It is about a six hour drive from Medina, OH to Oscoda, MI. Buddy spent five and one half of those hours sitting on the fold-down arm rest, pressed against me as tightly as he could. The other 30 minutes were spent laying on the seat with his front paws and head resting on my right thigh. Looking back on it, how sad that any pet is made to feel so insecure and unwanted that they would feel the need to seek love from a total stranger this way. Actually, I wasn't a total stranger. I had arrived in Medina the previous evening and had the opportunity to visit Buddy at his foster home. He and the resident Cairn, Max, were doing their usual rough housing and tug-of-war things. At first, Buddy was apprehensive about a new face in the house, but he quickly adjusted and was up on the couch getting petted within a short time.
Buddy, obviously, is our adopted Cairn. He is more accurately a Cairn mix, but mostly Cairn. He came from a physically and verbally abusive home and was rescued by the CPCRN people. At about the same time Buddy was being rescued, our pet of 14 years, Misty, was saying good-bye. Her health problems were insurmountable. Probably it was coinsidence, but it would be nice to think it was just meant to be; I called the phone number of the person fostering Buddy, went through the adoption process, and picked up our new pet all within a really short period of time. Probably we needed Buddy as much as he needed us.
What a treat! We had mentioned that we were looking for a dog that showed affection, and did we ever find one! We jokingly refer to him having "the face only a mother could love:" big brown eyes framed by one ear that can't stand fully up, and one lower incisor that slants outward a little too much. However, this guy is just as sharp as can be and full of love and affection. He still seeks out that reassuring touch from us all the time. His favorite position is laying on the floor next to the recliner so that I can reach down and pet him, or at least just rest my hand on him. He just loves it (so do I).
When we first got Buddy, there was some concern about his socialization skills both with people and with other dogs. It quickly became obvious that the people part wasn't going to be a problem. Nine strangers (to Buddy) were in the house at Christmas time. Nine strangers were all being kind and loving to Buddy. House guests are not a problem anymore. On a leash, Buddy likes to be able to smell and investigate you first, and then initiate the contact, rather than having you hover over him and reach out at him. Yet, he likes to meet new people and he likes the attention they give him. Buddy licks. That's how he lets you know he's around. He nudges you with his nose and gives your hand, knee, pantleg, whatever is at nose level, a quick lick. This seems to announce his presence and request some petting time.
We are still working (and will be for some time) on Buddy's socialization skills regarding other dogs he meets. It will be a long process, but some minor progress is being made.
Now, both of the humans in this house are college educated. So you would assume that with Buddy doing well, responding to commands, learning some simple commands (sit, stay, down, etc.), that we would be pretty happy and satisfied.
Rascal is a Cairn Terrier puppy, now 4 months old. We brought him home about two months ago. Buddy adjusted well and pretty quickly. We let the two of them spend time with us, free, in the living room in ever increasing increments. We began with about 5 minutes and we are now at unlimited.
To anyone who has one pet (as we did for all the years prior to 2002), two is definitely better. It has been the most enjoyable time ever watching Buddy teach Rascal how to be a dog: how to stretch out and sleep on the carpet; how to lift a leg; how to nibble grass along the walk route; how to investigate smells; how to play tug of war with toys. Little Rascal tags along after Buddy like a little brother, imitating all that he does. Rascal doesn't know what he is doing half the time, but does it anyhow because Buddy does it.
Buddy will sit with his head cocked to one side, ear flopped down, tooth sticking out, safely away from the latest devastation caused by Rascal and looking innocent: almost telling you with his eyes that he didn't do that awful thing. He knows that it was bad and that he tried to stop Rascal, but that misbehaving puppy just wouldn't listen to him.
While romping in the woods, Rascal comes from 15 - 20 yards behind, streaks past Buddy, and gives him a quick nip on the neck as he passes by. This happens at least 20 - 30 times each evening on our walk. Eventually, Buddy takes the bait and the chase is on. Buddy, being extremely strong, likes to run along side Rascal and stick his snout under Rascal to flip him over. Rascal likes to hightail it to a tree and hide behind it or under low hanging branches where he thinks he is safe from Buddy. Buddy then gives up the chase, heads back up the trail, Rascal again comes from behind, nips at Buddy, and away we go, all over again.
Both of our lives are enriched by having Buddy as a part of our family. His foster mom wouldn't even know him as the same dog, behavior-wise. While it's true we adopted Buddy and gave him a home, and we can never make up for the abuse he had to innocently suffer, it is the two of us humans that are the fortunate ones. We are receiving so much more from this relationship than Buddy. The folks at the CPCRN keep making these situations possible, and that's a gift to the animals and a blessing to the humans. Thank you to everyone involved, especially Michele.
Buddy has a family and he is home to stay. He will never again suffer abuse. Buddy is happy -- and probably ready for another doggy treat!