I can't take it when these rescue dogs wind up being smarter than me. And, that is what happened with our Kemo.

When I picked Kemo up from his owners -- a single mom and her thirteen year old daughter, in Southern Massachusetts, I was shocked at just how inhospitable an Eskie could be. I had been warned -- though -- that two of the neighbor's workmen had tales to tell about Kemo. And yet, I think I know everything, so I proceeded with the appropriate lack of caution.

When I entered the house, Kemo was unleashed and went airborne to extract a pound of flesh from my thigh. Not that I would miss a pound of flesh from my thigh, but nonetheless, I thought that was a rather rude greeting. As I was freshening up in the ladies room, I wondered aloud, "What in the world am I going to do with this dog? When I came out of the bathroom, the young lady had attempted to restrain Kemo and he was wiggling in her arms, squealing like the greased pig at the county fair. After he negotiated his release, Kemo darted under the kitchen table and put on his prize winning dirty look.

Well, believe me, I have been bested by bigger Eskies than Kemo, so I sat on the floor and ignored him. In the course of my conversation with Kemo's owners-- during which a litany of behavior quirks were revealed-- the 17 pound terror inched his way out from under the table to investigate me. I have learned in rescue that the worst thing you can do to an Eskie is ignore him or her.

And so, after giving him a few minutes of sizing me up, I flipped Kemo on his back, into my lap, and began the belly scratches. Ah, the bark was worse than the bite.

So, I took Kemo home to meet the Angels from God. Our Dinah was still in residence with us, so Kemo -- who had not spent too much time around other dogs-- was in for a real shocker when he found himself in the middle of a five way dog snifferoo. He squealed and made a beeline for the laundry room, where he found refuge on top of a crate with his nose buried in the corner. Of course, all the other dogs followed him, and he sat there shivering with the most pitiful wimpering noise.

I figure that about five minutes of crazy time is enough, so I pulled Kemo from the laundry room and marched him onto the terrace where he jumped up into Irma La Deuce's chair onto her leopard print bed. He sat there trembling with fear while the Angels from God gave him the once over.

After twenty minutes, Kemo became distracted by the birds, the wind whistling through the trees, and of course by Miss Dinah. There is certainly not a better distraction that Miss Dinah, who is very easy on the eyes, indeed. By Dinnertime, Kemo and Dinah were playing. By Bedtime, Kemo and the Angels From God were playing. I believe that Toot and Dinah were vying for Kemo's attentions. And, so I became convinced that Kemo's whole crazy act was the result of too much time on his hands.

Learning to play with Dinah was the beginning of Kemo's recovery. Her adoption story will be coming very soon.

Kemo made his way to Cindy's place, brimming with Eskies.

After a week, I had the perfect adopter lined up for Kemo, and we moved him to Cindy Halliday's foster home in Maine, along with Dinah, who was awaiting her ride to her new home in Virginia. Cindy phoned me after I left to tell me that Kemo was one of the best dogs she had ever had and she absolutely loved him. I could not believe my ears, but it was true. And, I give full credit to Miss Dinah for the transformation.

And so, we arranged a couple of adoptions at Cindy's, one for Kemo and one for Shy. Through the wackiest technological snafu, Kemo's adopters lost touch with us. Between their cell phone and Cindy's cordless, we could not give them directions. So, we proceeded to meet with Shy's potential adopters.

I had been speaking with Laurie Nowak of Southern New Hampshire about adopting an Eskie for a few weeks. The Nowaks had just lost their Eskie girl to cancer in January. We had talked about Kemo and had ruled him out because I was convinced that he needed to be around another dog, or else he would slip back into loony toons. So we decided to have them look at Shy.

And so, we were all sitting around Cindy's living room-- Laurie and George Nowak and their son, Michael-- when the miracle happened.

Shy was nowhere to be found, and Kemo marched right up to Michael Nowak and rolled over on his back for belly scratches. You could not keep Kemo away from this kid, and there was absolutely no arguing this chemistry. I kept reviewing all the pros and cons in my head, but Kemo had clearly made up his mind. I was overruled by a 17 pound dog, and consider myself taken down a peg.

I am thrilled to report that Kemo is charming strangers left and right and that the Nowaks are thrilled with him. Here is one of Laurie's first reports:

Hi Denise-

Today is Kemo's third full day with us and he's sitting on my lap resting his head on my arm as I write this update. He is absolutely the sweetest little guy and seems to be happy with us...he follows me everywhere, his little ears perked up and tail wagging. He is sleeping well in the crate and jumps with excitement when we let him out to greet him in the morning (I had forgotten what terrific jumpers Eskies are). Kemo (we're still trying to come up with a new, but similar name) has been jogging the past two days with my husband and loved it!

My son and a friend also took him for a long walk around the neighborhood and town and so far he has only growled once. Yup, you guessed the guy in the uniform (UPS). In fact, he is so friendly and outgoing, he spent Sunday night in the middle of a room with five thirteen year old boys letting each of them rub his belly and play with him. Can you believe it? What a sweetheart. We are so happy he found us.

Laurie Nowak