Who Rescued Who?

June 12, 2008

Who Rescued Who?

June 12, 2008
Posted in: Dogs | Reading Time: 6 minutes

It’s no secret that I like all animals, specifically dogs. I like all breeds of dogs: big, small, smart, not-so-smart, silly, dignified, long hair, short hair. But I go ga-ga for small dogs: Shitzu’s, terriers, Pomeranians, Maltese and Benji-like mutts. Something about them tugs at my heart strings. Scott doesn’t prefer smaller breeds so we both agreed to have two medium sized dogs, roughly 30-45 lbs, Maggie’s size.

In January, I offered to adopt Marceau, a terrier that Marscat and Ippoc promoted on their blogs. I wasn’t ready to adopt so soon after losing Maggie in November, but his story was so heart breaking that even Scott, who doesn’t prefer small dogs, encouraged me to adopt him. But after interviewing with the foster, I was told that my house was too big and we had too much property in Santa Cruz mountains for Marceau. I think the foster mom thought I was going to use Marceau as a guard dog for my meth lab here in the mountains.

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C’est la vie. Truth be told, I wasn’t totally ready yet. In May, when the house began feeling too empty without the pitter patter of paws, I started searching again. I found AHAN (Asians for Humans, Animals and Nature) and thought they had the perfect medium-sized dogs. A lot of them reminded me of Maggie in size and shape.

Located in San Francisco, AHAN is a non-profit rescue organization run by volunteers. The organization rescues dogs and cats in the US as well as abroad, such as in Thailand or Taiwan. Usually they find a foster home for the dog as they look for a permanent home for them. Each of the rescued dogs or cats came with tragic stories which of course means, some may come with a bit of “baggage.” But most of AHAN’s rescues are sweet, well-behaved companions.

When I stumbled on Loki’s photo, he reminded me of Maggie so much. He was little, 22 lbs and probably not yet a year old. His story of being adopted then abandoned and living on the streets tugged at my heart so I made the offer. When the volunteer called me she had said, “We don’t think he’s adoptable. He plays rough and bites too hard.” Sigh. She sent me a list of other adoptable dogs but, I called Loki’s foster anyway. He had been with her for three months and she gave me a different report. “He tries so hard to do the right thing. He’s a great dog, but just needs a lot of guidance. We’ve been working with him and found him to be a sweet dog who needs a lot of attention. He does play too rough sometimes with biting behavior but it can be corrected and he truly wants to do the right thing.” That was more than I needed to want him. He reminded me of the dingo, who was infamous for being impossibly difficult.

After interviewing me and doing their “home-visit,” AHAN’s founder, Vickie Lynn called to tell me we could have all of their dogs, because we passed their test with flying colors. (They must have missed our torture chamber and gun collection.) I like that in an organization--one that really makes sure the dogs they spend time, money and effort on rescuing go to a truly good, safe, loving home. It’s obvious that although AHAN is small and independently run, it is very professional. I like the organization so much, I now volunteer for them, posting rescues on their site.

AHAN and Loki’s foster mom, Cindy (who’s a dog trainer) have done wonders for him. His rambunctious behavior can easily become tiresome for the typical person. But in his three short months living at Cindy’s home, he seems to have come a long way. It’s obvious that AHAN and Cindy not only care about the dogs they rescue, but do the right things by them in terms of training, safety and profound care.

Loki’s more dog than we bargained for. He’s:

  1. HUGE! Ok, 58 lbs does not make a huge dog, but given that he’s all muscle and not yet perfect on the leash, it can turn our walks into dog sledding.
  2. Not hermetically sealed. Literally half the water he drinks falls out the sides of his mouth.
  3. Has two undesirable ends for two people hugging him at the same time: the “bite-in’ end” and the “stinkin’ end.” Pick your evil when you hug him.
  4. Probably a Gemini. When he’s good, he’s an angel, but when he’s bad, well, he’s the devil.
  5. Turned my house into a tornado, schmegging every window and paw printing every window sill.
  6. A big chicken. Fears tree stumps, river rocks and sometimes, his own shadow.
  7. Full of piss and vinegar. I’m thinking of slipping him a ‘lude now and then.

But he’s also:

  1. Smarter than you’d think. Asks for his own good night kiss when he sees us kiss goodnight. (No perverted comments, please.)
  2. Potty trained! Hallelujah! Puppies, schmuppies. House-broken dogs rule.
  3. Silly, lovable and a spooner.
  4. A yogi. Seriously. Never met a dog who would actually practice with me.
  5. A great car passenger.
  6. Gentle when he takes food from your hand.
  7. Got a manly mean bark. Perfect for mountain meth labs.

Regardless of any of his challenges, I don’t regret having him for a second. It’s obvious how much this dog loves people and just living. He comes with a little bit of baggage from his crappy life. But don’t we all? He deserves a loving family and I’m so happy to oblige.

Its stories like Loki’s and AHAN’s other tragic rescues and tireless efforts to continue their good will that makes me love humanity but dislike most humans. After all, I see more humanity in Loki than many humans I know. It’s only been 12 days since I rescued Loki, but I’m beginning to think he rescued me.

If you’re looking to get a companion, I encourage you to seek out a rescue organization. There are tons that specify in breeds. I like AHAN simply because they are a small organization, with personal involvement in every rescue situation. They don’t discriminate on who they rescue. AHAN rescues everything from sweet non-challenging dogs to dogs that have had it tough. And they make a huge effort to train and make them adoptable.

The rewards for everyone involved in a rescue, including the organization, the volunteers, the rescuers and the adopting family, are huge and make every effort given to every dog, more meaningful.

Rescue. It’s a good thing.

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