On getting a dog

JamieJuly 21, 2013

Please, if you are a super dog person, do not take umbrage with this question.

I am seriously considering a small (12 pounds at the absolute max) companion dog. It will be inside all the time except when it wants to go to the yard or we go for a walk. We can walk often. The dog will set the limit.

I like the personalities of larger dogs, but I am not looking forward to the house (and yard) keeping, so the less poop and other dog shedding, dripping, dropping, drooling, dog breath and smell, and spraying the better for me. Also, I have allergies to certain dogs. So far I have face tested a couple of malti/shi/poo/ and I seem to be ok. I am ok with grooming. No kids, no other pets. Me and DH. We will both play with, cuddle, feed and exercise the dog, but I will be "the one".

I would like a Havanese. They seem not to have the small dog syndrome tendency. I really don't want a yappy, demanding dog.

The other thing is I don't want a puppy. I know my limits. I can handle the late-life issues on the other end, but I want to start with an adult who is house trained and heels. A dog who does not have anxiety or aggression issues. I can do further obedience school, etc. The ideal dog for me would be about 8 years old. Manageable medical issues are not a problem, but I want a dog that sees and hears and has teeth, can walk and eat and poop and pee.

I've looked around. Many humane society dogs seem to have anxiety or aggression. Shelter dogs often come from puppy mills and require a lot of training. Breeder dogs are usually puppies. The Havanese rescue dogs are few and far between.

I was thinking of asking a breeder (there's a cavapoo breeder not too far away) if she knew of someone who had a dog they couldn't keep, but that's a long shot.

Do you have any suggestions for me?

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Absolutely contact breeders of dogs that interest you. Sometimes they have placed a dog that doesn't work out and most reputable breeders have a contract clause that the dog will come back to them in those instances. Or they may have a breeding female (GW would not allow me to use the correct term!!!!) that will no longer be breeding and they would like to place. My brother got his Golden Retriever that way and she was 8 at the time, a wonderful dog. We got our Dalmatian from a breeder after he outgrew the breed height standards and could no longer be shown, however he was 8 months, not 8 years. But, he came to us fully housebroken and familiar with most basic commands - we continued the training but he had a big head start. I hope you will open up your parameters a bit on age and consider young adult dogs. I understand not wanting to deal with puppy issues but there's lots of middle ground between puppies and an 8 year old. Most importantly, you will hopefully fall in love with your dog - you'll meet him/her and not want to go home without him - that's how you know

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:50AM
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First off, I am a total dog person. I have worked as a volunteer at both kill shelters and no kill shelters. I also can totally understand your situation and concerns. AND you are right on all the kinds of dogs and situations you mentioned. There are a lot of older dogs needing homes, and most rescue groups are always looking for foster homes. Most dogs needing homes are larger breeds. If you do not live in a large metropolitan area your search for what you want will be more difficult. In my over 20 years of experience I have found many older dogs needing re homed do not have behavior issues, etc. but many have health problems. Sometimes dogs become homeless because of death of owners and no family members to take them.
My advice to you is to contact rescue groups and check things like Craigs List to offer to foster. This way you are not making a total commitment to keep the dog. This will give you a reality check about having a dog too. Another source is sometimes breeders want to rehome a dog who is getting too old for the breeding program, or they just want to get rid of. These dogs sometimes have serious issues as they were never properly raised or socialized as puppies.

One more thing, breeds like the cockapoo, or other poos-are mixed breed dogs-(muts) and not recognized by AKC and these people who breed them are mostly just doing it for money-and are nutso people.. Stay away from them..
Many breeders of AKC registered breeds will take back puppies of any age, so if one of them can not keep a dog from one of their litters, they take them back. They will then try to place the dog in another home. Some are pretty strict about the kind of home and will have a long form to fill out and will probably do a home check. Many think it is like adopting a child.

In conclusion , I say look into fostering, check with local vets offices too, and avoid the "pooo breeders'. AKC website has lists of AKC breeders and many have websites. Also check with any local obedience clubs, agility clubs, and breed clubs. Sometimes these people have a dog with some issue so they can not perform in a sport like agility, so they may want to find them another good home.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:58AM
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I found my boy Max on Pet Finders. He is a large lab, but they have a lot of animals listed. He came from a town outside my metropolitan area, but the rescue organization worked with me. I had tried going to our local HS and the dog shelter, looked on CL, etc and it took me a while to find the perfect dog, but he fit the bill.

