The holiday spirit is here! My Christmas gift came early this year when Jon and I decided to visitSmall Miracles Cat & Dog Rescue without any expectations. Maybe to just play with a few pups here and there. Who were we kidding? We were looking to find Jon his first dog. And he found the one after the first step through the door. This is Meeko’s story.
His name was Buddy and 5 years old. Although we feel the birthdate is more of a guess than an actual birthday. It’s suspiciously close to the date he came to the shelter…only 5 years back! A quiet, submissive, beautiful brindle he was. I could have sworn he was some kind of pit puppy, but we were told that he was a Plotthound mix which is a rare and distinct brindle colored breed. I told him let’s look at 2 other dogs just to have options. But he insisted on playing with Buddy first. “Ok babe…it’s your dog.” Except that he’s also part mine muahaha. Buddy didn’t seem to take to us outside. He was more interested in his surrounding environment. They told us he was indifferent toward other dogs and had nothing but hugs and kisses to give. He really only seemed affectionate when he had to be in his kennel. But as I learned from hundreds of episodes of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan…I knew that his calm submissive nature made him a dog who could easily adapt to a new home. Buddy was the first, the last, and the only dog Jon played with. Buddy was ours.
We stopped by Petco (closest to us at the time) and picked up all the essentials for a new dog, as well as, a fresh bath. The entire process took us about 3 hours, so we were excited to finally be able to head home with Buddy.
First big decision…what are we going to change his name to? Buddy never really responded to his name and it just didn’t “fit”. Whatever that meant. So we went through a laundry list of names while he was at the groomer. I looked up popular dog names and said them all out loud until Jon said, “That’s it!” I said the name Meeko.
We took Meeko out for a long walk before going inside and setting up Meeko’s crate so that we could crate train him. It wasn’t too hard as he was already comfortable being in a crate at the shelter. He would come out once and awhile to seek attention but always sought comfort back in his crate. He was afraid. And he wouldn’t eat unless it was from our hand. Jon wanted to play with him so bad, but I told him to be patient. He was in an entirely new setting and all the love we had to give was too overwhelming for a possible former stray.
Meeko didn’t trust Jon at first. He seemed afraid of a male presence. Most of the shelter staff were women so he took to me more. I also had experience with my own dog so I immediately acted as a “pack leader” until Jon was up to speed. It was going to take time teaching Jon about his dog, the needs of the dog’s breed, and a new but rewarding lifestyle. It was by the third day that Jon became doubtful of winning the dog’s affection. I felt his hurt as I saw his new dog ignore him even with food. He was more comfortable with me, but I know he wasn’t 100% himself. It was that same night that with no exaggeration, Meeko snapped. All of a sudden he submitted and turned into the vibrant dog Jon had wanted. We sat there in shock as we saw this dog come alive with personality. We couldn’t believe it and everything finally felt right. I told Jon it would take weeks for the dog to warm up. It happened in 3 long days. We were happy. And more importantly so was Meeko.
It has been 3 weeks since we have had Meeko. Meeko is a fairly small dog despite his appearance. He is only 27 pounds and hits the maximum as a lap dog. We finally saw his true personality after those difficult first days and let me tell you it is no walk in the park! He opened up by urinating and defecating all over the house, jumping on furniture all willy nilly, becoming overly excited and knocking over household items in the process, and curiously picking anything up with his mouth. I see these as great opportunities to mold Meeko into a dog that exhibits good behavior. And the transformation is amazing! He rarely picks anything up now that he shouldn’t be eating; otherwise a quick “No!” does the trick. He still gets excited when mommy or daddy come home, but he sits on command and settles down quickly. Meeko came to us knowing absolutely no commands, and now he knows how to sit, lay down, jump up, and shake! He is learning more and more each day.
One of the more difficult obstacles at the moment is that Meeko has developed a little separation anxiety if one of us leaves for work. BUT it’s still early and we have a ways to go with helping him become a healthy, happy, and balanced dog. All I can say is I love this. I absolutely love this. Think about it…once he’s trained…that’s it. There’s no more work. And I must say I will probably miss it. My own dog Butter is fully house broken and hardly ever gets into any trouble. I love that boy, but the excitement of training a new dog (and ourselves) is incredibly rewarding. Especially when you reach the outcomes you desire and the dog still loves you. It has to mean you are doing something right!
I want to say that we gave Meeko a gift for Christmas by welcoming him into our home. But really he united us as the small family as we are at the moment. He is our gift. I have never experienced rescuing a shelter dog before Meeko. I raised my dog Butter from an 8-week old puppy and he is now my 6-year old baby. And I share the same sentiments with Meeko after only 3 weeks. Although most of my friends and family would argue that I could love any furry animal really. But I wanted to share my experience for anyone who may be considering getting a new puppy and remind you to first stop by your local animal shelter. They sometimes even have puppies there! When these rescue dogs trust you and realize how spoiled they now are, they turn into these adorable giant puppies that you have to train just like an actual puppy. But remember…be prepared for the work and dedication to caring for a dog. They look to you for everything. Whether it be food, water, direction, discipline, commands, medical care, affection, or play time. Give it to them. They deserve it for how much love they will give you in return. But I promise you that they will bring you more joy than you do them. They don’t need much to be happy. They never do.
So please visit your local animal shelter today if you are looking to add a new family member! Small Miracles is a small facility, but has friendly and knowledgeable staff. They will set you up for success with your new pup. And once you get that dog, remember to keep Pupquatics Dog Walking in mind. Our services are here for regular dog walking while you are at work, on vacation, or running home late. We also offer dog sitting services for when you need to get away overnight. You can trust that your dog is in good hands. And maybe he/she will come home to you with a new learned trick. ;-)
Be safe this holiday season.