My love for dogs came from my mother. We always had at least one dog in our household while growing up. And they weren’t dogs who lived outside. They were inside dogs and they were family. My mom didn’t care whether a dog was a mutt or a purebred. It didn’t matter if they came with issues. She loved them all the same.
Animal rescue groups were virtually unheard of at this time – at least in the area that we lived. The only place for stray dogs was the pound where animals were put to sleep daily. My mom could never let that happen. Whenever she found a stray dog, she took it in and tried to give them a good home. Sometimes we kept the dog for our family and sometimes we didn’t. I remember having at least six dogs at one time, but my mom says there were times when we had more.
My mom was a very social person and so a lot of people knew her well and knew her for a dog lover. So whenever someone in town needed to find a new home for their dog, or if they found a stray, or if they were looking to get a new dog for their family, my mom’s friends would direct these people to her.
When my mom gave some of the dogs away, she did not have them fixed or get them their shots like todays rescue groups would. But she didn’t charge them either. The dogs were free to a good home. And yes, my mom did what she could to make sure the dogs were given to good homes. There was no application process but my mom said no to certain people.
We have had so many dogs come through our household so there is no way I could tell you about them all. But here are a few special ones. There was Lady, a black Labrador that my mom found while out deer hunting. My mom put an ad in the paper and put up signs in the area but no one ever claimed Lady so we kept her. There was an Afghan Hound that someone had given up. The dog had been an outside dog so my mom worked with her to make her more social and to potty train her before finding her a good home. There was the Mastiff and/or Pit Bull mix named Squash. He belonged to our neighbor who left him outside on a short and thick chain 24 hours a day. When they moved, they left Squash behind. My mom took him in, potty trained him, and made him a great family pet. There was also my beloved Cassie who was a Shetland Sheepdog. Her owners gave her up and she became my dog. And there was a German Shorthaired Pointer named Frog Lips who was given up because his owner was in bad health. The owner who had to give him said that he had found this dog on the side of a road with an ax in his head and his eye gouged out. Frog Lips lived a good many years with his rescuer before his rescuer got sick. And we had him for a few years more.
My mom never got rid of a dog because of their issues. If a dog had too many issues to just give away, my mom generally kept them. Frog Lips was a good example. He had severe separation anxiety and tore up a lot of stuff over the years. So it was from my mom that I learned to love dogs and to treat them like family. Although I don’t rescue dogs like she does, I have been known to take in strays and keep my dogs for life.
Do you have a dog hero in your life? Where did you learn your love for dogs? We’d love to hear your story!