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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pound Puppies and the Owners Who Love Them

I visit Just Another Pretty Farce and ran across an interesting article that I'm surprised I agree with. Blogger Kat advised her readers against getting shelter dogs. Despite having a shelter dog, I agree with her.

Colby, our 10 year old Husky-German Shepherd-Rottweiler, came to our home six years ago after living in an animal shelter after his family gave him up. He is our first dog and he came with some surprises.

First, he loves to eat paper. Newspaper, magazines, boxes, books...if it's paper, he will eat it. On one of his first paper munching adventures, he managed to eat my hard-to-find copy of Ka-Tzetnik's House of Dolls and a book signed by John Irving. He aims for the good stuff.

Colby napping after making a mess.

Second, Colby has some unique health issues. He has blisters under his tongue, compulsively licks his front paws, has a low white blood cell count and a seizure disorder. After spending money and visiting an expert vet or two, no one can explain why he has any of these problems. Talk about frustrating.

So why do I keep this old pound puppy with his host of medical issues? 

If you've ever met him, and many of my readers have, you know what makes him special. Despite having what seems to be a lot of illnesses, Colby is a happy dog and if he's sick, he doesn't know it. He keeps up with our 4 year old German Shepherd quite easily; tugging on toys and chasing her in the yard. He loves to play and for a hot dog, he'll do any trick he knows. Not only does he make me happy, but people around us love him as well. He's gentle to everyone. We have a list of people who have seriously told us that they would take him if we ever needed to find him a new home and children have named their stuffed dogs in his honor. Plain and simple, he is just a big, loveable dog. He even loves our cat.

Colby and Frankie, waiting for food together.

Despite my love for Colby, I still advise that you avoid getting a dog from the shelter IF you are not ready to spend extra money and possibly deal with some behavior issues. You might save money up front but, in the long run, it might be far more expensive. Too many dogs end up back at the shelter or misplaced because the owners were not prepared for the commitment. If you are ready to love and care for an animal despite the problems it may have, the shelter is the right place to get your pet.

So do I regret getting a dog with so many issues? Not even a little bit. He makes me smile everyday and I can't put a price on that.