Thursday, September 8, 2016

16 in 2016: Get a Dog!

When we moved to Ft. Langley about 18 months ago, we notified the owners of our rental suite that we were interested in-at some point- getting a mid-sized dog. Thankfully (hallelujah!) they were okay with that, since the previous tenants had a large-breed dog. 

Another one of our 16 in 2016 goal list was to get a dog. This has been a looooong time in the making, and our kids are absolutely over the moon with their new pet dog, Copper.



When we were ready to get a dog, we had a few stipulations: we wanted to get a dog from a shelter (the pure-breds in this area are outrageously expensive, even for very common breeds), the kids had to show us they were responsible enough to help out with the chores like picking up poop, feeding, running around/exercise, and spending time training. The last thing we were waiting for was to get back from vacation, so we could have a solid 6 weeks of assimilating the dog into our home until we were back 'in the thick' of things with homeschooling, etc. These last few weeks of summer have been some of our kids' most memorable.


When we told the kids we were going to the Bellingham shelter after church one day we were explaining over and over that we were just looking, because we didn't have an interest in any of the dogs that were on their website. This guy, however, wasn't even listed yet, and when we found him, we couldn't believe no one else was in line to look at him, especially because the shelter was packed when we went.


The shelter makes matching dogs + owners really easy with a detailed description on their info sheet outside of each dog's kennel. When we went into the busy shelter, and walked around and saw all the dogs at first glance, the rest of the dogs were jumping up, barking, growling, etc. and this guy was calmly laying down, wagging his tail, which is a very good sign of the personality of a dog. A calm dog is highly desirable for a pet.


Bringing a dog home from a local shelter is not only helping animals who are strays, or surrendered from owners (Copper was a stray and picked up) from being neighborhood problems, but it's also ensured that the dog is fixed, microchipped, 'cleaned out' from various issues (they deworm, preventative meds, etc.) and updated with vaccines including rabies. It's very affordable, as well. Copper cost us $85 as an adopt fee, whereas in BC, the local shelters are over $300 for the same services! We were only considering dogs found in WA because of the cost alone.


Copper is a Rottie-lab mix and has the coloring of a rottweiler (which makes his Disney-inspired name work, because of his copper-colored 'socks'), and the build of a lab. He's so friendly with people and will let even small children from the park bop him on the head and he'll just keep his tail wagging. We had a bit of trouble putting him in a kennel and for two weeks I thought maybe we'd be evicted because he wouldn't stop barking the entire time we'd be gone. We bought a sonic egg and now we just hook him up with his leash around the couch and he can sleep on his blanket and be right next to his water dish. They haven't heard a peep out of him and so this solution has worked wonders! We wonder if he was abused at some point with a kennel, because the minute we brought him home, he averted the kennel under all circumstances!


Copper was a stray when the shelter picked him up, but certainly someone must have worked with him beforehand, because he knew a few commands, is very friendly with people, and is very well-behaved. He's estimated to be about 18 months, and dogs aren't on the streets for that long without being picked up by animal control. He must have been dumped or ran away though we'll never know. He is an excellent walker (even with the kids won't pull), loves the chuck-it, and is getting trained to wear a pack and hike with us, and goes on near-daily runs with Stefan and the kids on bikerides! We have to be careful around other dogs, though, as he is not very well socialized and can get aggressive with other dogs very quickly, and can escalate to dog fights if we're not vigilant with his body language. Unfortunate, because dogs like having dog friends to play with. We'll get there, but that is the only 'bad' part of his personality. He is, overall, a fantastic dog, and with lowered expectations knowing he was a stray, he has far surpassed where we thought he'd be in only three weeks!
He has found his forever family and we couldn't be more thrilled! I think the shelter would like to know he is being well-cared for, and has found his pack. 

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