Good luck and thank you for trying to find an older dog.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:12AM
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I completely sympathize with your list. I wanted an older dog that was housebroken and knew I would not have the patience or time for a puppy. I specifically wanted a golden. The list of goldens (from a rescue group in our area) seemed to have dogs with aggression issues or would not be good around young children (our kids are college-age, but we have lots of guests, many with young children). Those characteristics were out of the question.

Also on the list were some old dogs, and in particular, a 6-year old that had all the characteristics we desired. However, he was completely blind. We met the dog, and he was also very overweight and had a terrible coat. But he was very sweet and cheerful. We adopted him, put him on high-quality food and fish oil, bathe and groom him regularly, take him on frequent walks--and he lost 30 pounds and has a splendid copper-colored coat. He is the happiest, sweetest companion. His blindness is barely a handicap.

Don't be afraid to adopt an older dog that might have some seeming drawbacks. We are very glad we took a chance with our pet.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 12:35PM
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I second the idea of becoming a foster of an older dog. Many bred rescue organizations have programs where they take care of all the medical needs of an older dog. All you have to do is give them shelter and lots of love.

Either way, go ahead and get signed up with a rescue group so that when a dog that fits your criteria does come up, you'll be at the top of the list.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 12:53PM
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Well, kk, I'm going to take "must be sighted" off the list. Labs are such great dogs, though. I fear that a blind little dog, with a little dog personality, would just get skittish and angry. I've never met a lab that wasn't wonderful. Maybe I'll have to go stick my eyes and nose in a lab coat and see what happens. I can't imagine I wouldn't be allergic, but now that I have considered it, I won't be able to feel I did due diligence until I try.

The labs at the local shelter that are so appealing. But my house is so not-big!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 1:08PM
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Kelly, I signed up with one rescue group.
I have also filled out applications at a few local ones, so that if a dog becomes available I won't lose him or her due to delays.

Pesky, I definitely need patience. It is taking a while. I have seen a Havanese ready for adoption from foster care in another state. I just wonder about meeting the dog. It's a long trip for a big risk, you know?

Ms-thrifty, I would think the dog of an owner who died or had to go to an institution would be perfect. I still alive, I could even take the dog to visit the owner from time to time. Thanks confirming my gut feeling that mixed breeders can be nutso. There's something about it I just don't like, even though I know someone who does it and he is not totally bonkers, just a bit not my type, iykwim.

Dlm, thanks for saying I'll know when I meet him. I've been wanting to fall in love, and I keep not falling, and I had begun to think that might be unrealistic. I want to "know". Problem is, I keep falling for Labs/Retrievers, Bagels (oh! love!), and most of all Corgis, who make my eyes swell from 10 feet away.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 1:24PM
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If there is so much about a dog that you find objectionable, I question whether or not you can deal with successfully owning one. Most of your list of don't wants involve normal dog traits and behavior. It really sounds like you like the idea of a pet, better than the reality of a pet dog. Fostering one for some interim period would be a great no commitment idea for you to "test drive" one. I think that many of your objections are a bit overblown, and that dealing with the reality will be easier than you think, despite all of the "negatives" of dog owning that you list.

Also, if I were you, I'd put cats on the list. They are much lower maintenance than dogs, and most of the issues on your list of objections won't apply to a cat. There are cats that are lower allergen producers. Although they, like their dog counterparts, will require more grooming.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 1:55PM
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Green, your thoughts about my limitations are what I feared I'd hear from super dog lovers. I wanted to make the idea a reality, and it may be possible, but it may not be. I had a dog at one time, and I managed to keep the house clean enough for my liking, but the negatives do stay in my memory. I didn't choose him, but I took him because he was homeless. I lived alone in an apartment and worked very long hours. It wasn't the best arrangement for either of us.

In the interim 30 years I have had bunnies. The fringe on all my orientals and the cords on all my lamps are chewed . My allergies to all cats are severe, unfortunately.

But this dog would be therapy for me. I would love him or her, and provide safety, health and comfort. Life is so full of compromises. I tend to anticipate obstacles and the down side of things. I hope that helps me make better choices.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:13PM
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There are so many animals out there that need homes. I'm sure you can find one that meets your list, and he will be loved and forever grateful to you for finding him, as you will be to have found him.

I will say that I have adopted so-called problem animals and they were fine. A seemingly anxious animal can blossom in a loving home. You can't expect an animal to be themselves when they are frightened in a shelter. Then again, when adopting a throw away, they might indeed have some habits or oddities that put them there, so you have to be open to that. But it doesn't mean they still can't be great pets.

