Tomorrow will be Daisy’s adopt-a-versary. That’s right, the day after Christmas! I had looked at free dogs at the local SPCA, but all that was left were big dogs: pit bulls, overweight standard Dachshunds, and other large mixed breeds. I gave up on the “free dog” idea and came home to look online at my local ARF. Tony La Russa started his rescue foundation years ago, hand-selecting the most adoptable dogs from kill shelters and sprucing them up for adoption. Now ARF is a world-class facility with dog and cat condominiums – glass enclosures for optimum viewing — and a posh training pavilion.
What a year we’ve had. Pepper, the adopted-as-a-puppy rescue, looked at me sideways when I loaded Daisy into a crate in my car. I was required to bring her to ARF to meet Daisy before I was allowed to take the 2nd dog home. She growled at the new dog for fifteen miles. Who was this intruder taking up space in Pepper’s secure little world?
Little did I know what I’d signed up for. The seemingly shy dog was really a headstrong Jack Russell, shell-shocked by being surrendered once for the Napa fire, again for reasons unknown. I found out later she had been named Idgie, then Gingersnap, and finally I called her Daisy.
The first night I locked Daisy in a crate, and after crying and fighting for several minutes, she got out. I was too tired to put her back. So she slept on the floor of my bedroom. The next morning, I discovered that the crate was still locked. She squeezed her way out, somehow.
Two female dogs can be a problem. I assumed that the bigger lab mix would be the clear Alpha dog, but Daisy had other ideas. The vet assured me that one dog might be Alpha for food while the other one could be Alpha for beds. Daisy had the bad habit of growling when she wanted Pepper’s spot. Daisy bossed her around until one night Pepper had had enough and barked at her instead of jumping down.
Playing ball with the duo turned out to be a problem. I learned to take the dogs to the park next to my house one at a time, each getting full ball time with no fights. I learned the hard way that Pepper would not give up her Alpha position when it came to a ball, and Daisy would not relinquish the ball, even when rolled onto her back with Pepper’s big paw on her chest. It happened twice. The last time it happened, Daisy kept fighting, and Pepper bit her and punctured the skin again. I finally turned the hose on them to get them to stop. So much for the Go, Dog, Go automatic ball launcher I’d bought for them. It caused more trouble than it was worth.
Daisy wins lap time with me, and Pepper is cool with that (I am, too, since Pepper weighs 46 pounds). Pepper gets her bowl of food set down in front of her first, and Daisy is okay with that, as long as her food gets set down ASAP. Daisy is a little chub, weighing more than the 17 pounds she weighed the day I took her home.
My adult kids came over for Christmas Eve, and Daisy tolerated being held and danced with by my youngest daughter. She might have even liked it.
Pepper sleeps in the beige recliner, and Daisy climbs into my bed. I wasn’t happy about that at first, but she wore me down. Now that it’s cold, I have a furry little heating pad.
When Daisy misbehaves in the park or doesn’t want to meet a child or another dog, I always say, “She’s a three-time rescue dog.” Maybe she was only rescued twice; I will never know for sure.
Daisy is the fastest, silkiest-coated, highest-jumping dog I have ever owned. I can play ball with her in the park and know that she will come back to me. Her days of trying to escape are over. As a matter of fact, her favorite thing to do when she gets the ball is to run home, where she waits for me on the porch. She paws at the door, wanting in.
Come inside, Daisy, to your forever home.