What's in a name?  Truly, my generation gap is showing.  When I first talked with Remy's former owner, I assumed that "Remy" referred to a fine French cognac.  I thought the name had a certain Rat Pack panache.  Later, I learned from Remy's twenty-something adopter, Caroline, that the name reference was most likely to her favorite X-Men comic book hero and had probably been selected by the pre-teen boy who shared Remy's former home.  Much as I love allusions to popular culture, this one went right over my head.  My idea of comic books is still Archie, Jughead and Little Lotta.

At the age of two, Remy had already lead a comic book life.  His owner was already trying to sell him in the classifieds.  After receiving a few lackluster offers, Remy's owner contacted us for help.  We were never entirely clear as to the reason for Remy's surrender... a divorce brewing, a move in progress, no dogs allowed in the new digs....we've heard it all before.  Our attempt to piece together some sort of coherent story for Remy's available page was met with displeasure by the former owner, who felt we had wronged him.  Indeed, we received a nasty email complaining about our website content.

I wish I had a nickel for every time that an owner who has surrendered a dog to us expressed anger over our online comments.  The anonymous former owners who expect our website to paint a sanitized picture of them for the web must misunderstand the priorities of rescue. We are here for the dogs. It is necessary for us to pre-empt the inevitable adopter question, "What's wrong with this dog...why does he need rescue,"  That is the million dollar question.  There is rarely anything wrong with the dog.

Here's another million dollar question:  "Is there any valid reason why a sweet, two year old dog should wind up in rescue?"  What's the problem, exactly....lack of foresight, lack of understanding that a dog is a fifteen year -- at least -- commitment, lack of understanding that the puppy years can be horrendous?  Is it simply sufficient to say that "S**t Happens?"  Is moving a valid reason?  Personally, I think not.  I have lived in rental accommodations for 16 years in three states with three Eskies.  If you want to keep your dog...there are options...including behavior modification, obedience training, daycare, etc.

The point is...perhaps there was a valid reason for surrender in Remy's case, or perhaps not, but, if you multiply this one situation by the hundreds of thousands of owners who dump their dogs into private rescues, shelters and animal control facilities each year, you can imagine the colossal, unmanageable and expensive mess faced by private and public groups.  At some point, it is impossible not to shiver with outrage and indignation at our culture's pass the buck mentality.

And so, breed rescue serves not only the dogs of owners who are in dire straits and genuinely need our help, but also to correct others' mistakes by interceding on the dog's behalf and finding him or her a more appropriate home.  And, we certainly succeeded in Remy's case.  After interviewing Caroline, there was no question that this amazing young woman is a world class human being, with the intelligence and character to trump many of her dog dumping elders.
After a short stint in foster care, with one of our Maine foster mom's, Theresa, we brought Remy down to meet his new mom.  Caroline and Remy have had quite a ride together, and she has kept in touch with all of their exploits.  Remy is now beginning agility training and we see a championship on his horizon soon!
Here are some of Caroline's reports:

September 9, 2008

Hi Denise,

I just wanted to send you a quick update (I'll probably be sending you quite a bit this week, and pictures as things progress :)).

Remy is a doll. He is sweet, calm, and amazingly well-mannered. Considering that he is still young, and lacked proper training, he definitely pays attention to corrections and picks up on things quickly. He actually knows how to sit on command, so it seems there may have  been some very basic training involved at some point in his history.

When he came up last night he had a fun time sniffing everything. I kept his leash attached and after exploring he started coming up to me. This took about ten minutes, and since then (until I left to work this morning), he's been at my side, following me everywhere. I introduced him to the cat as well last night, and it was amazing how well he did. They came nose to nose and sniffed each other and then proceeded to do other things (he explore, the cat to lounge).

The cat still seems a little weary of Remy, as he isn't meowing and purring constantly like usual, (and Remy is somewhat curious about the cat), but they were okay resting about a foot away from each other. I don't think the cat is at all afraid of Remy, but is more baffled at to who this new addition is making himself at home in his territory. :) The cat only hissed at him three times last night, and Remy, such a respectful boy, was good about not pushing his limits with Capone. At one point, this morning though, the cat flipped on his back and gave Remy his tummy, wiggling around. Remy sort of sniffed him and plopped down next to him. I take this as a good sign. I still don't plan to leave them alone together for now; as Remy was more curious about the cat this morning (less nervous than last night), and tried to play with him a little by jumping on him (as if he were another dog). The cat didn't like that too much, but simply went to the window to relax after I corrected Remy's behavior.

I took Remy out to relieve himself last night as well, and used the bathroom. Then this morning we walked around the park for about 40 min. and he did really well (and used the bathroom again, which I think is a good sign after all the stress he's been going through!). He does need to be taught better leash manners (as he pulls), but at the moment he is manageable, and, as I mentioned earlier, does pay attention when you give him corrections.