Good luck in your search. You are wise to know your limitations and try to find a suitable companion so everyone is happy in the end.

P.S. I think it's great you are considering an older pet. There are so many out there. It's much harder for them to find a home.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, Jul 21, 13 at 15:27

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

If you're getting a dog, watch Cesar Millan the dog whisperer...he's on youtube as well as on tv. He teaches a lot about how to keep your dog calm and submissive and to respect you. He's rescued many problem dogs who turn out only to need good leadership, lots of exercise and discipline. People often get into trouble with dogs when they try to treat them like babies instead of dogs. Dogs are dogs regardless of size.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:48PM
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My guess is that if you can find a dog that passes your allergy test, you will love that dog so much that you will simply deal with the shedding, dripping, dropping, drooling, and dog breath.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:50PM
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Have you researched the Havanese breed? Since they are similar to Bichons they are known to be "notoriously slow to housebreak". See the link below. I can confirm this as years ago adopted a Bichon and it took me almost a year to house train her. And I had trained dogs previously and know how. Even if you find a mature dog who is trained they can revert due to the stress of moving.

IMO almost all previously owned dogs will come with issues. We've adopted many dogs over the last 47 years and most had problems to some degree. My current Shih Tzu/Maltese cross was an SPCA 'find' and while she is a wonderful companion dog she did need help with house training and had severe separation anxiety at first. Both of those problems have been resolved through careful training. She still has anxiety issues over loud noises and barks almost uncontrollably at strangers due to fear. I crate her during these stressful periods so she feels safe and she's good with that. Fortunately she doesn't shed at all so that is definitely a plus with this cross breed. And she has lots of personality which I like in a dog.

Please do not think there is a 'perfect' 8 year old dog waiting somewhere for you. Well-mannered dogs require owners who know how to deal with their problems and many older dogs will not have had the benefit of that. If I wanted an adult dog I would look for one between 1 - 3 years old as they will be easier to train. Mine was estimated to be one year old when we got her and was old enough to be sensible and still relatively easy to train. However she had obviously had some bad experiences based on how she reacts to some things. An older dog will have had more time to acquire unfortunate experiences and will take longer to become your 'perfect' pet.

I don't expect 'perfection' with pets any more than I do with people but even so there are always some challenges. Good nutrition (quality meat is much better than dry food) and calm patient training go a long way toward making a dog a good physically and emotionally healthy pet.

Here is a link that might be useful: the good and bad of Havanese

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 3:15PM
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I would also get in contact with the Senior Services in your area. They are often helping people and families with transitions to Nursing Homes and Assisted Living facilities where someone might not be able to keep their dog. It's such a common occurrence, maybe they will keep you in mind, or even know of an appropriate dog right now.

I remember my vet had postings on his bulletin board about pets available and one story that wrenched my heart was a woman with terminal cancer looking to place her beloved cat before she died. So check with local vets, too.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 3:29PM
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Snookums, predicting how a dog will do is a big problem for me. When I visit these pups in the Humane Society, I have no way of telling how much anxiety or agression will pass and how much will stay. I'm trying to get in touch with my instincts about such things, but I feel pretty uncertain a lot of the time.

Annie, Ceasar has kept me from getting a dog for years! He is so talented and when I watch him I feel really indequate to the task. He's what makes me believe I need a relatively issue-free pet. I watched My Cat From Hell last night. If I didn't have friends with nice pets and these shows were my only source of info I'd never get a dog. The babying danger is real, and I don't want to fall into it. A happy dog is good. A crabby dogbaby is not.

Graywings, I want your guess to be right. I want it very much.

Luckygal, I'm trying to reduce imperfection, but I know there will be plenty.

Olychick, Great advice - thank you!. I contacted one agency just now, and am on hold with another. Going around to check bulletin boards will be a good opportunity for me to vet a veterinarian's office and know the good ones in advance.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 4:39PM
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Jamies~ I got a puppy that had fear aggression .
I thought that if I loved him enough he would come around.
Eight years later he never has.
He has never bit anyone.
But to this day I've never given him the opportunity .
I only say this to caution you against thinking that you can cure a dog with fear issues.
Many dogs are surrendered for no fault of their own.
Too many times I've heard "I just had a new baby and now have no time for my dog"
To me that's like saying" I just had my second child so I no longer have time for my first."
At any rescue they should let you take the dog out of the cage into a large enclosed area .
Ideally with multiply dogs to see if any of them show interest in human interaction.
If a time comes that I choose another dog I would pay hundreds to take a pro with me to evaluate the dogs.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 7:02PM
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We spent a lot of time looking for an assistance dog for my special needs grandson, who is also allergic to dogs. We checked out several that had low shedding, poodle mix types, and what we found out is that often a person is more allergic to the dog's saliva, no matter what type of dander/shedding it has. Unfortunately, we decided not to take a chance and never did get a dog. I thought I'd mention to you to check how licking affects your allergies. I do hope you have very little reaction.

