that were available for adoption-consideration, among them was a six-month old female she believed would fit in well with our family.
Look at that face! When she's not smelling and digging through the leaves, she's either sneaking a nap on the couch, or finding a sunny spot.
I only received a picture of Miss Bonny from the Director, but she promised she was a good girl who just needed a loving home. In my excitement and haste, I did not ask crucial questions and then showed the pic to my family members, who insisted this was THE DOG. I proceeded to agree to adopt Miss Bonny, so much for the vetting part. Bonny was not at the rescue facility 90 minutes away, but she was on Martha's Vineyard, which was a longer trip, not exactly easy, and included taking a ferry! My husband, Dave, being the awesome man he is, volunteered to go solo...God bless him! When he picked her up, he noticed immediately that she acted out towards other dogs and people...and not in a nice way. So, we definitely had a few red flags, and when he called me from the ferry to tell me, "the dog was a maniac on the boat," I was already second guessing my decision. No worries..this story does have a happy ending. While we hit a bit of a rocky road the first few weeks of her arrival, all is good now.
Dave at the ferry picking up our new dog. She was skinny! She's really healthy now.
When Bonny arrived, she bonded with our family immediately, but she really latched onto Dave. I joked about it saying, "She imprinted on him." She became scary territorial. The first few days in our home, I introduced her to our neighbors and their dogs, but she wasn't having it. She lunged at people and growled viciously with the neighborhood dogs. You can imagine how stressed out I became. All I wanted was a new pet to love, and now I was wondering if she was a mistake. I cried for seven days, lost five pounds, and thought daily, "Today could be your last day with us." After the rescue director talked me off the ledge, she advised we keep her community small, which meant no intros to new people and keeping her in the yard on a leash...no long neighborhood walks. After talking to different trainers, I have heard different philosophies but trusted the organization we adopted her from.
Bonny's first week was probably overwhelming. She went from living in a kill shelter on St. Thomas, to being transported to Martha's Vineyard, to finally finding her forever home. She would never have to fight for food, shelter, or love again.
My kids were furious with me for even considering returning her, but their safety and the neighbors safety were my priority. I decided we would give it two weeks, and thankfully, by the end of the second week, we did see some behavioral changes. After a few more conversations with the Director, I discovered (which was not disclosed initially) that she was actually in a kill shelter on St. Thomas. I can only imagine what her quality of life was like..living in a cage and only let out periodically..most likely having to fight for her food. My older son refers to her past life as, 'living in the gulag where she was fire-hosed.' Hence, this is why you ask thorough questions about your potential dog's past!!
This dog is receiving soooo much love. We can't get enough of her! She loves cuddle time!
What we realized is that our dog had probably had very little love and, more than likely, had to fight for her survival. She actually has the scars to prove that. It broke our hearts. With the decision to keep her, we enrolled her into a dog training school for some structure and obedience. There are a lot of dog training schools, and it's important to really research, ask friends, and look over reviews to make sure your pup is in the right place. She went to classes a few times a week for about a month, and it really did the trick. It helped with her separation anxiety, resource guarding, and she learned to play nicely with other dogs.
We used www.wolfpackcanine.com in Salem, NH for her training classes. I've also heard from neighbors that www.seacoastcanine.com is also great. #wolfpack #wolfpackcanine #seacoastcanine #dogtraining #dogobedience
Seacoast Canine has locations in Salisbury and Byfield, MA. They offer daytime group classes, and they pick up your dog in the morning and return your dog back to your home in the afternoon for only $35 daily.
Now, the whole crate training issue is a whole different story. She hated her crate for the first three months and cried for hours when we put her in it at bedtime. She would charge into the cage, moving it across the floor, and would bite the metal, bending it severely. She chewed up her cozy bedding, and she even bit and ripped through the nice crate-cover we bought to give her that whole 'den' feeling. She finally stopped crying at the four month mark, (thank God). I did some research online, and it made sense that she would hate her crate..especially if she was left in it for hours on end in the past. I put her food bowl in the crate at feedings so she would associate the crate with 'good things.' I also put treats in there throughout the day. She's always going into her crate now to smell around. I also give her a Qwizl stuffed with peanut butter and place that in her crate (door open). Only good things in there now!! She's also a big fan of bully sticks. The Rescue Director advised against rawhide and encouraged us to buy bully sticks. We've tried different brands, but the best, by far, is the Natural Farm brand.
This is what we woke up to the first three months of her being in our home. She hated her crate. The other pic is of Bonny after she was sick and on meds. Ryan volunteered to spend the night with her.
Bonny has been with us since early September 2020, and I can say she is finally adjusted. She trusts us and knows she has a houseful of people who love her. I still plan on enrolling her in classes here and there for training purposes. What I've learned is..she's a reward dog. She'll sit and give me her paw and listen a bit if a reward is being given. But..if there is no reward, she is very dominant and does not want to listen. I'm working on just a few important commands like, 'Stay, Drop it, and Come.' She's pretty stubborn, but I understand that deep down, she's always in survival mode. She is a cuddler though and loves crawling up on our laps. she's come a long way in a short time, and I know she's been through a lot. I have no doubt that with love, patience, and structure, she will adapt perfectly in her new home.