If you ask what I have been up to lately, I've likely given my stock answer of "busy."
But one of the non-work things that has been taking up a lot of my time is learning about the world of dog rescue (specifically keeshonds).
I stumbled upon a Facebook group on kees rescue when we were looking for a new dog. It's on that group that I found Wendy, who drove to Wisconsin in January to rescue Lacoya from an unscrupulous backyard breeder.
Wendy's landlord does not allow dogs, so as I became active in the group, we were allowed to adopt Coya (as she became called, to separate her from her old life). Since she's come to be with us, we have spayed her, gotten her chipped and vaccinated, and run a battery of tests to ensure she was healthy (it's not uncommon for rescued dogs to have a litany of issues, from fatal heart worm to broken bones to burns from the kennel headlamps to various parasites).
When Coya came to us, I began to learn a lot more about the community, and I am ever-impressed:
- by the people who drive hundreds of miles to rescue dogs from breeders and other bad situations
- by others who foster the dogs, find foster homes, place the dogs, and provide transport in between
- by those who take on thousands of dollars in vet costs to help those dogs get better
- by those who understand all these costs and find innovative ways to raise money to help with the myriad costs
- by advocates who lead the charge to get these puppy mills shut down, to keep people from putting their dogs on CraigsList and instead find more trustworthy homes, to close down false dog "charities" that are not in truth raising money for the cause, and who work to raise awareness daily
The breeder stories are beyond horrible, and I can't find the strength to go into it right now. For someone like me, who had always naively supposed that people bred dogs only because they love them (and truth be told, those kind of greta breeders are the only ones I had previously met), it was a real wake-up call.
Tonight we had a really special moment. For a dog who has been through what she has, Coya has bonded with us incredibly well. We wanted to get her some more socialization, though, and some obedience training. As a spayed dog, though purebred she is show-ineligible, but we may rally-train her in the future.
I had been looking around for classes, and met a wonderful woman at a neighborhood gathering who specializes in rescue dogs. Today we brought Coya in for a free consultation, and knew right away that Cheryl was the person to work with. She easily understood Coya's personality and issues, and taught us so much about training her in just an introductory hour (plus Coya got to play with another dog there, which was wonderful to see). It's a whole new insight into our dog, and I am looking forward to our classes there.
It's going to be a long road with Coya, but an incredibly rewarding one. I can't imagine doing it any other way. And for the people she has led me to, those who perform heroic deeds every day just because it's the right thing to do for these dogs, I am forever grateful.