The perfect dog is out there just waiting for a perfect home like yours. Good luck in your search.

Nathan's gram

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:52PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Have you thought about a pug or toy poodle? i have had friends who have had these and they were amazing dogs. The poodle was so tiny and didn't bark at all and he had the sweetest personality.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 8:28AM
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Elraes Miller

With your needs, I fully suggest looking at the Prison trained dogs in your area. They stay from 2 - 3 mos, are donated by vets, humane societies and individuals. All are trained for assistant dog requirements, but some do not make the grade. These are the ones up for adoption. Not getting through may be due to a variety of small reasons. Mine had a tennis ball addiction and would lose focus if anything round was available. But he definitely knew his commands and was far smarter than me going through them.

By having these dogs, the handlers know their personalities and complete training. I took mine through the AKC Canine Good Citizen program and then on to Therapy Dog training. He passed all and loved being back into work mode. Was so great, he even ignored balls and toys while working. Loved the people met and they loved him.

Sometimes the cost puts people off. I think this is different depending upon where you go. If you add up the vet care, training and personal love given to these dogs at the prison, the cost would be much higher outside on your own. And you know the dog's behavior, each dog l lives with the handler. They let you meet them and go through all the commands. Any dog adopted can be returned for further training at no cost. But few have done this or it depends upon what type of training wanted...hunting, companion animals for helping with specific needs, etc.

Please think about looking at their wonderful guys. There are many pure breads, mixes and sizes.

Run a search on Prison Trained Dogs with your state added.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 8:34AM
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I volunteer at our local shelter, and I wanted to make a suggestion to you.... I don't believe anyone can really get the full measure of a dog with just one visit. So if you can, I would plan to go a few times and try to get to know a few of the dogs. The alternative would be to sit with the director or other staff, describe what you are looking for, and ask them to recommend a dog for you. We know the dogs really well. At our shelter, we let potential new owners take the dogs on sleepovers, which can last a week or more. That would be a great opportunity for you to see how well the pairing might work.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 8:46AM
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On our local news, they have on a fairly regular basis dogs who had to be surrendered due to the death or illness of their senior owner. These seem like the sweetest dogs--you know they are socialized and loved, so the shelter may be able to help you.

My friend got a wonderful dog who was 8 years old. Long story, some friend of a friend got divorced and was going back to school, so he could only keep one of his dogs. This dog was some sort of spaniel mix, and was truly the best behaved dog ever. He was black and medium-sized. She had him for 6 years.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 12:08PM
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Technicolor, I never heard of that-- what a neat program. I looked for it in IL, and sadly, it looks like they closed at least one such program in IL because they closed a state prison. Not sure of there are others.


Jamies, I sort of think you need to think of the worst case scenario and think what you would do. Nothing is guaranteed in life! My advice is to find a dog that you LOVE. You have to meet the dog several times to figure this out and test the dog in different scenarios. If you love, love, love the dog and the dog has accidents/chews things up/etc, it's likely you will grumble but deal with it. You are probably really good at researching (seems like people here are), so you know you can always find possible solutions, too, and problems may be temporary (and new ones may arise).

This dog made me think of you. See link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Meet Ella

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 12:32PM
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Woohooooooo! I'm gonna meet Ella!!!!!!!!!!!!

SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:31AM
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I found my Sparky through this FB page. We had to travel some distance to adopt him. But he is perfect. We all adore him. He was a stray. The vet estimates him to be 2-3 years old. No one knew anything about him or his history. He is a beagle mix? The volunteer who was very experienced could tell that he was very sweet, gentle and not a barker.

When we got him home...lo and behold, he was housebroken. Clearly, he had also been well loved.

If Ella didn't work out, please consider the shelters. There are some wonderful animals begging for someone to take them home and love them.

Look at this pretty girl.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 11:07AM
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Good luck meeting Ella! She seems like a sweetie!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 1:16PM
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Are you really??? I am so excited for you! I stumbled upon her ad last week when I was looking for a cat. She seems so awesome. Then when you described your perfect dog, it sounded exactly like her!!!!


