From the Series: Life on Dog Hill
Okay, so there isn’t a shocking study, but I guarantee that a pack or two of DOGS will keep you happier and healthier! Dogs bring such joy to most people. They are infectiously lovable; each has a unique personality, and they are forever forgiving. In a perfect world, every dog would have a home, and every home would have a dog… or four! When people are happier and more active, they feel better. What a great way to keep the doctor away!
In the Dog Hill household, we have four dogs. For many years we had five, but as the kids get older and move on, hubby and I have decided to downsize. Here on the Hill, however, the dogs have three acres fenced in for safe roaming. They chase squirrels and the deer brave enough to jump the fence. Not too long ago, they treed a possum.
In the ten years we’ve lived here, we’ve had 12 dogs — all but two have been shelter dogs (hubby’s picks). Honestly, I love rescues best of all. They all have stories but that doesn’t take away from their awesomeness. Here are a few Dog Hill reels…
Hunter was my first rescue. A big ‘ole hound mix, he had been taken away from his person because he was left tied to the front porch with no food or water. When I got him he was skin and bones, had heart worms, and was phobic about everything. He was afraid to eat out of stainless steel bowls. He was afraid of the vacuum, and broom, and mop, and storms. He was afraid of people he didn’t know. And other dogs. It took quite a while and a LOT of love to convince him that I was only going to love him. When he died unexpectedly after a surgical procedure, our family was devastated. In Hunter’s honor, we decided to bring more rescues to Dog Hill, and thus began a wonderful tradition.
Pandy was a big-boned country Samoyed-Collie mix from West Virginia. Her person was elderly and had to go to a nursing home. Sadly, no one in the family wanted Pandy so she was taken in by a Samoyed rescue group, and that’s how she ended up on Dog Hill. She was my garden buddy, always following me around wherever I went. Pandy was so loyal and obedient that I knew I wanted to rescue collies next.
I connected with the Collie Rescue of the Carolinas and adopted two amazing dogs. Sandy belonged to a breeder and produced seven litters in six years. After the last litter the vet said she couldn’t have more puppies, so the breeder handed her over to rescue. That happens a lot. Toby was high strung and nervous. It took a lot of forced bear hugs and sweet talk until he began to relax. Toby is now my #1, stepping into Sandy’s top dog spot after she passed away a couple of years ago.
Then there’s Jake, who came from the local Independent Rescue. He has an infamous “lightening scar” down his side. He waited in rescue for more than two years before he finally found his forever home. He looks a little ferocious and I have to admit I was a little concerned too. But trust me when I say there couldn’t be a more gentle dog than Jake. The only thing you need to worry about is him kicking you out of your bed — literally!
I’ll never forget Sadie… the old lady Samoyed whose people moved and left her behind. A North Carolina Samoyed rescue picked her up after neighbors called the shelter to report she’d been hanging around for days after being abandoned. That breaks my heart just thinking about it. Sadie also had heart worms, and the vet said she was so old that he didn’t know if she would live through the treatment. We treated her anyway and she lived for almost two years. The only time Sadie was happy was when she was around the kids. She would literally smile! That convinced me that she had come from a family with children. She had probably watched them grow up into teenagers before they disappeared from her life.
Chippy, the miniature pincher was our last rescue, if you don’t count fosters who come and go quickly. Chippy was only ten weeks old when he came to us after having his front leg amputated at the shoulder when he was only nine weeks old. It seems that his people didn’t want a three-legged dog! He’s a great dog and runs fast enough to catch squirrels. Yeah, buddy, he’s smoking! Don’t need four legs after all!
Like people, every dog has a story. And, in the rescue world, many of them are sad. But that doesn’t take away from the love that a dog will give — if anything, I find my rescues the most affectionate of all. It’s as if they know how it could have ended.
Since October is Rescue a Shelter Dog Month, please consider helping. If you can’t adopt, there are many other ways to make a difference. This great Petfinder article gives you a list of ten different ways you can help — simple stuff like using your social media space to spread the word or volunteering to walk dogs at your local shelter.
The dogs will love you no matter what you do, and so will your doctor!
I hope you enjoy this video I made a few years ago. Jake is MIA because he was still in bed with my teenage son. In this video you’ll meet Sandy, Toby, Blizzard, and Chippy! Can you tell how much I love my dogs?!