When my husband Rich and I lost our beloved ‘first born’ rescue dog “Sarah” due to complications after she had brain surgery to remove a large tumor, the pain was so great that I thought I could never adopt another dog again. It is probably hard for non-animal people to understand, but I compare the loss to the pain I felt when my father passed away. While it was not exactly the same, pain is pain. I view dogs as members of the family. And Sarah was our first baby.
Rich was affected in a very similar way when Sarah passed. But he really wanted to rescue another shelter dog. He did not push the subject with me though, at least not immediately anyway. He saw how much Sarah’s death affected me.
About three weeks after Sarah passed, Rich forwarded me a link from Petfinder.com. It was from Great Lakes Golden Retriever Rescue (GLGRR). The dog’s name was “Pebbles” and she instantly reminded us both of our dear Sarah. Rich admitted that he was nervous to send me the link, as he did not want to make me sad. But I was drawn to her immediately.
Pebbles was a strikingly beautiful red Golden Retriever. Her story simply said she was a bit of a ‘Velcro girl,’ who clung to humans. She sounded like a typical, sweet Golden! By the time Rich got home from work that day, he had already printed and filled out an adoption application, “just in case” I changed my mind. I was leery of jumping into adopting again so quickly, but Pebbles sounded like a perfect fit for us. We have only two guidelines when searching for a dog: 1) it must be a rescue and 2) it must not be a puppy. We want to help homeless adult dogs first and foremost.
So we quickly turned in our application to GLGRR. We then had a great phone interview with a wonderful volunteer named Moreen. She understood the healing power a new dog could have on people who recently loss a beloved dog. We instantly bonded.
Moreen told us the full story about Pebbles and how she came to GLGRR. Poor Pebbles had been with a not-so-responsible breeder. She had only two pups in her last litter and was no longer profitable to her breeder. This was likely due to the fact that she was also severely malnourished! We thought, ‘How could someone do that to a harmless creature?’
Someone came to see one of Pebbles’ pups and ended up asking about her instead. The breeder’s response was simply that the Good Samaritan could have her. According to the breeder, she was going to be taken to the pound anyway! So the Good Samaritan took Pebbles home and nursed her back to health. But sadly, that person fell on hard economic times had to surrender Pebbles to GLGRR. Needless to say, Pebbles had been through a lot in a short period of time. We knew we had to save her.
Rich and I prayed we would be approved to be Pebbles’ forever family. After talking to Pebbles’ foster family next, we very happily received the news that we could adopt her! It was a very smooth and easy process.
So that weekend, we drove two hours to pick up Pebbles. We were so excited! Immediately we saw that Pebbles was full of energy and seemed very happy, despite her circumstances. The first impression I got of her still stays in the forefront of my mind today: this was one fun-loving dog! As we attempted to greet her at her foster home, she scurried off to chase the house cat – by bolting from the family room to a bedroom – and then very quickly crawling under the bed in search of the cat! She immediately made us laugh. After she got bored with the cat, she ran over to us and plopped on the ground, ready for us to pet her!
Our car ride home was uneventful. Pebbles was very relaxed in our back seat, even falling asleep at one point. We knew we had found a gem and that she would adjust to her new home quickly! As I mentioned, we were told that because of her circumstances, Pebbles was very clingy. I work out of my home, so I knew Pebbles would feel comfortable having me around. I was also confident that with obedience training and a stable home, it would not take long for her to become more independent.
We were also told that Pebbles did not like crates. We were hopeful that we could try to crate her for the very short periods of time when we are not home – for her safety and for our piece of mind. Surprisingly, she feel asleep in her open crate the very first night we brought her home! It was a sure sign that she was instantly comfortable in our home. We were elated.
I was right about Pebbles becoming more independent and comfortable with us. She acclimated quickly. And she is so smart! She not only passed beginner obedience with flying colors, but also quickly passed Canine Good Citizen class AND advanced class! She is very eager to please.
Pebbles possesses so many cute qualities. She often sleeps on her back, hind legs spread in the air on her huge, almost mattress-sized bed that is placed at the foot of our bed. We no longer crate her at all and we often come home to find her lounging on the couch, happy as a clam. She loves her Kong toy…almost as much as her daily walks. And she even makes a purring sound when we pet her. She is happy and healthy and there is no more we could ask for! Pebbles is a perfect example of how a rescue dog can have a wonderful personality, but due to unfortunate circumstances, may end up homeless.
The best part of adopting a homeless dog is the mutual happiness created. Pebbles brings us as much happiness as we give to her. It is hard to describe how thankful we are to have this special rescue dog in our lives.