Let us know how it goes!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 2:45PM
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I love Ella! And I'm not a dog person AT ALL. I hope it works out for both of you!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 3:09PM
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Hope it all works out with Ella. We got our current lab/mix from a local animal shelter. A friend of ours volunteers at several shelters in our area and had fallen in love with our lab. We went out to see him and fell in love with him too. We've had him for about 8 mths now and although he's driven me crazy with some of his antics, he is so full of personality and love that i've learned to overlook/accept the things that drive me crazy (i.e., on one of the slice of life threads I posted a picture of the remains of a pan of brownies cooling on the counter that he devoured while I was momentarily out of the house).

Keep us posted!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 5:49PM
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Oh, coming in so late!

Good news on Ella! Please OP keep us posted on developments!

I do have to say that I think the OP had reasonable restrictions. As a total dog-lover, she was/is not a person to whom I'd recommend a stuffed animal. She seems to have all her ducks in a row.

I'm slightly disappointed that Cesar Millan was recommended here. I thought he had been "debunked,"

Cesar is well meaning person whose "training" and very outdated "rehabilitation " techniques have been analyzed and thoroughly rejected by those in the know. Perhaps not. He still has rabid defenders.

I'd never go with Cesar Millan. If you must watch TV trainers go with Victoria Stillwell. Or, even better, go with a certified vet-behaviorist in your area who can in real life assess and train your problem pup. If you have one. Many rescue pups just need common sense, not Cesar Millan's abusive methods.

Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Cheen, I agree on the common sense thing. Whatever happened to just having a dog. All this alpha dog, domination, submission stuff. Back in the day, we went to the pound, came home with a dog, taught him dumb tricks as kids, played catch, hung out together, taught him "no" and spanked him if he was really bad. It was pretty simple. Now we need trainers and classes. People are intimidated and you need a degree just to have a dog. It's big business.

I have always taken in rejects, no interviews, whoever needed a home. Their personalities have run the gamut and they've always been great pets. Even with a few aggression issues in the mix, they still worked out beautifully in the end. Certainly some animals have issues that are serious but, for the most part, domestic animals are not beasts to be tamed and fearful of. And they know who butters their bread, by default. Have never met these wild animals, lol, even though we took in a "vicious" dog growing up. He was the best.

Jamies, when do you go see Ella? Hope it all works out for both of you and that little girl is going home.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Tue, Jul 23, 13 at 22:27

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I think of dogs like children, the personalities and traits vary but you still love them forever. I have two rescue dogs and their personalities couldn't be more different, but they are similarly sized and shaped and the average, casual onlooker can't tell one from another.
I love them both as the most precious gifts to me but one of them wildly gets on my nerves most days and the other one always makes my heart melt just looking at him.
I wouldn't trade either one in, they have EACH enriched my life immeasurably for the past 12 years+ and when someday, I do it again, I will again let my heart decide.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 11:39PM
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Just another option for finding an adult dog. Our French bulldog came from a breeder. She was less than 2 years old and had just been bred for the first time, and had only one puppy with a cleft palate. So she wasn't a money-maker for the breeder and the breeder was offering her up for sale along with two litters of puppies. We were thrilled to get a relatively young dog who was already well beyond the housebreaking stage. And she is the sweetest dog ever. We've had her for almost two years now.

I think French bulldogs are the best dogs ever (I also have two English bulldogs...yes, we are crazy) but they do shed.

BTW, just a note since someone mentioned pugs. I'm pretty sure they shed like crazy.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 4:47PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

When are you going to see Ella? She is such a cutie and I love that Anele posted her for you! I hope she finds her forever home with you.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 6:03PM
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If only all pet owners gave as much thought to getting a pet as you are, Jamies. Some very lucky dog is about to find a wonderful forever home:)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 6:21PM
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I hope it works out. Just saw this photo on Pinterest and thought of you!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 7:21PM
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Hope you and Ella have a long happy life. Derek just moved home from Texas ( got layed off and we are hoping he will learn the family business). He brought his, um, Great Dane. Lola is a horse! She is six years old and Isabelle, our english bulldog, has her panties in a mess. Now we have three resident dogs for awhile.sigh.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 1:06PM
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Hi again everyone. Thanks so much for the helpful replies.

I met Ella today. She appears good natured and adaptable with just the right energy level and the perfect amount of curiosity. Her background -- she comes from the home of a couple who could no longer care for her due to issues of ageing -- is just what I wanted. She took treats from me, was willing to walk on a loose leash, and submitted graciously to rubbing, petting, and hugging. She didn't bark, could sit when asked, and wagged her tail when the kennel worker spoke to her.

