Shelter Stars - August 2019
- Story and photos by Lisa Monti
The dogs in my life have been mutts with the exception of my previous pet, a West Highland White Terrier who came with papers from a breeder. Magnolia lived the good life for 13 years, even those months we spent in a cramped FEMA trailer after Katrina. My other dogs shared Terrier-mixed breed qualities: a manageable size, a casual attitude and that classic kind-of-a-Terrier look.
That’s what I was looking for in a new dog 13 years ago when I found on an online photo of a happy looking white puppy at a local shelter. I used my lunch break to go meet “Brody,” and soon I was signing the adoption papers. The next day he came home in his new kennel on the back seat along with a bag of dog accessories, food and treats.
The shelter estimated his age at 9 months, so I pinned the high energy level on his youth. It wasn’t until I read the paperwork more closely that I learned his owners had given Brody up because he was “too active.” Their loss, I thought optimistically. Here was a perfectly fine pup, a bit rambunctious and rough around the edges but ready for a second chance.
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On the way home, Brody became Boudreaux, a nickname my family affectionately applied to small children. He didn’t seem to notice the name change as we both worked on getting used to our new living arrangement.
On those first few days, I’d leave him in the kennel until I got home from work in the evening. After some play time, he’d go back in the kennel to sleep. On about day four, when the sound of car keys meant kenneling up, Boudreaux disappeared under the bed and couldn’t be coaxed out. If he felt that strongly, I thought, I’d gamble on this unknown guy and give him the freedom to roam the house all day. Turns out, he behaved perfectly. Nothing was out of place, chewed up or wet. After that, the kennel was stored in the garage. I had really lucked out with this one, I thought gratefully.
There were adjustments to make, of course. He’s not a tall dog or overly curious, but I quickly learned that Boudreaux could access places a Westie could not. One morning I left a cup of coffee on an end table and came back to find it empty. Under caffeinated and confused, I couldn’t imagine what had happened until I noticed the dog panting happily with coffee stains on his face. His next attempt – to get a glass of wine – was averted.
The high energy level of my new puppy was a challenge, especially trying to teach him to walk on a leash. He darted and jerked and yanked in every direction, giving me a full body workout trying to keep up. If I didn’t match his movement, the leash would ensnare my arm or legs. People watching our erratic motion would get a laugh, asking who was walking who, as if they couldn’t tell.
We haven’t missed many daily walks in these almost 13 years, and the credit mostly goes to Boudreaux, who’s never too tired, or too hot or too cold to walk our one-mile route to the beach and back. He still tugs on the leash to pull ahead, but he walks mostly in a straight line, stopping at his favorite spots to “read the mail,” as an old neighbor used to call the sniffing that dogs do.
For the most part, Boudreaux has been low maintenance with the exception of grooming (our haircuts cost the same) and a regular supply of treats. At 13 years, he can be grumpy if the treats don’t come fast enough or the door isn’t opened quickly enough. His hearing is about gone, the eyesight isn’t as sharp as it was and he takes pills every day for pain. Jumping up on the furniture isn’t an option anymore, so he sleeps on a rug or squeezes himself under the bed if the weather is bad.
But even at his advanced age, Boudreaux is still a fierce protector of the fence line, barking loudest at bikes and golf carts. And he still likes to ride shotgun when it’s time for a vet appointment or haircut, paws on the dashboard, scouting for anything that gets near. From that first solo day he spent at home13 years ago, Boudreaux has never tried to get into the trash or eat shoes or gnaw on furniture, as some of his predecessors did. His worst habit, honestly, is digging extra deep holes in various spots in the yard to cool off in on summer days. As much as he loves to soak in the water at the beach, he never used his own small plastic swimming pool except as a giant water bowl.
The two of us have covered many a mile on our walks, and we’ve met some very nice people and their pets, including lots of rescues. More than a few people have asked me what kind of dog Boudreaux is, given his mixed background. I use a line that a fellow dog rescuer told me years ago. “He’s a lucky dog. That’s what he is.”
