Tag: Don Reeve

The tale of a rescue dog.

We rarely get to know what a rescue dog has been through.

Of the ten dogs that we have here at home, two are pedigree dogs purchased from breeders, that’s Pharaoh and Cleo, two are rescue dogs that came from known sources, Oliver from neighbours who couldn’t cope with him and Pedy from the local Merlin dog pound, and the rest are all ex-rescue dogs that Jean took from the streets of San Carlos, Mexico.

The last rescue dog to be taken in by Jean before we both left Mexico was Hazel who was abandoned outside Jean’s house in San Carlos a few weeks before we left for Arizona. The picture below is of Hazel taken in March 2014.

Hazel is the most loving and adorable of dogs and the love that I feel coming from her towards me is real, tangible and precious. Yet this is a mother dog who very shortly before she was deposited in front of Jean’s house in Mexico had had all her puppies removed from her as Hazel was still in milk. (The poor in San Carlos frequently sell young puppies for a few Pesos.) It’s beyond the comprehension of us humans, especially women, to imagine what it must be like for a mother to so catastrophically lose her young babies.

That’s why a recent article over on Mother Nature Network really reached out to me. We never know what homeless dogs have to contend with before they find loving homes.

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Why our Great Dane is so scared to be alone

Most of us will never know what our rescue dogs have been through. We found out.

By: Ali Berman, August 12, 2015

Author Ali Berman discovered she had a new shadow when she met Cooper. (Photo: Ali Berman)

In February 2015, David and Glenda Berman — that’s my mom and dad — drove from New York to Connecticut to meet Cooper, a 13-month-old Great Dane. When they were introduced, 100-pound Cooper rushed over to give them an enthusiastic greeting, burying his head in their legs, leaning on them, and asking to be petted. My mom and dad fell in love, and Cooper took the two-hour drive back to their house, the place that would become his forever home.

During those first few weeks, my parents got to know Cooper. They went for walks in the snow, played together, and snuggled. (He’s a major snuggler.) But, in addition to those normal doggy behaviors, they noticed something else. Cooper was reluctant to leave their sides. If they left the room, he went with them. He took trip after trip to the kitchen, to the bathroom, to the laundry room. When they moved, he moved.

I didn’t believe the extent of it until I got the chance to meet him myself. I traveled back to New York to visit my family in May. For me and Coop, it was love at first sight. We played, we ran, we cuddled, and by the end of the first day, I found myself with a 115-pound shadow. As soon as I showed any sign of movement, his head perked up and he was ready to follow me. In the morning when he opened his eyes, he went directly to my room to wake me up. When I napped in the afternoon, he came with me, opting to sleep right next to the bed. And when I went out to dine with a friend, my parents distracted him so he wouldn’t see that I was leaving.

Now, when a small dog follows you everywhere, it’s not a big deal. But when a Great Dane follows you around, it’s not stealthy. Seeing how much he craved to be near people, I welcomed him wherever I went — even the bathroom. Still, I wondered: Why was he so reluctant to be alone? Did he not believe we’d come back?

If there's a hug going on, Cooper wants to be a part of it. (Photo: Ali Berman)
If there’s a hug going on, Cooper wants to be a part of it. (Photo: Ali Berman)

Thinking we knew the full story behind his upbringing, we all wrote it off as him being a little insecure. In just over a year he had experienced four different homes. After he left the breeder (his first home), Cooper went to live with a young woman who loved him very much. Unfortunately, they learned that while Cooper enjoys meeting other dogs on his walks, he has trouble living with other dogs. He got into fights with another pooch in the house and with great difficulty, the young woman sent Cooper to live with her uncle. As he also had animals at home, the problem repeated itself.

Cooper needed to live with a one-dog family. The uncle — who could easily have sold purebred Cooper for a handsome sum — instead decided to put him up for adoption to find the best family possible. My parents had been looking for a Great Dane to adopt, so they sent their references, along with pictures with their previous Great Dane who had died two years before, and a heartfelt message. They were chosen to be Cooper’s new and final family.

Because Cooper was loved and well treated in all of his homes, my parents thought the insecurity came from the many moves.

But that wasn’t the full story. Not even close.

In an email from the woman who originally took Cooper in, my mother learned the truth. Cooper had been born with the rest of his litter in the home of an Iowa breeder. One night, when the breeders were out bowling, their home caught on fire. Everything went up in flames. Cooper’s mother and siblings all tragically perished. Baby Cooper was found alone in the debris in the yard. In just one night, he had lost his entire family, suffering more trauma in an instant than most experience in a lifetime.

After the fire, the breeders had to rebuild their lives, so they put Cooper up for adoption. That’s when he started to move from house to house, finally finding his perfect match with my parents. Now, he starts out every day with a multi-mile walk, a nap in the office while my dad works, and then Cooper spends an hour or two playing with his friends in the dog park in the afternoon. If he’s not snoozing or walking, he’s out in the garden with my mom soaking up the sun.

Some serious trauma as a puppy made Cooper never want to be alone. (Photo: Ali Berman)
Some serious trauma as a puppy made Cooper never want to be alone. (Photo: Ali Berman)

Just part of the story

When we rescue an animal, most of the time we never get to know their complete history. Why do some cry when their humans leave the house? Or some bark and growl at men who wear hats? Like people, animals remember the various difficulties and tragedies they have suffered. Those scars go through life with them, just like our own scars follow us. The only difference is they can’t tell us their fears, and we can’t explain to them that they are safe. The best we can do is show them they are loved and hope with enough repetition, they’ll get the message.