There were only two things that I noticed last night that gave me some concern. He was extremely shy of people and startled very easily. People who pass him by give him the best compliments and ask me where I got him, and what type of dog he is, and I make sure to tell them. But, no matter how nice or calm the people were,  even if Remy had given them a sniff when they passed, as soon as he noticed them coming closer to him (or when they'd slowly try to reach out to pet him) he'd back up, tail between his legs, and curl into himself. As he was shy when he first met me too, and is not comfortable with me, I'm hoping this might be from the stress of all his moving around, rather than because he was hit or abused in any way by his previous owners. He could simply have a naturally shy temperament, but I want to make sure he's not anxious and is calm and happy (instead of shy and nervous) around new people, so I'll be working on this with him.

I will of course be enrolling him in obedience training and working with him myself. At the moment he seems like he's doing okay. He slept next to my bed last night (the cat on the bed with me), and didn't move an inch all night (he must have been exhausted).

After his walk, I left him with his water, a little bit of food, crate, and toys in the bedroom (doggy-proofed). He didn't bark when I shut the door, but did make very light whiny sounds. That may have been, though, because the cat was sniffing at him through the door - or because he was lonely. Hopefully, he isn't the kind to bark when I'm gone (as long as no neighbors complain I'll take that as a sign he didn't). I'm already arranging for a dog walker, so hopefully starting later this week (as I want to do a meet and greet with them first, and do a trial walk with all of us together) he won't have to be indoors all day. I'm going to see how he does when I get back, but am completely prepared in case he had any accidents. :)

Hope you had a safe drive back last night,


October 7, 2008
Hi Denise,

Just wanted to let you know that since the last time we spoke, Remy is doing much better. His skin issues have cleared up, the irritation/inflammation around his eyes is gone, and his itchy skin seems to not be itchy anymore. He still chews/licks on his feet - but doesn't scratch like before - so that part is still a mystery.

It seems that with the start of the cold weather a few days ago, Remy got a boost of energy and self-confidence that I hadn't seen before. When we go outside now you can tell that he wants to play and run around. I run him around the park until he gets tired to make up for the fact that I won't let him off leash to play with the other dogs as the park isn't fenced in. He's more social now, going up to dogs and smelling them and trying to play with them at times. He's even gained the courage to bark a few times while he's outside (still hardly ever barks inside).

We're still working on leash behaviors - he walks nicely except when he gets excited - at which point he still pulls really hard. But to be honest, he has gotten a lot better at it than when we first started. Luckily, I come armed with treats and, while not completely perfect at it just yet, he now knows sit, stay, and come. He recognizes 'no', and he now gives me whatever he has in his mouth without a huge struggle like before (takes a few minutes, but much better than before). I'm going to start to teach him 'drop' next to make that easier, which I'll probably do with treats. I just wanted to make sure that he would first learn to see me as the 'leader' and relinquish his things to me, before teaching him the command of 'drop' in another manner.

Anyways, that's a quick update for you! I will send you some pictures as soon as my computer is fixed (I am writing to you from work now :)), and another update - which, if you want, you can post as an adoption story at that point. I always check up on your website and notice that you have a few new dogs in, so I can imagine you're very busy - but I hope things are going well for you and all the dogs you are helping.


November 12, 2008
Hi Denise,

I hope you've been doing well! Remy has been doing great and is no longer shy of dogs (or most people) and is socializing well with them.


February 23, 2009
Hi Denise,
I'm sending you a quick update about Remy.
He has been doing just great and has been a wonderful addition to my life. He's more confident and learns very quickly. My favorite command with him is "Toy", which when given prompts him to look around until he finds one of his toys and brings it directly to you. I just recently taught him "In" for his crate and am continually working on "come" (which is the only command he's not 100% on, esp. outside). His leash behaviors have improved a lot, he only pulls now when he really has to pee and can't wait to go outside. He's made a few new friends around the area (a gang of three young male puggles haha), though I swear the only dogs who don't like him are females (the only dogs who have ever tried to attack him are females at that :)).

Remy just turned two on Feb. 2nd. There is a new Canine Cognition lab established at Harvard (in the psychology department I used to work and study in) and I am trying to get Remy enrolled (he already passed their vaccination screening). I think that it will be extremely mentally stimulating for Remy, as Eskies are quick to learn and highly intelligent. You can see the Web site here, everything is non-invasive and done with positive reinforcement: (  It is run by a Professor I know and I am quite excited about it, as it'll be fascinating to learn how much Remy is able to understand about the world around him.
I'm attaching a few picture of Remy and Capone hanging out together.
I hope all has been going well with the Rescue,
Thank you for matching me with Remy,