Hancock County Adoptables
Presley and Phoebe
PRESLEY & PHOEBE are six-month-old Hound mix puppies, surrendered by their owner due to the death of his wife, and his inability to care for them any longer. They are rather docile at the moment, but their shyness is to be expected under these unfortunate circumstances. They are, however, very sweet-natured and are beautiful in their markings and coloring. Presley is the reddish-brown and white cutie on the left, and his sister Phoebe is predominantly white with brown brindle patches. We resisted the urge to names her Patches! Lol! They are good with adult dogs and seem uninterested in our shelter kitties. They will likely require house, crate, and leash training, but the effort will be well worth it. In return, you will receive a lifetime of unconditional love and companionship from these pups.
Our adult dog/puppy adoption fee is $75, which includes worming, spay/neuter, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. An approved adoption application always applies!
Mighty Mouse's adoption fee is $37.50, which includes worming, neutering, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Heartworm status is unknown. An approved adoption application always applies!
HARLEY is a sweet-natured 12 month old German Shepherd/Doberman Pinscher mix, who came to us as a stray, but she seems to have been part of a family rather recently. She came in very clean and in good condition, plus she has a wonderful temperament. We think she's pretty cute, too, with those little fuzzy-wuzzy caterpillar eyebrows! Lol! We hope her stay with us will be brief, and that her second chance family will come her way soon. Harley has been very sweet and outgoing with our staff and volunteers, and she is playful and friendly with the other dogs in her living area. She was a star at our recent adoption event at Pet Smart. She is a bona fide lap dog, and loves kiddos of all ages. She would be very happy to be part of a family with kiddos, and take on the role of confidant and best friend. She made many new doggie pals at Pet Smart and could easily join a home with existing family dogs. We are unsure yet if Harley is house or crate trained, but she has yet to have an accident. Harley looks forward to daily walks and is great on a leash/harness. She sits for treats and is eager to please. We think she is very smart, too! Please stop by and meet Harley. She may be just the furry friend you've been looking for!?
Harley's adoption fee is $75, which includes worming, spaying, vaccinations, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Heartworm status is unknown. An approved adoption application always applies!
ARIEL is one of the sweetest dogs that you'll ever meet. She is beautiful, too, but our photos just haven't captured her unique gold eyes and "chocolate drop" of a nose. Ariel obviously gave much of herself to nursing puppies, but she is steadily gaining weight, and we are ensuring that she receives high protein food and lots of treats. She simply exudes love and kindness, which extends to other dogs as well. She is able to be paired with any of our other dogs for playtime in our doggie exercise yard, and she is always welcoming and friendly. She is, however, far more interested in the company of humans. She truly loves people! Ariel would be a particularly wonderful dog for a single person/couple, seeking a loyal companion. She is likely 2-3 yrs of age, so she is rather calm in nature, but very much enjoys going for walks and playing. She is great with kiddos of all ages, so she could easily join a home with children and pets. We are unsure yet if Ariel is house or crate trained, but she keeps her kennel pretty clean both here at the shelter and at our weekly adoption event at Pet Smart. Please visit this lovable girl, and discover what we know: Ariel has heart of gold!
Ariel's adoption fee is $37.50, which includes worming, spaying, vaccinations, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Heartworm status is unknown. An approved adoption application always applies!
BUZZ has the "head tilt" down pat, doesn't he? This adorable 8-month-old Labrador Retreiver/American Staffordshire Terrier mix puppy is innately sweet, loves attention and affection, and despite being a youngster among mostly adult dogs, he is incredibly confident and upbeat. He loves going for walks, and looks forward every day to playing in our exercise yard. We find that he does best when walked using a harness. Buzz would be an awesome addition to any family large or small, or fill the role of BFF for a single person/couple or active retirees, looking for a fun-loving buddy to share adventures. Buzz is great with other dogs and sweet with kiddos of all ages. He is also super smart and learned both the "sit" and "down" commands in just one afternoon! This cute fella appears to be house and crate trained, but additional training may be required. He is, however, always well behaved in his crate at PetSmart, especially when he has lots of toys to amuse himself. FYI: Buzz is crazy for toys, so be sure he has a whole toy box full of toys!
The rewards of the love and companionship this fella will bring you, is worth the responsibilities of puppy training. We hope you'll consider giving Buzz his forever home...he promises to love you "to infinity and beyond!"