On Monday, June 20th, Kelly and I finished the adoption process for Cordon Bleu through Aussie Rescue. I never knew adopting a dog had so much paperwork. We agreed to many things, including that we would never give Cordon Bleu, known as Blue to his friends and family, away to anyone, that we would never shave him (No way would I ever do that anyway. I’d sooner shave my hair and beard.), never to let Blue ride in the back of a pickup (Again, something I would never do.), always keep him on a leash outside unless in a fenced backyard for 12 weeks (A good policy even for after that period.), etc. We underwent a written online survey and a home inspection, as well as meeting Blue before we could adopt. I haven’t felt so “under the microscope” since we applied to move to the Isle of Man, maybe even more so. Am I complaining? Absolutely not. NorCal Aussie Rescue (click here) and Kim, who runs the operation in the area, want to make sure that the dogs she rescues aren’t sent to someone who will not take good care of them. There is even a 30-day full refund period after adoption. Considering some idiot abandoned Blue, I am in full agreement with a process to prevent that ever happening again.
If you’ve been a reader of my blog, three years ago I wrote about the loss of my companion and family dog, Jilly, an Australian shepherd. (click here to read) I was devastated. After almost three years, I yearned to have the “friendly presence” of a dog in the house again. Although I like the long-haired “working dogs’ like Aussies, I was afraid that I would always be reminded of Jilly and expect the next one to be a clone of her, so I checked out rescue border collies. I filled out the application and kept a watch on the adoptable dogs. Since I was looking for a dog no more than four years old and not too hyper, it limited my choices. One great thing about rescue sites is you get a bio on each dog, letting you know age and personality, with a photo. There was one dog that seemed ideal, but when I emailed the site there were eight others ahead of me in line! Then, in January of this year, I checked NorCal Aussie Rescue. At the rescue site, I saw Condon Bleu , who sounded good. Then I read that he was “reactive with strangers” and wasn’t ready for adoption. There was another Aussie, Rocco, who seemed a possibility. I filled out the application and Kim, the person who had told me about Jilly being kept in Woodland’s animal shelter in 2004, responded. She brought Rocco, who was called Rocky, out while she inspected our place.
Let’s just say that at 70-plus lbs. and tall for an Aussie, Rocky was in the heavyweight class, as well as quick on his feet . . . er, paws. He also put his paws on our marble table and on the grand piano (fortunately covered). It wasn’t that he was a “bad dog,” just large and a bit rambunctious for our life style, never stopping his roaming around the house. Still, I felt that familiar tug at my heart when Rocky was in the ring . . . er, living room. I felt he could be trained. After Kim and Rocky left, Kelly and I were discussing Rocky when we got a call from Kim. She didn’t feel Rocky was a good match for us. She takes her duties very seriously and did not want Rocky going to a home where there would be problems in the relationship. Still, it was disappointing and we felt that the problems were more with us. “We flunked,” Kelly said.
I would go on the the rescue websites periodically to check for new recruits, but no joy. Days went into weeks and weeks into months. Then I noticed that Cordon Bleu’s bio had been updated. He was doing very well with people and dogs and was ready for adoption. Well, he had problems with chickens and cats, but we have no cats and only eat chickens we get normally from Costco, so that would not be an issue. I contacted Kim again and she brought Cordon Bleu (who I will henceforth call Blue, since the French word sounds too much like “blah”) out to see how he would do with us. She told us that he was very attached to her, sticking close to her all the time, and was not sure he would do well with a man. When she got here, we took him out into our fenced yard and played a little ball with him, then went inside and sat in the living room. Blue came over to visit me at my chair and I rubbed his spine. We seemed to get along.
After Kim left with Blue, I wasn’t sure if we’d made the grade. After a day of no word, I was concerned. Once I’d met Blue, I really wanted him to join our home. Hesitantly, I emailed Kim and asked her what was the next step, fearing that there would not be one. She said we needed to have three days in a row when we would not leave Blue alone and that it would have to be after she took Blue to the vet again. Kelly and I were meeting our daughter and son-in-law for lunch on Father’s Day, but it looked like late afternoon of that Sunday would work. I was like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Due to misunderstanding on telephoning procedures, it ended up that Blue could not come to his new home until the next day. I’m way too old to feel like the kid who Santa missed, but I did.
Kim brought Blue to his new home on Monday. We went through all the signing, agreements and info on caring for Blue. I’ve done some real estate deals and they do take more paperwork, but so does dog adoption. Especially the part where you slice your palm and drip blood on the contract to seal the deal. Just kidding. I think. Anyway, Kim trusted us and left Blue with us.
He was anxious for several hours after she left, pacing the house, but calmed by the evening and was even sleeping on his back behind my chair. When we put him in the crate last night, he would whimper a bit, but stopped when I said “no.” I walked out of the room to do a quick email and he whined, even though Kelly was there. One time he banged on the crate door and I took him out to see if he needed to wet, but he just wanted to stay up and play. After about a half an hour, he was fine and slept through the night. It’s sort of like a kid who has his first night at camp and misses home. He never whimpered in his crate again. In a couple of months, we hope to have him sleeping on his own bed. I may have to put it right next to my side of the bed.
Blue and I went for our walk at 5:40 a.m. the next morning along the Nevada Irrigation District canal (that I call the ditch) and he loved it. It is a dirt trail that is right along the running water, with lots of trees. There was no one on the trail, so we had a great time. Jilly used to wet one or two times on the walk, but he marked our trail about thirty times! I wondered how big his bladder was. At least he did his part against the drought. We have gone every morning since and he has been fine with the few people and animals we have met. Well, except for the doe and fawn on the trail in front of us one time. He really wanted to prove he could run them down. We serve him Taste of the Wild dog food, so maybe he wanted a real taste of the wild. When I went home afterwards I may have found out why he had so much energy. I found the empty container for some cookies that had been on the kitchen counter. He must have grabbed it while I was in the bathroom before we left for our walk. He was on a sugar high. Our walk has lengthened from about 2 mi. to 3.7 mi. (per the Mapmywalk app on my phone). Blue seemed tired and slowed a lot the first day, but no longer. I bet he could got 10 mi. now, but I don’t know that I could. There is saying that a fat dog is the sign of an out–of-shape owner. As lean and strong as Blue is, I only wish I were in commensurate condition.
It’s been about three weeks since Blue joined the family. He tries to stay beside me all the time. Whenever I leave a room, he follows right behind me. I call him the strong, silent type because he’s not a barker, but sometimes he does whine a bit whenever I leave. I also call him my bud, Ol’ Blue Eyes, True Blue and Blue Dog, but I like nicknames. He’s only about 8 months old at most and I’m happy with that because I am very attached to him already. I want him with me a long time. Young age and a good disposition were the two key requirements for choosing a dog, but if I’d made a long list of wants, he’d have fulfilled about every one of them. He is one great dog.
There is a moral to this message: rescue a dog. The dogs deserve better than they have been treated. Dogs have given their lives in the military, will sacrifice themselves to save their masters from harm, and give unswerving devotion to the humans that own them, yet far too often are given only cruelty and abuse in return. There are too many of our four-legged friends that have suffered by the hands of humans and we owe it to them to reach out to them. Dog rescue services try to right some of these wrongs. The people who run the rescue operations are some of the most dedicated, unselfish people you will meet. If you prefer, go to an animal shelter and save one of those poor, neglected dogs. A quick Google search will locate the rescue operation or animal shelter in your area. So, rather than buying from a breeder or “puppy mill,” rescue a dog in need. I close with a quote from John Galsworthy that speaks to me. “The family dog – the only four-footer with rudiments of altruism and a sense of God.”