We all remember that day – the day our best friend came home. Were they what you had always expected, or did they find you by surprise? Did you search long, or did they just find you? Who chose who? Did you find each other at a shelter? A breeder? On line? On the street? While each path may have been different, one thing is the same: we all remember exactly how they came to be ours (and how we came to be theirs).
While discussing this with a friend today, I got an urge to explore this further – and a new project was born! This is great timing, with Where Walter Wandered just wrapping up. However, this is a project that I simply cannot do alone – I need your help! I want to hear your Gotcha stories, in your own words. If you would like to take part, please email me at email@example.com with “Gotcha” in the subject line. Include your name and the name of your hound, 2 photos* and tell me (in up to around 500 words) how you found each other. Each day I will choose and draw one of the submissions, and post them here**. To kick things off, I have the Gotcha Tale of the one and only Studio Hound, of Blockhead Craftwerks fame(?).
Sadie – 4(ish) year old dachshund/beagle thing
“I always had a fairly clear idea of what kind of dog I would adopt, when I was ready for a dog. Something over 60lbs, gregarious and able to travel to work with me, hang out at neighborhood cafes in the summer and participate in education and therapy visits; probably a pit-type or Great Pyrenees. While I waited, my partner and I fostered dogs (and other animals). 1, 5, 8, 10 … they came and went, and we held strong and didn’t keep any of them. One day, at work, this cute little 5 month old hound appeared, surrendered because her family was moving away. I honestly don’t remember a whole lot, other than rolling my eyes a little and being certain that she would fly out of there, that people would probably fight over her. She did get adopted quickly, but then a few months later she was back, her new family going through a foreclosure and unable to keep her. I was a little surprised, but she was under a year and stinking cute and, again, out she went….only to come back again a month later, reportedly for doing poorly with the resident cat. This time, at nearly a year, she caught my attention – she was more withdrawn, a little jumpy. I took her to a promotional event, where she appeared more anxious than she had previously. She was adopted again, this time explaining that some new behaviors seemed to be starting, likely due to the repeat surrenders, and to take things slowly. Amazingly, she came back again … three hours later. For reasons we cannot understand, these folks decided, in those three short hours, to not only give her a bath but to take her to a dog park and push her into not one, but two altercations with other dogs (they were instructed to avoid other dogs as she was becoming increasingly anxious around them). At this point I was fully involved and began working with her to try to counteract her shutting down. I contacted rescue, but she was neither beagle enough nor dachshund enough for breed rescue, and while basset rescue wanted to help, they were full. We finally found another home-an amazing young family who had just lost their geriatric pup and wanted another canine companion for their 4 year old daughter. They seemed like a perfect match, and I remember watching them drive off, Sadie in the father’s lap. 3 weeks later, however, they called up, reporting that, while Sadie was perfect, their daughter was not as prepared as they thought for an energetic young dog and the match was not going to work out. I will admit at this point to some choice expletives. My partner and I decided to try to make her foster number 12, even though we doubted things would work out with our cat and free range rabbits (she was a hound, after all). Her first night, two things became very evident: 1) she was perfectly fine with cats AND rabbits and 2) she had developed severe separation anxiety in the course of all of her surrendering. We buckled down to a long road of treatment and the rest, as they say, is history! She may only tip the scales at about 30lbs, and she certainly can’t handle cafes or schools, but we love her just the same and can’t imagine life (or a studio) without her!”
*Please make sure you have all creative rights to the photo (no professional portraits). Try to submit clear, complete (no cropping off half the face, please) photos, as high a resolution as possible.
**I will randomly select submissions – there is no guarantee when your submission will be selected and posted. Pieces may be available for purchase at a later date, but not immediately – I will need to hold on to all works until the project is finished and all pieces are photographed/scanned for publication.