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Dogs from rescue groups can no doubt be a challenge, but my husband and I have found a rescued dog’s bond is gripped strong from deep inside his heart.
One of our dogs had passed away, and we knew we wanted to adopt another dog from a rescue group so my husband began to peruse the websites. We found a 2-year-old dog described as a Feist terrier. My husband visited the dog at the foster home. The dog sat by my husband for the whole interview as if he knew he was going to be adopted. The foster mom brought the Feist terrier to our home to meet our other dog and kids and we were approved for adoption.
Our kids named him Kipper, changed from Sokka. Kipper was a very fearful and anxious dog. He had been abandoned with his mother and siblings as a puppy because their owner went to prison. The dogs had been left alone and only survived by tearing open dog food bags. After police found the dogs (sadly they almost shot the dogs), he was taken to a shelter and eventually to the foster home.
Kipper was even afraid of simple acts like putting on or taking off his collar or leash. Nail trims required leather gloves that were resistant to bites as he was in attack mode. He would defecate and pee in the sink during baths, so we gave up on baths for a while. He would slink away to hide after such procedures, but he would always forgive us and come back.
The strong bond is obvious between my husband and Kipper. Kipper jumps up to chest level into my husband’s arms and just go nuts when my husband comes home. He follows my husband around the house wherever he goes. Kipper has developed a specific whimper for my husband when he sees him outside pleading for him to come back in. He does four short whimpers and one longer high pitched whimper at the end, the same each time. He hates to be separated from him.
Lost and FOUND
About three months after adopting Kipper, we took him to a cabin in northern Minnesota for a vacation. We decided to go out on the boat one day and bring the kids to the island. We knew we needed to keep Kipper at the cabin due to his extreme fear of water. My sister decided to go back earlier than us to put her toddler down for a nap. She offered to let the dogs out which we assumed would be okay with a leash.
While still on the island we got a panicked call from my sister. She had put all three dogs on leashes at the same time. Kipper freaked out, bit her hand and pulled a Houdini as he slipped out of his collar backwards and took off lightning fast into the woods. She had called for him, but he was gone, and naked without a collar.
We were scared we would never see our Kipper again.
Kipper was most comfortable with our family, so we knew each search party should have a member of our family in it. My sister went with my 8-year-old son, my husband went in the truck with my brother-in-law, and I went alone.
Since Kipper had slipped out of his collar, he had no visible identification. He did have an embedded microchip, but with his irrational tendency and ability to run fast, we knew no one would be able to get close to him to scan his microchip. We feared he’d die alone in the woods. He was such a skittish dog, we knew he would never go up to any strangers for help.
We trekked around for three hours calling Kipper’s name. We feared he would get hit by a car or just get lost and die of starvation or dehydration. We wanted to find him by dark. A few people had spotted him zoom by in the woods, but that was our only lead.
After I had walked as far as I could, I started back for the cabin, praying to God to help us find him. My sister and son had returned to the cabin. They had spotted Kipper and almost touched him once, but he would not let them catch him.
We brainstormed trying to come up with another plan when my husband and brother-in-law appeared in the truck. They had Kipper in the front seat with them. Relief and great joy filled me to see him safe with my husband. My husband told us how they went everywhere, but never saw him. Until one time, they were close enough for Kipper to hear my husband’s voice. After fleeing from everyone who had called him, Kipper heard my husband’s voice and came running as fast as he could down a driveway, and he jumped into my husband’s arms. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were that my husband happened to be in the right spot when Kipper was near enough to hear his voice.
Their bond was the key to finding him.
Part of the family and trust building
Today Kipper is a part of our family and he trusts us. We can easily do baths and nail trims without biting. He has relaxed enough so we can go to the vet without an anxiety reaction or sedation. We’ve recently even been able to get his new harness on him so he can take comfortable walks. He is so loving and after four years still has such a strong attachment to my husband and now to our whole family. He loves to snuggle and he will snuggle all day if my husband sits with him. We are in a good place. It’s amazing how he has come such a long way in losing many of his irrational fears.
We are so thankful to the lifesaving rescue groups. We have adopted three dogs from rescue groups over the years. The rescue group we got Kipper from, MARS, was so overjoyed to hear our story of his loss and rescue and his continued bond with my husband and our family. We are so lucky to have him.
Rescue dogs can become a valuable member of a family if just given the time, the love, and the patience we should give them. They deserve it.
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