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PetPlace.com Blogs: Dream Dog

By: Jen J.

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Name: Jennifer
Occupation: Elementary School Teacher
Location: Columbus, Ohio

I am a first time dog owner that is learning day by day. I love to tell everyone that will listen about my adoption experience. I was starting to fear that my friends were getting tired of hearing all about Finnegan, my precious 13 month old Wheaten Terrier, when, Petplace.com commissioned this space so that I can share this experience with all of you (maybe I won't bore my friends so much anymore). I hope you enjoy hearing our story.


The Search

My search for a dog all started about one year ago. Because I didn't have a certain type of dog in mind I did an online "dog match" quiz to try to figure out what breed would fit into my lifestyle the best. To my surprise Wheaten Terrier came up as a good match.

I'd never heard of the breed so I wasn't so sure about them. I like to plan and research any big decisions in my life so it took me several months to just learn and absorb as much as I could about the breed. The more I read the more I agreed that a Wheaten seemed like it would be a perfect match for me.

Now I had to find a Wheaten-no easy task. Breeders seemed to have long waiting lists and high prices (over $1,000 for a purebred). After my sister and brother-in-law adopted an adorable Sharpei, named Max, a few years ago I found out that there are dogs all over the country living in foster homes and shelters while they wait for a permanent home. So, my mind was made up and I started to look for Wheaten rescue sites online. I found two and sent them my adoption application about 6 months ago. I was discouraged at first because many of the dogs were located in Missouri or New Jersey –too far (I was told) from my Ohio home. I remained persistent and finally got a call from a rescue volunteer named Jacky saying that they had several Wheatens that they had rescued from a puppy mill. The one they thought would be the best for me was a 13-month-old male living at a foster home in Iowa.

I am a teacher and the phone call came on my last day of school before our long summer break. It couldn't have been better timing!

When Jacky, the rescue volunteer, called she had loads of information to tell me. His name was Duke but I was welcomed and encouraged to change it. He was 13 months old, born April 28, 2004. At the moment he was shy and reserved most likely because he hadn't been socialized with people or other animals yet. He'd been living in a pen at the puppy mill and wasn't housebroken. When they picked him up his hair was all matted so they had to shave it all off. She emailed me two pictures so that I could see him immediately. It was love at first sight! She gave me the phone number of the foster family and encouraged me to call them for more information.

My heart was racing. I couldn't believe how excited I was. After months of waiting it seemed like everything was happening so quickly. I called the foster family immediately and spent about 45 minutes talking to Ashton, the college aged daughter. She told me that Duke was a "peach". That he pranced around like a show dog and crossed his legs when he lay down. She told me that he is very timid and unsure but they didn't expect that to last once he got more comfortable. When he came to them he had a respiratory infection but was now healthy again. He'd been fixed and was up to date on all of his shots. She said that he is so photogenic that she had taken a roll of film just of him and that she was going to send the pictures in the mail immediately. Ashton's family has two Wheatens of their own so she shared all kinds of information with me about the breed. This family is amazing. They took in eight dogs from this puppy mill and were in the process of nursing them all back to health and loving them while they waited for their new homes. At the end of the conversation I was told that they want Christmas cards and updates of how Duke is doing and that they wanted me to let them know right away what I was going to rename him so that they could start calling him by his new name.

The rescue site has a transfer service where people all across the country volunteer their time to drive a segment of the trip to get the dog to its new owner. I was told that Duke could be here in a little over a week. The first thing that I did was figure out a name for my new pet. Wheatens come from Ireland and so I wanted him to have a proper Irish name. After much searching I came up with Finnegan. I will call him Finn for short. I called his foster family the next day to let them know his new name. They said they'd start using it so that he begins to recognize it. When I called they said that Finn was out running with another one of the male dogs that they were boarding. My little dog is getting socialized!

June 8, 2005

Yesterday I took my first trip to the pet store to start shopping for Finnegan. Because Wheatens have high maintenance coats, the first item I picked up was a wide toothed comb. I also got food and water bowls, treats to help reward him when he goes to the bathroom outside, pet stain remover (for when he doesn't make it outside in time), and lots of other stuff just for fun. I chose to forgo the aisle full of clothes for dogs...somehow I don't think this active little guy is going to want to be encumbered with a pair of jeans and a jean jacket while we romp in the park! I was lucky that a friend is giving me a crate and that he is coming with a new collar and leash.

While I was at the pet store I also talked to the trainer about obedience classes. She seemed great! She told me that Finnegan could be in the puppy class (since he's not house broken yet) even though he's 13 months old and not truly a puppy. I'm planing on starting those classes right away.

Jacky, from the rescue site, emailed Finnegan's transfer schedule today. Looks like he will have 6 different people driving the various legs from Iowa to Ohio. I will pick him up in eastern Indiana for the final leg of the trip. He will be here in 3 days!!!

June 12, 2005

A New Beginning Yesterday was a long day for Finnegan and for me. He started his trip from Oxford, Iowa at 7 a.m. and didn't reach Columbus, Ohio and his new home until about 9:30 p.m. All day long I got calls from the transfer coordinator giving me updates on his status. He got delayed in some traffic around Peoria, Illinois and went to the bathroom in Champaign, Illinois....I heard it all and was grateful for each update. I was a little bit nervous. A year of waiting and my puppy was almost here!


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