October is Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month and I've invited some of my fellow ChicagoNow bloggers to share their adoption stories. Today, Annemaie Verweij of Dutch Alien Lands in the U.S. tells the story of her three rescue dogs.
by Annemarie Verweij
When we moved here from the Netherlands, we took our two rescue dogs with us on the airplane. While my husband’s company didn’t pay for them we just couldn’t leave them behind. We had our doubts about our Husky Nana, who had been sick before and seemed to get very old and perhaps sick again. We were afraid she would die on the plane.
Before we left, I asked around if anyone knew a good place for a 10 year old, crazy Husky. Since nobody knew a good spot and we really didn’t want her to go back to a shelter again, we took her with us. Before we had her, she had been brought back to a shelter 4 times already. The last family said that it was because they had no money to take care of her, but after a few weeks we knew that wasn’t the reason. Nana was a very strange, but sweet dog.
She was phantom pregnant a few times and her behavior was even stranger then. She would go out in the garden, dig a hole and lie there for a few days. We just couldn’t get her in. She was very instinctive, very close to nature. She looked like a wolf and behaved like that as well.
I have never been afraid she would hurt our children or us, but she wasn’t an easy dog. I have been doubting if I wanted to keep her a few times. All the phantom pregnancies were very bad for her, she had nipple cancer. I was petting her and felt a strange bulb.
We immediately took her to the vet and she had surgery. They took of some nipples and her uterus and ovaries. After that she seemed a different dog! She didn’t have any phantom pregnancies anymore and became a playfull, very sweet dog.
Just after her surgery, we got our second rescue dog. He came from Crete, Greece. On Crete stray dogs simply get killed, just before the tourists arrive for the summer. He lived on the streets there and volunteers from the shelter of Gouves found him and his brothers and sisters. They kept an eye on them, but when they came back the next day, Koukia escaped.
He was the smallest of the three of them and they were afraid he died. The day after that, he still wasn’t there, so we picked his sister. Until he came back again. They asked us who we wanted, and we wanted Koukia, the survivor! He arrived at the airport of Bruxelles, flying with a volunteer.
We picked him up there and immediately fell in love with him. The shelter took good care of him, he was vaccinated, chipped and had had a health examination. We couldn’t have picked any better. When he was a puppy, he was a handful, but now at the age of 3 he is such a great dog! He is very muscled and very strong and the only weird characteristic is that he keeps chasing rabbits and squirrels when I walk him.
Nana and Koukia immediately got along. Sometimes Nana had enough of all his energy, but then she would let him know.
On the day we arrived at O’Hare, we got off the airplane, had to get through customs (that took a long time) and then we were waiting for the suitcases and the dogs. The suitcases were there very quickly, but no sign of the dogs. We were very worried, we thought Nana died.
A carrier helped us locate the dogs, but he couldn’t find them either. Suddenly they were just standing in the middle of the hallway. The kids saw them first. We ran up to them and they were both alive and kicking!
Nana lived for 4 months in the States and then she got very sick. We went to the vet and she told us she couldn’t do anything for her, she was too old, too sick and probably had cancer again. She thought she couldn’t survive surgery and so we choose to let her go. That was a tough decision.
Koukia felt very alone when Nana was gone, but I didn’t want another dog. My husband and kids did. They kept showing me pictures of cute dogs and in July I gave in. We went looking around in shelters nearby. Koukia wasn’t neutered, so we had to take care of that first.
My conditions were: No puppy and it should be small, so I could walk it easily. At A.D.O.P.T., we took place in a room and a behavioral expert looked how the dogs responded to our family. And of course a very cute, small puppy responded the best to our children. We had to think about it for a few days first and then I gave in, again.
This shelter definitely is a very good one, I would recommend it! It took a long time before Noodles was housetrained and I really have been doubting the decision of choosing a puppy. She is almost 1.5 years old now and the sweetest and cutest dog we ever had. I never thought I could love such a tiny dog so much!
As you could read above, we never even thought of getting a special breed or anything. We never went to a breeder, simply because we had no preference for a special breed.
We thought about all the sad dogs that were living on the streets or in the shelters and just couldn’t pick a special bred dog over them. And well, it probably took us longer to housetrain them and it’s more uncertain what the characteristics of your dog are, but I would do it all over again!
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