Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Beginnings Sunday

A tale of finding her doggie soul mate from Robin Koehler:

I have been married to a military man for 20 years with 2 lovely daughters. As children do, we were begged mercilessly for pets and in 20 years we have owned 3 fish, 1 ferret, and 5 dogs (some adopted -some purchased). All of these pets were short lived in my house. It is exhausting to raise the kids' pets if your heart isn't into it: I would get frustrated with all the broken promises and find a new, better home for the pet.

The last time we went through this same 'we promise...pleeeeease' dance, the family (husband included-he always sides with the kids to out vote me) was looking at a Great Dane/St. Bernard mix who was absolutely adorable and HUGE! I stood my ground but secretly snuck to the shelter to visit, Thunder, which eventually got me a nice toe fungus after he tripped me once-by accident. I finally put my foot down and said 'no'. I would be taking care of him and he was against everything on my "LIST": small, short hair, female, quiet with manners:) The family relented about Thunder but didn't give up the fight.

One January day when my husband was off, he talked me into a trip to the shelter. Don't ask me why I kept going. They all look so cute and helpless and I do want to help them, but I know it isn't possible and my heart can't take it. Once there, my husband told me he had found 'my' dog, as if they were doing all of this for me. I must be lonely since I work at home, right?

I walked down the corridor to see the sweetest little face looking up at us. She was terrified, anorexic, wore a thick black utility collar and was in quarantine since she had just been brought in the day before as a stray. Nothing was known about her except approximate age (10 months) and that she was a full breed beagle. While reading the card, her name was my deciding factor--Schmoopy. I agreed to go through the paperwork and the family was not allowed to change her name if we got her. I didn't think we would once they read our pet history. We had to wait 11 days before even holding her. My husband and I went back to see her again and she was so sweet that your heart melted.

When we got the call that she was ours, I was still very hesitant. Beagles are hunting dogs that chase animals and howl. She would be loud and not mannered. After her spaying surgery she came home to all the necessary dog stuff. The girls begged to let her sleep with them those first few nights while she got used to us....I agreed. Then came time for kennel training. I had never had a dog react so awfully to a kennel before. She howled and cried and I worried that she would tear her stitches out. We tried keeping her in the laundry room but she scratched the doors and I wasn't going to have her wrecking the house. Within the first week we learned that she was terrified of my husband and had severe separation anxiety, but she seemed housebroken and knew right where to go to sit for going out. Within 2 weeks we figured out that someone hadn't been very nice to her but she was an absolute doll who just wanted to be loved and snuggled. I found myself falling in love with her sweet face more and more everyday.

Schmoopy has been with us for 5 years now and I can't imagine not having her. It is like I hand picked my perfect dog. She is not a howler at all and when she wants something (water/bathroom), she sits quietly by her bowl or the door waiting patiently for someone to attend to her. Schmoopy is quite the nudge, finding every opportunity to place her head on someone's knee until we rub her ears. My husband is HER MAN too. We all knew how wonderfully lovable he is and it didn't take her long to figure it out. He can get her tail wagging like no one else. Schmoopy has been on family vacations with a scrapbook just for her as well as worn costumes for me and been in a dog parade or two. She buries bones in the carpet because we can't see them-Ha. She likes to be tucked into bed at night...with a blanket. She is my last baby and I love her.

New Beginnings Sunday
is a weekly series featuring the story of a rescued pet and the ways in which the life of the animal and person has changed. This series will run through the end of 2009 in conjunction with Breaking Traditions Art Quilt Exhibit’s fundraising efforts for Bernie Berlin’s animal shelter, “A Place to Bark.”

**If you have a story that you would like to share, please email it along with a picture or two of your pet to

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