|Barked: Thu Feb 28, '13 1:56pm PST |
|I was looking on Petfinder for a dog to adopt while I was going to school in New Orleans. Saw an awesome looking dog named Ratchet on the site, so I went down to the SPCA to look at him. Couldn't find him in the kennels, so I asked at the desk and they said that dog had been adopted. Looked around some more, but nothing stuck out at me so I went home. A couple weeks later I decided to try again. There were a couple Lab puppies, but they were on hold for people who were getting home checks.
Finally I noticed a rambunctious, older puppy labeled as a Chow mix. Asked if the tag was correct, because he didn't look like any Chow I'd ever seen, and was told it probably wasn't. Had him taken out into the yard to meet him, and he was totally nuts. Running all over, jumping repeatedly on the woman who was helping us, too excited to pay attention to any one thing for more than a few seconds.
Not sure to this day why I said I'd take him. They chipped him while I was filling out the paperwork and paying. As they brought him out on a lead, I foolishly crouched down to greet him. He jumped on me, as was his usual M.O., and I got a faceful of dog nails that left me bleeding. Everyone froze, clearly afraid I would change my mind, but I was already committed to making this dog work, especially because it had been my stupid mistake.
Turned out that commitment would make the difference, because he was not an easy dog, especially for someone who knew next to nothing about dog training. According to his paperwork, he'd been in the shelter since at least 8 weeks, because that's when they neutered him, and he was about 7 months when I got him. Aside from his non-stop jumping, he wasn't fully housetrained, growled and snapped at any discipline, even something as simple as a "no" (and I didn't know any other way to train), was food aggressive, and of course pulled constantly on lead. Tons of energy, no manners, seemed liable to bite- he was really more than I was equipped to handle.
We went to an obedience class recommended to everyone who adopted from the shelter, exercised religiously, worked on the jumping, and gave it some time. Most of his behavioral issues smoothed out after a few months, but until then, I wasn't always sure I hadn't made a mistake. He stayed very high energy until about three years old, but I found more effective ways of exercising him to cope. Helped a lot when we finally got to the point where he could be off lead for hikes. He's more mellow now, but still very athletic.
He's never really been my dog, he's a people dog that loves everyone. I know when I move out, he'll stay and live with my parents, who are both very fond of him. He's completely turned my mother on to the idea of adoption. Honestly, if I were to adopt again, he's probably not the dog I would choose. So I guess he was never really the right dog for me, but I don't regret adopting him because he has the forever home he deserves now.
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