My husband and I both grew up with dogs in the house. It seemed like a must to add in a dog into our family as soon as possible after having kids, however, living in apartments and basement apartments stopped us from getting a dog. We finally talked my husband’s mother, whose basement we lived in at the time, to let us get a dog. We promised to water it, feed it, and clean up after it, something we ended up being not so good at.
Nevertheless, she said yes so we made our way to the shelter. We felt it would be a good way to get a dog – a dog who needed a home. We found a dog who was quiet but excited when we took her out of the kennel. We took this Brittany Spaniel to a room and she knocked over our kids but that was only because she was ignoring them, not attacking and not jealous of them. We took her outside and she pulled and pulled on the leash but at least she seemed excited.
My husband and I decided to go back the next day to buy her. We needed to make sure this was good for our family and wanted to make sure we understood Brittanys. We arrived the next day and watched as a cute little family took out this Brittany Spaniel. We spoke with them briefly and they were seriously considering adopting her. As soon as they put her back, we got her, paid for her, and drove away with our new dog.
Part of adopting from a shelter is agreeing to spay or neuter the animal so we scheduled that immediately. We had no idea how funny it would be. She’d get up in the middle of the night and thrash around in the hallways with her huge cone and still being a little out of it. Soon after the surgery, we found out she was really good at sleeping sitting up. She’d tuck her head into her shoulder/chest and fall asleep.
After she got over her surgery, we took immediately to training her. She was already house trained (a miracle!) but knew no other commands and was definitely not leash or car trained. It was surprising how quickly she learned tricks. Within a matter of a couple days, she knew how to sit, lay, crawl, stay, and come. We taught her that when she’s in the car, she needs to lie down on the floor. If she’s lucky enough to get to sit on a seat, she needs to stay seated or lie down the entire time. Finally we leash trained her. She learned to walk on our left side at all times, heel, stop, wait, and okay which means that she can walk again. We also trained her to “check in” which means she nudges our left hand with her nose while heeling. It’s great for those times she’s not on the leash but usually running next to us. I enjoy having her check in instead of having to look down constantly to make sure she’s there.
The thing about getting a dog from a shelter is that you may not know their full behavior. While ours is very-well trained, she’s also a depressed dog whose fearful of being hurt. We do our best to take care of her but it shows that her past owners may have not treated her very well from her fear of abuse to her unhealthy teeth.
While at my local Sam’s Club, I found PEDIGREE® DENTASTIX™ for our dog. They are clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar buildup when used as part of a daily oral care routine which is exactly what our dog needs. Plus they are a treat to her and as we are still building trust with her and constantly trying to remind her that she is part of our family, we enjoy giving these to her once daily. Plus, a huge pro to purchasing a PEDIGREE® product at Sam’s Club is that the PEDIGREE® brand will donate a bowl of food to a dog in need.
Having a dog that was once in need, this “fill a bowl, feed a dog in need” initiative means a lot to me. I am so grateful to have adopted another family member into our home. It has been tough to train her to be a part of our family and she really does need constant reminders that she is welcomed into our home but it has been a great experience. My kids have learned how to treat animals well and have the responsibility to take care of her food and water needs. They have also learned to bathe her, brush her, and make sure she is included on walks. I may not enjoy the messes she makes, fur and dirt especially, but I am glad we have a dog as part of our family.