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Happy Tail: A Second Chance

Sometimes a dog's first adoption doesn't work out. But that doesn't mean giving up on the dog. 'Dogs are like people. We all deserve a second chance. In different situations we all react in our own way. So do the dogs. Some dogs will let another dog take their food. Other dogs it's just not happening. - PEG SCHAEFFER
Next earlier Happy Tail: Happy Tail: Kid's Best Friend

By Peg Schaeffer

In the early fall of 2009 I received a call from a woman who had found a dog with four puppies. She and her husband were driving in Tennessee and saw a skinny dog on the side of the road. They stopped and could see she was nursing puppies. They tried to follow her to her litter but she kept leading them away. Then they noticed a path in the grass. They followed the path and found four puppies that were approximately two or three weeks old. Once the Mom saw they had found her puppies she sat by them and looked at Paulette and her husband as if to ask them for help.

Paulette and her husband, Dennis, took the dog and her puppies home. They cared for the family for a few weeks, fed and played with them, and found homes for two of the puppies.

The puppies were about 10 weeks old when she called me. She was going into the hospital for surgery and her husband would have enough on his hands caring for her so she asked if I could find homes for them. She brought Mom and kids to the farm.

The mother "Sheba" was a beautiful fawn colored Pit Bull and the two pups, Liz and Buster, were gray and white with pushed in faces Liz was the prettiest marked puppy and was the first to be adopted. Then Buster was adopted. Sheba was eventually adopted by a family in Liberty.

Sheba had been gone for about a month when I received a call from Paulette, the former owner. She had received a call from her veterinarian. Sheba had a rabies tag with his number and someone called him who had found her. They gave him their number. I called the man who had adopted her to say she had been found and left message after message and he never returned my call. I then called the man who had found her. He said she was wandering in his neighborhood and often sat on the front lawn of the library.

So I drove to Liberty, met the person who had called, and drove through the neighborhood looking for Sheba. Sure enough, she was sitting on the front lawn of the library. I called to her once; she recognized me and jumped into the truck. So Sheba returned home and was overlooked again and again by potential adopters. It looked as if she was going to be a keeper. Then one day a man named Charlie Collins called about a Pit Bull we had named Neela. He had fallen in love with her photo and wanted to adopt her. He came to the farm to meet. Neela stayed just far enough away that he couldn't touch her. It was as if she knew he wanted to adopt her and she wasn't going. He was very patient trying to ply her but she wasn't falling for it. In the meantime Sheba sat by him. When he sat on the ground to get Neela's trust Sheba crawled into his lap and licked his face.

He came back the next day to work with Neela again. He told me that he was beginning to think he should adopt Sheba instead since she was trying so hard to get his attention. Again Neela ignored him and Sheba courted him. So he adopted Sheba and took her home. The two have become best of friends.

Not too long after Sheba was adopted the owners' of her puppy, Buster, called and said they couldn't keep him anymore. They had renamed him Zack and he was now three years old. They said they kept him tied on the back porch and that he had become very food aggressive. I wonder why.

It is our policy to take back any dogs that have been adopted from us no matter what the situation is. So Zack came home. He had turned out to be a massive dog with big jowls. He was quiet and well behaved until we fed him. Then if any dog came even close to him he would attack them. I worked with him and would make him sit while I would feed him dog treats. At first if a dog came within 20 feet he would attack. I would then discipline him and we would start again. It took months but I finally could get him to sit while I fed him treats. He would tremble and look at me when a dog came close but most of the time would sit and not go after the intruders.

I received a call about a Pit Bull we had named Lola. His name was Corey and he wanted to get a dog to keep his dog company while he was at work. He wanted a dog that could also come into the house when he was home. He came to the farm to meet Lola. I brought him into the kennel area and had him wait while I got her. While he was waiting Zack sat by his feet and let Corey pet him. Keith came out to talk to Corey and he asked Keith about Zack. Keith explained that we were afraid to adopt Zack out because he was so food aggressive and we were afraid it would be a problem.

I came out with Lola and she jumped on Corey, licked his hand, and ran off to play with the other dogs. She would come back, jump on him again, and then run off. He asked me about Zack. I told him how food aggressive he was and that we didn't suggest him to anyone. He decided he would adopt Lola and I went into the house to prepare the paperwork.

When I came out Corey asked again about Zack. He had been petting him while I was in the house. He said he liked Zack's well behaved demeanor and thought he'd like to try him. So I showed him exactly what would happen. I called Zack and had him sit. I gave him a treat and then one of the dogs ran into the kennel. Zack looked at me, looked at the dog and ran after him. But when I yelled "Zack - sit!" he promptly returned to my side and sat down. My months of training were paying off.

So Corey decided to adopt Zack and off they went together with Zack sitting on the front seat of his truck looking very proud and happy that he was getting a second chance. I've talked to Corey since and he said that Zack is working out fine. He has made friends with the Boxer and Corey just makes sure to separate them while they eat.

Dogs are like people. We all deserve a second chance. In different situations we all react in our own way. So do the dogs. Some dogs will let another dog take their food. Other dogs it's just not happening.

In Sheba's situation her owners apparently tired of her and she set out on her own to find another family. She had raised her puppies alone until Paulette and Dennis came along and then when abandoned by her first adopters decided she wasn't letting Charlie get away.

So don't feel that if you adopt a dog from a shelter or a rescue that they're a "problem". They're not. We all walk to the beat of a different drummer. That doesn't make us bad, it makes us special. And it takes a special person to figure that out. Just ask Sheba and Charlie and Zack and Corey. As a sideline: Since the episode of Sheba being abandoned, any dogs adopted from Sugarfoot Farm Rescue are microchipped before they leave. That way if they're lost they can be reunited with their owners but if they are abandoned they will be returned to us. We also offer microchips to owners who want protection for their pets if they are lost or stolen. Contact us and we can make arrangements.

Peg Schaeffer
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675

This story was posted on 2013-02-03 05:57:20
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