I’ve got a special holiday cheer update on Onyx and Jewel, the two dogs Untethered (which is me, myself, and I) rescued from Page County, Virginia, on November 8th.
Jewel had spent her life in a pen, while—for some inexplicable reason—Onyx was allowed to live inside. Their owner was moving and letting the dogs go to a rescue situation, which turned out to be Jewel and Onyx’s lucky day.
Both dogs had mats, fleas, ticks, and were generally in a bit of a mess. Jewel had a urinary tract infection with Lyme disease, and Onyx had both Ehrlichia and Lyme disease, all from prolonged contact with ticks.
Thanks to the wonderful folks who still believe in me—even without an organization backing me—I was able to raise $400 to help me vet and groom them. I spent $300 out of pocket to cover the rest, but after adoption fees I almost broke even (with the exception of food and toys.)
That’s a successful rescue!
Of course we at the home of Horvath-Thayne-Grimes dithered over whether to adopt one or both dogs ourselves, since our shepherd Sloan passed away in May. The discussions were many, but we couldn’t agree on adopting them both or which one to adopt, so the decision was finally made to put both dogs up for adoption to the public and see what happened.
We believed that ideally they would get a home together, because they played well together, and they are (we were told) mother and daughter. While we often want the best adoption scenario for our dogs in rescue, it’s much harder to come by a home that wants two dogs, so I was afraid to keep our expectations of finding a home together too high.
No one was unhappier about the arrival of the dogs than our kitty companions, who had gotten used to the solitude after Sloan passed away. Bringing two untrained foster dogs into the home was like bringing two noisy toddlers in, and the cats were very obvious in letting us know they were not amused!
Vivian, who was abandoned by the previous homeowners and discovered scraggling through the woods months after we bought the house, is not feral but mostly prefers to be outside when the weather is good. She never lived inside before, so we’ve tried to get her acclimated and allow her in as much as she wants. She disappeared shortly after the dogs came, and I only caught glimpses of her here and there.
Will she move back home now that the dogs have gone? That remains to be seen.
Bootsie, my true feral baby, decided she was not a fan of these two mongrels (her words, not mine) after they chased her up a tree. I ended up having to catch her and keep her inside after that, because it was too cold to leave her out at night, and I couldn’t trust the dogs not to gang up on her. She miserably stayed in the downstairs cat room for the past four weeks—since it was the only dog-free zone—and refused to come upstairs and socialize with the family at all.
I felt bad for her. I have worked so long and so hard for the progress we’ve made, and I felt like it was slipping away from me since she reverted back to her feral status. I didn’t like that making the dogs happy resulted in her being sad and scared.
Tuna was his normal Tuna-self—which means he wasn’t too bothered either way—but all things considered, he still voted NO to keeping two dogs around. At least that’s what he told me.
After I got the girls trained to stay close to home (we own 35 acres, so they got to run a LOT while they were here) I loved, loved, loved watching them run and play in the woods or swim in the river.
My favorite memory was from a few mornings ago when our river, woods, and house were engulfed in fog. I had let the girls out to run some energy off and do their business before breakfast. I wandered out onto our back deck with my cup of tea to breath in the peace and silence of the river in the morning light.The solitude heals my soul.
Suddenly I heard a big splash off to my left, but I saw nothing in the river. Finally, WAY off to the left in the above picture, I spotted both dogs out on a little island in the middle of the river. They were chasing each other and running through the shoals of the river, water spraying all around them, as happy as two kids in a candy shop.
My heart melted. I sent up a fervent prayer to the powers that be that the girls would get a home together so this joy could be part of their daily life.
My prayers were answered!
I had quite a few nibbles on Jewel, and a solid adopter interested in Onyx. My gut told me this would be the perfect home for Onyx, and as we went through the adoption process, Diane informed me that her kids wouldn’t stop bugging her about adopting Jewel too! My heart leapt at the news.
I knew once they saw Jewel’s cute little face in person, she would be damn near irresistible.
Suffice it to say, once they met the dogs, they decided to make both girls part of their family.
Congratulations, Jewel and Onyx, you are now part of the Mishico family, from the Richmond, VA area. The girls now live on ten acres with a stream, lots of woods, and are part of a wonderful family who will spend a lot of time outside with them.
Diane sent me this image last night of both girls settling into the family, with this note: “Jewel sat on the front seat with me all the way home. Onyx cuddled with the kids. We had fun running them around the yard. Our neighbor drove by on his motorcycle and Onyx bolted for the woods. She was on a leash but Jessica was surprised so she didn’t hold the leash tight enough. But no worries—we stayed still, got low, and she came right back. They have lots of new noises and smells to adjust to. They already met my husband and it didn’t take long for Onyx to go to him. Jewel seems happy with everyone. I think we are all going to be very happy.”
I confess that I selfishly wanted to keep Jewel for myself, because I had grown pretty attached to her, and I wanted a dog to fill the spot that Sloan had vacated in my heart.
But, after a few peps talks from both myself and my good friend Deb Carr, I knew that Jewel’s happiness needed to come before my own. I knew she would be happier with a doggie friend, and—all else being equal—getting a home with Onyx was better for her than being an only dog here. So I let her go.
I’m a little sad today without seeing her cute puppy face or hugging on her, but I’m beyond thrilled for the dogs, and know that I did the right thing for these babies.
I followed the principles I put forth in my book on fostering, and I plan to foster at least once a year from now on—even though I’m out of the ‘official’ rescue business.
You can too! There are so many dogs that need fostered so that they can learn all they need to move on to a new and better life. If we each stepped up to foster a needy dog once a year, there would be much less overcrowding and deaths in the shelter system.
To learn more about fostering and get tips for doing it with style, check out the book at this link.
In other news, I got three copies of the Ohio Rottweiler Rescue calendar I designed this year. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT! It is so beautiful, and even sturdier and more eye-catching than most of the DDB calendars I’ve designed in the past. There are few very copies left for purchase, but if you’re interested in getting one, e-mail Gayla at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about buying one. All proceeds benefit ORR, and I’m thrilled to support such a wonderful rescue who does their share for chained dogs.
I will be keeping one calendar for my fridge, of course, and giving one to Deb Carr, who was so instrumental to the success of Dogs Deserve Better while I led the organization.
I will send my third copy to the first person who chipped in to vet and groom Onyx and Jewel who lets me know he/she wants it (by commenting on my facebook wall or below), as my way of saying THANK YOU.
As a final reminder, PLEASE remember to sponsor a Holiday Dog from DDB-Missouri. These dogs have been thrown out of the DDB family, and left out of their Christmas sponsor a dog program. Neither the dogs, Melody, or her volunteers deserved this treatment. Please help them all have the Christmas of their dreams at this link. They deserve that much. Thank you!