I made sure to really get a lot of her in my eyes and nose, and it seems I'm not allergic to her.

Now I have to make a final decision about taking on the work of a pet. I'm not compelled by love-at-first-site-itis, so the decision will have to be a rational one. I think we could grow attached to one another, and attachment is what I am seeking, but I'm not completely sure. I don't think I want to have a pet if I can't muster the emotional involvement that makes all the work seem worth it. I'm at a place in life where my emotions don't have much outlet and sometimes seem atrophied. That's probably not the healthiest. I was hoping to shape up my affection and attachment muscles again, but I'm not sure that's possible with Ella or any dog.

They say there are multiple adopters asking for Ella. The place where she is staying is just wonderful. It's like a resort for dogs. No one could feel sorry for this doggy, or feel like they were rescuing her.

I'm mulling it over. I want to do this right.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 4:11PM
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Jamies, I'll bet most here will echo my thoughts: unless your heart has atrophied into pure stone, this will take time, and in the end she will crawl into and capture your heart. i have been a rescuer, a shelter volunteer, and forever dog lover, so you'd think I'd have known better. My story: my beloved dog died, breaking my heart, just as they always do. After waiting a year, the perfect rescue pup became mine. She was unbelievably perfect in all ways. The catch is that I did not love her. I felt fond, enjoyed having her in my life, but my heart was detached.......until. Well, there was no special moment, the affection just grew and I became fully engaged and, well, Totally in love! Oh, and as for the inevitable heartbreak , it's a positive; without a beating, vulnerable heart, we aren't truly alive. And,don't forget: " nothing ventured, nothing gained. ". Keeping you in my thoughts.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 5:14PM
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I imagine that they do not necessarily want to place her with someone who falls in love at first sight. Some then fall out of love when the animal gets hard. Since she is a little older, some may not have the resources or commitment to care for her.

You are doing this thoughtfully. I am sure they see this, and know you will make the right decision.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 8:02PM
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It is OK to think about it. Getting any pet is an emotional and financial commitment. I'm glad to hear things went well.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:57AM
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If only more people would be more thoughtful before getting a dog then maybe shelters wouldn't be so full and breeding not so prolific.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:51AM
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Jamie's, I respect and applaud the way you are going about this. We have always gotten our dogs from shelters or rescue societies and my requirements have always been a non-shedding or not-much-shedding dog under 25 pounds--- simply because I know myself and our familiy's needs and have been realistic about what we can incorporate into our lifestyle.

We've gotten wonderful dogs--- a cockerpoo we had for 18 years, a Bichon we had for 11, and now a Lhasa Apso and a wire haired Jack Russell mix. All of them took at least a year to "settle in" with us and display the true love and loyalty one wants in a dog. Our Lhasa, Mr. Fluffy, took the longest---about two and a half years to completely warm up to all our family members (after me, of course!). He had been left at shelters by two families, and was a very sad dog. It became my mission to bond with this dog, who was always sweet but is now happy and playful as well. I love him dearly with all my heart, and am thankful to have had the opportunity to be his person. Good luck with your decision and I hope Ella is the one you fall in love with. If you give it enough time, it will happen.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Yes, Jamies, it will happen. Of course you'll "like" her right away. The deep love and committment come with time as you both settle in and her true personlity emerges. She will show her love for you in so many ways and your heart will truly melt and grow. They're such amazing companions.

Again, I admire they way you are approaching this venture. On the one hand I want to encourage you to not go forward if you're not feeling it but also am fearful you could miss out on the most wonderful relationship and best of times. Sending good thoughts your way:)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:19PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I am indifferent to the love aspect, it's a feeling; so as such it grows, retreats, misleads, vanishes.
The most important thing when getting a dog is to provide what it needs: the basics, of course, but also, when it needs to snuggle and be held (often!, 4x+ a day) you do it whether you feel like it or not. Whether the "love" is there or not. Maybe the dog just did something wildly annoying, yet, 30 minutes later it needs snuggle time. Do it anyway.
It's financially tight, don't cut back on frontline, heartguard or needed meds and vet visits.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 1:14PM
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Wanted to follow up. Brought home a shelter dog today, went to the vet first. She has lots of physical issues but no problem at all attaching to me.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 7:28PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Aw...she looks like a sweetie! I am so glad you followed up. I know she will be so happy to have found her forever home and glad you adopted her from the shelter. Congratulations to you both-and your DH, too.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 7:35PM
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So sweet-looking! Congrats!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 8:26PM
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Congratulations. She's adorable! Do you have a name picked out yet?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 10:00PM
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I'll call her Pink.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 11:16PM
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Very cute - love the name!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 6:48AM
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Congratulations on the new member of your family! Pink is an adorable girl! Any idea what breed(s) she may be? She will benefit by some good feeding, she looks a bit thin. I hope you will feed her meat, dogs do so much better with that type of feeding rather than just dry chow.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 10:14AM
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Oh, this is more than I bargained for!

