Rescue could resolve the dilemma of finding a new puppy

Voices of the Clarion

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2008

There are signs everywhere. They direct us to food, shelter, fuel, family and friends. Without them we would be lost.

Sometimes the signs are invisible. These lead you down different kinds of paths right, wrong, good choices, bad choices, prosperity, you know what I mean.

I slammed into one of these signs about a month ago. The problem is, I still have no idea what the sign means.

For the last three years, I have been on a quest a puppy quest. It started slowly, but picked up speed about 2 1/2 years ago. Unfortunately, there have been quite a few roadblocks along the way.

The first puppy I wanted had me in line for the top female pick on a litter of golden retrievers we have four. It was a dream litter for me, and I was ecstatic about the possibilities. But my excitement plummeted with one phone call. The puppies were born and healthy, but there was a catch: mom had seven males.

Last spring, the parents of the next three litters I was hoping for failed to make a magic connection. In other words, no puppies.

What are the chances? I was starting to feel jinxed.

Last summer I was given an opportunity to have first pick on a litter planned for this spring. Given my success rate, I decided to take a break and hope for the best.

Then something totally unexpected happened. We had the opportunity to adopt a young rescue.

The family got the puppy from the Kenai Animal Shelter, where it had been dumped in the middle of the night. At an estimated age of 5 months, the pup had no history and no sign to tell the family what kind of baggage was attached. But she was sweet.

They took her home, where she soon set her sights on keeping busy. Unfortunately, those sights were on the cat. I know nothing about this cat other than to say it allowed the puppy to drag it around by the head. There was no intent to hurt the cat, just to move it from one point to another.

Since this wasn't a good deal for the cat, the puppy spent time outside while the family tried to sort it out. They took her to obedience class and tried different tactics to make her fit and keep the cat sane.

At the end of their leash, they decided it just wasn't meant to be.

This is where the Andersons came in.

I explained the situation to my husband, Mark, and was shocked by his response: "Do you want her?"

"I think I do," I said, surprised the words even came out of my mouth.

The next day we met on neutral turf and introduced her to our goldens. It went quite well, so we decided to take her home and give her a try.

The first night was the longest. I slept on the couch so Mark could sleep. She cried for all but three hours.

By the way, did I mention she's a border collie?

Border collies are nothing like goldens. In fact, they basically are complete opposites. Goldens lay at your feet and sleep. They retrieve your Clarion and sit when they are asked. Border collies nip, bark and get bored real quick. They also appear to squirm uncontrollably. And although this is not limited to her breed, this particular border collie goes to the bathroom a lot.

It was pretty obvious our dogs were thrilled to meet her, but they were not as thrilled once they realized she possibly could become part of the family. Goldens aren't used to being herded, but we're working through it.

It's been five long weeks since this puppy now 10 months old came into our home. While we're working with her every day, it's definitely a work in progress. But she's teaching us, too. We both have a lot to learn.

I haven't mentioned a name because in all the reading I've done they say it's good to rename a rescue and give it a new start. I want it to be something that matches her personality. Right now that would be Betsy Wetsy. But there's a real sweet side to this girl, and we're hoping it all comes together so we can be one big happy family.

Like I said, this sign came out of nowhere; I just need to figure out what it means. If I had to guess, I'd say I finally found my puppy.

But stay tuned, I need to go let her outside again.

Dori Lynn Anderson is the managing editor at the Clarion. She can be reached at

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