Monthly Archives: August 2012

Welcoming Misha to the Pack

After much coaxing from me—and some surprising advice from her doctor—my mom decided in June that, yes, she would seriously look at adopting a dog to keep her company. She decided then that she would adopt from The Animal Guardian Society (TAGS) because of its process, rather than from any other rescue. When adopting from TAGS, the prospective adopter gets to meet the dog, have the dog over for a home visit, and then “try the dog out” for a week before paying the adoption fee and signing the paperwork. That appealed to Mom since it has been so long since she’s had a dog and she wanted to be sure she was ready to do this again.

Princess is still hoping for a forever home after a hard, unhappy life in a puppy mill.

She met a couple of TAGS dogs, and one in particular appealed to her—Princess. Princess is a real sweetheart, and when meeting her, Mom thought she could be the one. She began the process with TAGS. At the home visit, Mom had second thoughts and ultimately decided to turn down Princess. Getting a dog was a big step for Mom, and a permanent one (as it should be for everyone!), so she had to be certain.

Her search for the perfect TAGS dog continued. And then one day, I saw a Facebook posting of an adorable five-year-old dog up for adoption through Loyal Rescue. Better yet, this Loyal dog had come to Canada via the Humane Society of Cozumel Island, just as Hogan had, plus she even looked somewhat like Hogan, curly tail, crazy hair, and all! I fell in love.

Misha’s adoption picture

Since I can’t have a fourth (according to our town’s bylaw) and since my mom was still looking, I pointed out Meche (pronounced “Mesh,” we learned) to my mom. She felt the same pull toward her as I had, and despite her adamant stance that she wouldn’t go through the lengthy adoption process without first meeting the dog, she filled out the Loyal application, went through a phone interview (while we were away on our vacation) and a home visit, and then waited to hear the news. (Like Rat Terrier Rescue Canada, through which we adopted Hogan, Loyal has a policy against the potential adopter meeting the dog until approved to adopt.)

She looks like a little lamb!

The day she got the email telling her that she had been approved to adopt Meche was like Christmas to Mom! (And to me!) However, she still had to wait nearly a week to meet Meche because her foster mom, Sharon, was away on vacation. That week felt terribly long, but Mom and I got together for a shopping trip at Petsmart halfway through the week to purchase all the necessities and then some—adorable little dog bowls; a leash, harness, collar, and seatbelt; a brush for that unruly hair; a bed; plenty of treats; toys; and so on—and to help make the week’s wait seem shorter.

Finally, on Monday, August 20, Mom and I drove to Stoney Creek to pick up Meche. A little voice in Mom’s head was trying to tell her she was first meeting Meche and then deciding whether or not to adopt her, while I well knew she wouldn’t be able to walk away—and if she could, I certainly wouldn’t, bylaw be damned!

As expected, it was love at first sight! Meche (now Misha) was just as adorable as her picture promised! She’s an excitable, bouncy, smart, happy eleven-pounder who has already won over the hearts of Mom, me, Wes, and all of Mom’s friends and neighbours.

So although we are still “Three-Dog Nights and Days,” there’s a special fourth in the mix that you can expect to hear plenty more about. Welcome to the pack, Misha! And congratulations on the new addition, Mom!

What Weekends Are For

We all know weekends are too short. This one was so good it felt especially short! We started it with a fun game of nosework on Friday evening after work:

(Dusty participated, too, but the video camera unfortunately died before his turn.)

On Saturday, I did my first full shift at Petsmart as a TAGS volunteer, but sadly, none of the four dogs who were scheduled showed up, so I didn’t get to hang out with dogs that afternoon.

Saturday evening we had friends over, and Dusty and Hogan played tug-of-war and wrestled for probably an hour. They were exhausted by the end of the night but still wanting to play at bedtime, though it was a little half-hearted:

Cora always wants to go for a swim!

Dusty, Hogan, you want to go for a swim?!










On Sunday morning, we packed up the dogs and a full Gulpy and took them to the lake. Cora, of course, swam, but Dusty and Hogan wanted away from the water as quickly as possible.

A quick drink of water before leaving the beach

After a walk along the beach, we strolled the waterfront trail (where I last sprained my ankle) and then ventured through the nearby neighbourhoods. They’re really beautiful. I have sworn that I want our current house to be our last house, but it’s hard not to be tempted by the proximity to the lake, the mature trees, and the active lifestyle seemingly characteristic of the people there. When we walk in our neighbourhood, we see few others walking or cycling or in-line skating—or outside at all—but the neighbourhoods by the lake were brimming with life and activity. We stopped at a little girl’s lemonade stand and imagined life there. It was enticing.

Once we got back home, I felt less inclined to move. The dogs are so content here. And we’re content here. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with a lake house yet.

The Dogs’ First Vacation

We decided that this summer, instead of flying somewhere for vacation, we’d rent a cottage and bring our mothers and Cora, Dusty, and Hogan for a weeklong getaway.

Seatbelted into the back of the car for an outing

The cottage was on Bob’s Lake near the town of Sharbot Lake, Ontario—about a three-hour drive from home. We chose the cottage in part because it had a beach area (rather than a dock) so that the dogs could easily walk into the water if they wanted to.

We had good weather for the first three days, but we ended the week with a lot of rain, so Cora didn’t get to swim as much as she’d have liked to. We’d also hoped to get the dogs out for a ride in the canoe, but that didn’t happen either. Nevertheless, they got to enjoy unfamiliar scents, meet some new dogs, visit different towns (Merrickville and Westport), and experience a change from routine.

Cora and Hogan walking along Main Street in Westport

We have come to the conclusion that while the dogs were happy to be with us, taking them out of the everyday is stressful for them. They loved being on walks and going for  rides in the car, and they were content enough napping on the cottage couch, but they all seemed a little on guard much of the time. All three dogs loved just hanging out on the deck, though, whether in sunshine or under clouds. Cora seemed most relaxed in the water, very much in contrast to how Hogan and Dusty felt even near the water. And Cora even barked once! This is only the fifth or sixth time we have heard her bark in all the time we’ve had her. She let out a low grrr before the rouf, and she did it twice. I think she had spotted a small animal in the woods next to the cottage. It was very exciting to see this show of courage and ease from her! Moments like that bring us such joy because it’s one more sign of Cora letting go of her anxieties and just being a dog.

Dusty looking worried (which is his natural expression).

All in all, the quality together time was wonderful, and the change in routine, although perhaps stressful, was, I believe, good for the dogs. Maybe next time we take them away, they’ll relax into vacation mode more readily.

Here’s a video montage of our week at Bob’s Lake: