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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, 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.


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