In an ideal world, every dog would only have good memories. Their first Frisbee catch or trip to the beach, their favorite person who knows how to pet the ears just right, and the safety of a single home where they will live their life right through to ripe old age. That’s not the case for every dog. Some need a little extra help from us as they learn to trust, move on from the past and accept that their new reality is the one they can count on.

With time, Cooper might just learn to keep snoozing while his mom or dad goes to get a cup of tea. Until then, we’ll all keep showing him that he’s loved, and that this home and this family are forever.

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When one thinks of how dogs, Cooper, Hazel and tens of thousands of others, so beautifully offer their unlimited love to us humans it is just a great shame that we humans haven’t emulated our beloved dogs across mankind in such a widespread manner.

Picture taken by our guest Don Reeve of Hazel (and me) Wednesday afternoon.
Picture taken by our guest Don Reeve of Hazel (and me) Wednesday afternoon.

Gorgeous Hazel. Who would have thought from that smiling face of hers that she had ever suffered the catastrophic loss of her puppies that she had.

 

Suzann’s Dog Spot – Number One: Diamonte

Finding homes for wonderful dogs.

I’m delighted to announce a new feature for Learning from Dogs, a feature that will be close to many of your hearts; of that there is no doubt.

The background.

Those who have been long-term readers of this place will have been aware that Jean and I first met in San Carlos, Mexico in December, 2007. The result of a very generous invitation from Suzann and Don Reeve for me to spend Christmas with them. Suzann being the sister of Californian, Dan Gomez, whom I have regarded as a close friend for over 35 years. I have known Suzann and Don for nearly the same time.

Suzann and Jean, Mexico, December, 2007.
Suzann and Jean, Mexico, December, 2007.

Anyway, long before I came on the scene, Suzann and Jean had been working together caring for the countless feral street dogs that roam so many Mexican streets. In many cases that caring included finding new, loving homes for them in the USA. When Jean and I moved away from San Carlos in 2010, eventually ending up here in Southern Oregon almost 2 years ago, Suzann didn’t hesitate to continue caring for these Mexican dogs and, wherever possible, finding new homes for them.

Thus came the idea of promoting a wonderful dog ready for a new home here on Learning from Dogs. Who knows, maybe a reader somewhere may know of a family or a person looking for a dog and as a recent post highlighted, rescued dogs are life-savers.

Suzann caring for a feral Mexican street dog.
Suzann caring for a feral Mexican street dog.

Thus starting today I will be promoting a particular dog that Su has sent me the details of and, hopefully, we can keep promoting a new dog every two weeks or so.

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Diamonte

by Suzann Reeve

Diamonte
Diamonte

Each day I travel to La Manga, a part of San Carlos, Mexico, to feed at least a dozen dogs, frequently more; plus two old men every day! I need to stop off at the market several times a week for food for both species!

One day, about five weeks ago, I happened to see a Mommy dog and her teenaged pup in the middle of the road. I got out of my car and called them over, hoping they would get clear of the flow of traffic. Thankfully that happened and they quickly came close to take advantage of a bowl of food and some water that I put in front of them. It was wonderful to see the mother move away so her pup could eat first.

A few days later I returned and was delighted to see the mother and puppy again. Once more I put down food and water and, again, the mother dog held back to let her puppy feed before her.

Several days later, yes, you guessed it! Once more I put out food and water, although this time I never actually saw Momma dog eat.

A further two weeks went by before I saw them both. But this time, Momma dog was not well. She crept over to lay under a car while her daughter ate the food I put out. Then a few days after noticing the unwell mother dog, I returned and knew there was a problem. There was a message I was picking up from the mother dog. She seemed to be saying to me that she wanted me to take her puppy. So I did.

I picked up the young puppy and put her in my car. As I did so, Momma dog slowly lifted herself up, went over to my car, sniffed one door and then went around to the other side and sniffed that other door. She then looked at me as if to say thank you.

Momma dog then wandered off and lay down in the shade on the other side of the door, never eating a thing. She watched me drive out of the parking lot and I have never seen her there again.

Who could resist such a lovely open, happy face! Please find a home for Diamonte.
Who could resist such a lovely open, happy face! Please find a home for Diamonte.

Diamonte is a happy, bouncy little girl, presently at about 30 lbs and my guess is that she will be around 40lbs at full growth. She is a very sweet dog, always wanting to please and I regard her as a sunny and bright little girl. Diamonte is as cute as a button, with a dash of freckles over her nose. She is a quick learner and would be a lovely pet for a family or an active single person or couple.

She will receive her 2nd puppy vaccination on the 20th August and hopefully before then she will be spayed.

Note from Su:

With any dog that is ready for a new home, I always try to get the dog spayed or neutered here in San Carlos together with any necessary vaccinations.

Regarding getting the dog to you, the new owner, there are a few regular people who drive to AZ that could hook up with you or with someone who could take it on another leg in it’s journey.

There are some pilots who also fly dogs from point A to point B as well as people who would transport a dog by car in a similar manner. It all depends on networking, trying to find the right person at the right time, activities that must be done by the rescuer as well as the adopter. In other words, a joint effort to try to find a way to get the dog to you. It can be done with people who are tenacious.

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If Diamonte pulls at your heartstrings or you know of someone who may feel likewise, leave a short response to this post and I will put you in direct contact with Suzann. Thank you.

Oh, just to help those heartstrings along, here’s a repeat of a picture from last Sunday.

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