Saturday, January 29, 2000:
My son and I drove down to Chuck Bruno’s home in Massachusetts. We had adopted a Heart Bandits dog a month earlier but found that although we loved having him, we weren’t the right family for the dog. We really wanted to give another rescue dog a chance. While we waited for Chuck’s partner Larry to arrive, we checked out several of the dogs that Chuck had available. Although they were nice dogs, none of them seemed to be the right one and we wanted to make the best choice possible, even if that meant that we had to wait for the right dog to come into rescue.
Larry arrived with several dogs for us to look at. It was confusing with so many white furballs jumping around, barking, sniffing and playing. There was one dog who remained very quiet during all the ruckus, but I noticed that he sat himself down right in front of us and was not distracted by all the other goings on. In spite of all the noise and activity he kept looking at us quietly and intently. I wasn’t sure what to make of him, but I felt that the fact that he kept his attention on us was a good sign. His name was Apache. We took him home.
One thing we have noticed with Apache was that he really wants to be a good boy. He really tries hard to please. We have been through basic obedience training and he did very well. Apache had never been properly housetrained although the woman who had him as a foster dog worked very hard on this issue. At first, I kept the lead on him and if he became restless, out he went. Every time he would “go” outside, he’d get a tiny treat and praise. There were a few accidents as we learned to “read” his signals but now he’s fairly reliable, we just have to make sure that we let him out if he appears restless as he doesn’t definitely “ask” to go out for that purpose.
Apache is very loving and affectionate with my husband, son and myself. He is a wonderful companion and enjoys playing or just hanging out as long as he’s with one of us. He is not yet very good with other people. Maybe he has been through so much in his short life that now he only trusts a very small circle of humans. I hope this will improve with time but if it doesn’t, we will adjust to his need by being aware of his limitations and taking precautions to keep both him and any company visiting as safe and unstressed as possible. There are some things that you may have to deal with when you take on a rescue dog. You don’t know what their past was like. You have to be very observant and sensitive as you learn their personality. They may have “issues” to deal with becoming an educated dog owner is a MUST.
Apache loves to play ball and races around like a nut, barking with excitement. He loves to go for walks, but will quietly curl up by my feet or snuggle up next to me if I’m reading. He is very good about going to his crate when asked and we have learned that if we see him in his crate at an unusual time he may be nervous about something and need reassurance. He is very alert and barks at any unusual noise although he has calmed down quite a bit since his arrival. He often sleeps in our bedroom (on the bed until Dad comes up!) but occasionally wants to be in his crate for the night. He loves to sneak into my son’s room to steal a golf ball which he then gleefully lets bounce down the stairs before making off with it. We keep the door shut and take the balls away if he manages to pull a sneaky so he doesn’t choke. My son now has an auto retrieval system when he practices his golf technique, Apache fetches every ball Brandon hits - the challenge is getting the ball back again!
I remember how subdued he was when we first got him. He would run to his crate at the slightest sound, and the first few days he wouldn’t eat and barely drank. He would wag his tail uncertainly when we spoke to him; he just wasn’t sure what was happening to him. Here he was again in yet another strange place, with strange people. From what I understand Apache spent the first several months of his life tied to a radiator in his owner’s home during the day. His first owner apparently didn’t know how to housetrain a dog and I suspect he may have been abused (he gets upset if my son grabs me to tickle-fight or if my husband and I do the same).
He was placed in a shelter in New York City, went to the New York Heart Bandits people and then spent about six months with a woman and her family as a foster. His next destination was Larry’s home in Connecticut. He arrived at Chuck’s house just in time for us to meet. Poor little guy, always going from place to place! He was VERY insecure at first and who could blame him?
I think of that now when I look at him and see his happy “smiling” face looking up at me. He has a real home now with people who love him and try to understand his needs. I look at him and I believe that he knows that too.
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