But speaking of meat, she has already lost some teeth and may have to have more pulled --vet will determine when he cleans them. (her breath is so bad I can't stand it). Probably because of the teeth her tongue behaves weirdly. I'm glad she drinks, but it really gets all over for such at tiny mouth.

When we first got home I fed her some leftover chicken and potatoes, a green bean. She ate them very happily. We then got her some canned food and some chunk food In individual plastic bags and fed her again this AM. She only picked at it.

I really had not intended to get all into researching homemade dog food and nutrition requirements. I hope I don't have to. So far she is a cute little
bother. Hate to say it. Have to perservere.

Another big concern is she doesn't seem playful AT ALL. The shelter said she like squeaky toys but that was a big lie. I don't know how to get her to play. I feel so inadequate. She just wants to sit in my lap forever. She must be so bored. She does love being in the car -- she is alert and interested. She likes going out, too, but gets tired and cold very quickly.

The shelter also said she was freed of fleas due to their treatment -- another big lie. I can't believe she hasn't scratched her skin right off her body.

We have a long way to go.

She has surgery on Wed for a big mammary tumor (xrays indicate no metastisis to lung) and they will clean her teeth at that time. Is there anything I can have them do about the fleas/scratching? My house was flea free before she got here. She is old and I don't want to give her anti-flea stuff to ingest.

She has a part down the middle of her back, so I think maltese, and, because of her long nose, poodle? She doesn't have the maltese tail.

She does this reverse sneezing thing that is kind of disturbing but everyone kept saying it was ok - ?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 11:16AM
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I'm making dog food for my nine year old. Not by choice but she developed IBD. She loves my food and looks so much healthier than she looked on the commercial food. Her coat shines. Her eyes no longer need lubricated. If you are interested, I can share my recipes. Our vet told us many Senior dogs are allergic to chicken...

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 11:55AM
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Hang in there jamies! Sounds like she needs the love and is so grateful to you for giving her a home. It is true that dogs are a bother! But it is so worth it, and after she adjusts she will likely be much less of a bother. I wouldn't worry about her being bored by sitting in your lap- she just wants to be close to you and since she is older maybe she doesn't need to be entertained so much.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 12:08PM
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Awww she's so cute. I would give her time to come out of her shell and adjust to her new environment. She may be more playful or as mentioned, because she's older, she may just sleep and cuddle more than play.

There are natural flea products you can try like Flea free, or (Food grade) Diatomaceous Earth, etc. Monthly bathing can help with flea control too.

I ended up putting my dogs on a homemade fresh food diet 3 years ago because one of them had chronic colitis, they have both been so much healthier since doing so and my yearly vet bills have decreased. To me it makes sense, commercially processed foods really aren't nutritionally good for us, why would it be any different for our pets?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Hi jamies. Your little girl has gone through quite an ordeal. A dog's true personality may take 2-3 weeks to fully come out once you bring it home from a shelter. Her playfulness may come out more and more as the days pass. It also sounds likeshehas whites bit going on medically. She may need to heal or get over the entire vet experience.

Why don't you want to treat her with flea preventative? Her age eont influence her ability to tolerate it. Unless she has an allergy to it (collies are very sensitive to heart worm and flea preventative), I highly recommend you treat her.

Taking on an older dog can come with a large learning curve as you and the dog adapt. Good luck!

How long was she at the shelter? When I was 16 adopted a shelter dog. He was around 4 years old. For the next 12 years he would voluntary fast a few days a week (never on any set schedule but it averaged to 2 days per week in the first 5 or 6 years then only 1 day a week once he moved in to my first apartment) The vet told us it was because he grew up scavenging and gorging. Dogs in the wild don't eat on a daily basis. One of our schnauzers is the most finicky eater and it took a long time to find a food he enjoys. The other would scarf down anything. Let her go a few days, she will eat when she's hungry or her appetite may turn aft the surgery. if she isn't eating after 4 or 5 days then I would worry.Our guys love wellness dog food.

