She used to be Someone’s dog. Now, I realize most dogs were someone’s. Most adult dogs, even those that end up in shelters, at one time in their lives had someone who fed them and called them theirs. But she was really Someone’s dog.
She knows things. Not just basic things like walking on a leash and sit and down and come, but the everyday things that turn a dog from a pet into a member of the family; conversational things, like “move over” and “wait a minute” and “back up.” She knows her name, even though I don›t, and gives me strange looks when I call “Daisy” repeatedly and she realizes I›m talking to her. “Good girl” is one she’s very familiar with, and her tail wags happily when I say it.
She knows about going for rides. When I open the back of my SUV, she walks up to it, jumps her front paws onto the bumper and waits for a butt boost. She understands baths, and while they don’t thrill her, she doesn’t fight them, and waits to “shake off” until most of the toweling is done.
She gets crates. She understands “in” and grudgingly walks into the crate and lies down resignedly once she’s there. She knows that a polite “woof” gradually increasing in intensity expresses her desire to be removed from the crate, and that when a person yells “Quiet!” she needs to stop yapping.
She understands houses and the people that live in them. She knows that refrigerators hold yummy treats. When she walked into my kitchen for the first time, she walked over to the fridge, looked at it, and then back at me, clearly asking me to open it and find something yummy for her. The first time she heard a pretzel bag rattle she went to my hubby and stood looking at him, expecting to be given a bite. Someone›s taught her about sharing snacks.
She knows how to share a bed. When I brought her into the extra bedroom to sleep in the whelping box, I awakened at 3 a.m. unable to breathe, because a large yellow dog had crawled onto the top of me. She lay there, wagging hopefully, until I patted the bed beside me. Then she happily clambered over the top of me, managing to step on each of my tender areas with at least two feet, as all experienced bed dogs do, and stretched out beside me. She understood she couldn’t curl up, as that would have made it too crowded, so she laid full out, her head next to my pillow, with a paw happily resting on my shoulder. When I got up and came back to find her encroaching in my space, a simple “scooch over” did the trick. It’s not the first time she’s shared a bed with someone.
She lays her head on my knee, and stares up at me with sweet, trusting eyes. When I stop patting her, she nudges me with her nose, encouraging me to pet her some more. She knows she is safe here. She knows I care about her. But, she also knows that her Someone is out there somewhere, and she’s not sure why she’s not with them.
She’s been Someone’s buddy. So where is that person now? And where has that person been? Where was Someone when the flies bit the creases of her ears so badly that they no longer grow hair? Where was Someone when she was obviously bred time after time, including the time that resulted in the huge tummy she carries now? Where was Someone when she wasn’t given her heartworm preventative, resulting in the massive build-up of deadly worms that are working to end her life? Why didn’t Someone microchip her so they could be reunited? And where was Someone when she sat forlornly in a small cement run in Animal Control, staring sadly through the wire as the clock ticked down? She was there a week. Why didn’t Someone show up to take her home before a friendly stranger stepped in at the last minute to give her a reprieve.
Was she dumped by the side of the road? Did she wander away from home and get picked up before she could find her way back? Did her Someone tire of her and toss her away, or maybe trade her in on a “newer” model? I guess we’ll never know. I’m grateful that I could be there for her. Her loving eyes and gentle tail thumps thank me over and over again. If her Someone is out there somewhere, desperately searching for their long lost best friend, I hope they somehow, miraculously find us. And if her Someone disposed of her, tossed her aside like a piece of trash, I hope their dreams are haunted by the memory of this sweet girl they betrayed.
Someone lost a treasure. How blessed I am to be the one fortunate enough to recover it.
This column was originally written a few years ago by Karlene, but still portrays the importance and value of adopting a dog even if you don’t know where it came from.
Karlene Turkington, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, is a lifelong animal lover who has been training dogs for over 20 years. Readers are welcome to send their questions to: info@TrainMyK-9.com. Information provided here is a basic overview of issues. Specific health or behavioral concerns should be discussed with your veterinarian or qualified animal trainer or behaviorist.