Always Worth the Work

Taking a new dog into your home can be nerve wracking. This is especially true if you recently lost a dog that was in tune with you and perfect in your home. You've probably forgotten how much work it took to get your beloved lost dog to behave or integrate into your home. And it is easy to expect the new dog to fit into the empty space your friend left like a puzzle piece. I just read a wonderful cautionary tale about a woman who almost gave up on a new friend for exactly this reason.

Leslie Holden in New York City writes about a dog that brought home after getting over the horrible grief of losing a friend of thirteen years. Her dog Chelsea, a Westie so loved and it took Leslie three years to decide to start looking for a new dog.

Once Leslie decided that it might be time to adopt again, she noticed that many people were adopting mixed breeds. It occurred to her that a Westie could always find a home and that she should look for a mixed breed or a rescue. Leslie's search brought her to Pawsallaround in the Bronx. Unfortunately, the dog she went to look at seemed to give her allergies. While she was there though, another dog was dropped off and they immediately connected.

This dog reminded Leslie of her dog Chelsea, there was something about her eyes. And the dog looked so sad and forlorn that Leslie couldn't stand it. She immediately adopted the dog. However, when she got her home, she wondered if she hadn't made the wrong decision. The dog was in heat and clingy. Leslie was reminded of Chelsea and felt as if she were betraying a memory. So she says she did the unthinkable, she took the dog back to the shelter.

That night her best friend returned from an overseas trip and Leslie explained the situation with the dog and told her what she had done. Her best friend encouraged her to go back to the shelter and went with her. The dog, Kimber, also reminded Leslie's best friend of the lost Chelsea. After a lot of begging and pleading, the shelter owner decided to give Leslie another chance. She took Kimber home and gave their relationship another try.

Three years later, Kimber and Leslie have become a success story. She is a sensitive and loving dog that reads Leslie like a book. She has much love to give, but needed a lot of love herself. She has separation anxiety, but with work and patience it has slowly gotten better. Leslie spends a lot of time working with her, using positive reinforcement like treats and praise. It has made all the difference in the end. Leslie is so glad that she didn't give up.