Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hailey's Adoption Story

Hailey: blue is her color

Pet's name:
Adopted by: Kristen and Drew
From: Catahoula Rescue Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (found through

Kristen writes about life with Hailey at The Hailey Chronicles; you can also find her on Twitter. This is Hailey's story:

In spring of 2010 we said goodbye to our beloved Shih Tzu, Loki, after a yearlong battle with immune-mediated hepatitis causing cirrhosis of the liver. (Say that five times fast!) It had been an emotionally draining year, and at the time we thought we would now be a one-dog family. (At the time we had a Lhasa Apso mix, Gemini—she unfortunately died this summer.) However, as the summer wore on and our grief lifted, we decided to start looking for another dog.

We began the long process of reading about different breeds and looking for breeds that were less likely to have serious health issues. We talked to our vet, and one of the breeds he had recommended was the Schipperke. After reading about the breed, we put it on our "maybe" list. As we were searching through purebreds, I also started toying with the idea of a rescue. My husband had a lot of fair concerns about bringing an older dog with a unknown history into our home; however, he remained open to it.

Then one day when looking at Petfinder, I found a dog listed as a Schipperke mix at Catahoula Rescue Ontario. This dog was living just outside our city! Hailey was an eight-month-old "mystery mix"—best guess part Schipperke—who had been rescued with five other pups from a shelter in Ohio. The other pups had found homes, and Hailey was the last one. She was clearly a very energetic dog who didn't know a lot of commands, but we feel in love, and as they say, the rest is history.

Hailey is very different than our other dogs. She is larger and requires more exercise, but that was one of the reasons I had wanted a dog her size. I hate going to the gym and love to walk, but knew without a walking companion this wasn't going to happen. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I look forward to our long morning walks, as does she. I must say I have lost some weight, have more energy, and am coping with stress better since I got her.

Our Gemini suffered from some anxiety, so we had some experience with this, but Hailey's size and strength has put a twist on it. Hailey had been crate-trained but had also been with several other dogs at her foster home. With us, crate-training failed after she somehow managed to destroy two crates. She has also destroyed numerous other things in our house (the list is long), and every time we think we have cleansed the environment so she can't get anything else, she surprises us with her brilliance.

Regular grooming is a challenge. Even though we work on it at home, getting her nails cut remains an embarrassing adventure, with her screaming and trying to escape. Her fear over this sort of thing made it impossible for the vet to get a blood sample from her. We will continue to work on it and hope she gets used to it or at least hope we get less embarrassed by it! We have made progress—we can brush her with a rubber brush and brush her teeth without her screaming—so maybe there is hope for other things.

We use to have an okay backyard, but Hailey has landscaped it for us. She has destroyed our flower beds and has dug several Hailey-sized holes in them. When given the chance, she takes her toys out and buries them in the holes. One of my new chores on the weekend is washing a load of dirty toys she got outside and repairing holes in them.

For all her challenges, we do love Hailey very much. She is brilliant and full of surprises. There really isn't a dull moment with Hailey around. Nothing in the world makes me happier than watching her run at the park (well, when she is running to me and not away), and she is so loving and snuggly and cute. (These are the factors that save her some days!)

While at times I think I was crazy to get her, I can't imagine my life without her. I know in the future when I want another dog, it will also be a rescue. Maybe she has been more work because we didn't get her at six or eight weeks. Maybe another dog will have other issues due to a not so pleasant past. Those are all challenges I am willing to take on, because I know there are thousands and thousands of dogs looking for someone to love them, and the reward for doing the work (the love), is more valuable than anything she could destroy.

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