Try not to stress out to much. It will all be okay.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 1:22PM
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Roobear, I can't believe the difference in my digs health. It is a pain but I freeze it. Belle is on a easy digest, low fat diet for the same reason as your dog. We spent $1,000 on vet bills before my sister talked me into doing this and Belle hasn't looked this healthy in years.

I use my food processor and change protein source weekly. I use beef, pork and turkey. Our vet said chicken is in everything, even if it isn't listed in the ingredients. (Dog food isn't regulated.) Many dogs with colitis develop allergies if they have the same protein source. Belle was eating Salmon based protein, so I'm avoiding Salmon for now.

Do you give your dog Probotics?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 1:30PM
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Jamies - I just want to add that allergies don't have to be permanent. I had allergies to dogs from when I can first remember, along with many other allergies. I started getting allergy shots when it became unbearable, and last time I was retested, I was no longer allergic to dogs, along with many of my other allergies. I used to get hives if a dog licked me, and my eyes and respiratory system were a mess, but now (and for the last 6 years) I have no issues at all. So if you started getting shots now (they are shallow, not deep muscles shots, and are only a minor discomfort) you would have a greater choice when it comes time to get another dog.

Have a wonderful time with Pink.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 2:00PM
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Golddust, sounds like Belle is so lucky to have such a caring owner.

I give my dogs fresh raw green tripe on occasion, which is essentially a non dairy, food sourced version of a probiotic for them. Smells unpleasant lol, but my dogs go crazy for it.

I feed a Prey model raw diet, which is simply a diet of a variety of raw meat (certain bone in meats and boneless) and raw organs.

I do give them a little bit of veggies, or fruit on occasion, but it's usually just as a treat. As long as a PMR diet is fed with enough variety in meats and organs, it can actually meet the NRC nutritional numbers for dogs without the need to feed vegetables/fruits, or any carbohydrates etc.

I have two small chest freezers in my garage and buy meat (sometimes in bulk during sales, or from a raw feeding coop, or I get meat donated from local hunters). Their usual weekly variety includes fish, chicken, beef, pork, eggs, and turkey, other meats they also get include lamb, venison, quail, buffalo, and duck. Each meal is usually just one single protein source. I just cut up the meats and organs into meal sized portions for them, freeze, defrost in the fridge, and feed.

Feeding raw is just easier for me because it's far less calculating and less supplementing nutrient wise than most cooked diets. The natural enzymes still present in the food aids in digestion, making food intolerances and allergies less likely. I know some dogs who are allergic to a cooked protein, like chicken or beef, but can still have the raw version of it and be fine. Lola had chronic colitis for 3 years with episodes occurring 1-2 times a week, they cleared up within a few months on the raw diet.

I don't usually feed much ground meat, my dogs get more satisfaction and dental/gum cleaning when I feed the bone in meats with the raw bones as a natural source of fiber, and calcium. My dogs are 8 and 12, and haven't needed Vet dentals due to eating and chewing raw bones (properly). Raw bones, fed properly to dogs can be a great teeth/gum cleaner.

I've been feeding PMR for over 3 years now, and have had fantastic results according to regular blood work etc. done on them. The difference in health is interesting and my vet is very supportive of it. However, I don't think raw diets are for every dog or owner, and they certainly have their controversy.

This post was edited by roobear on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 15:26

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 3:23PM
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Pink is such a sweet looking dog. Please keep us posted on how things are working out!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:29AM
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We adopted a small 2 year old dog about 4 months ago. It took about 3 months to see her playful side. It takes time for them to trust you and relax. When we first started to play she was simply scared of us. We now do the play/chase game and she loves it. We also tried throwing a ball outside and she had no interest. It took us a few weeks to discover that she loves to play fetch, but you have to use a small stuffed animal and not a ball. She loves to fetch her stuffed ducky ... who knew a small terrier mix had these retriever genes mixed in!!!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:27PM
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Yes, please give her time. All of our dogs have been shelter dogs and all were stressed. Even if they came from a good home, living in the shelter is stressful.

She really looks sweet but the uncertainty in her eyes is evident. She will thrive with love and a routine but it will most likely take a little while.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:44PM
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Yes, they should be able to do her teeth while she is under. She may need to have some pulled.

They should be able to treat the fleas while she is there, too. Many pets need additional treatment. I would recommend a monthly treatment. Our cats gets Revolution which is also anti-heartworm and anti-ear mites along with flea repellant.

She will come around. It will take her awhile to adjust.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:01PM
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