On November 22, 2014, Sheryl Handley volunteered to walk shelter dogs at our first Tails of the Trail outreach event and later returned to Cheatham County Animal Control (CCAC) to adopt Reese, the dog she and her husband fell in love with.
One year later, Sheryl shares how Reese has changed their lives.
I love this time of year: Spring, the season of renewal and rebirth! The woods come alive with blossoming trees, and delicate wildflowers blanket the forest floor. It is a welcome change after the chill and bleakness of winter.
Now we have even more reason to celebrate because it is the first anniversary of the adoption of our dog, Reese.
Upon reflection of a previous post, Rescue, reward, and Reese: A shelter dog adoption story, I have to say that any apprehension we may have had about taking a shelter dog into our lives turned out to be totally unfounded. We can’t even imagine life now without him! I know that my husband, Paul, shares the same sentiments. He admits to missing Reese while away on business trips, and always greets Reese at the door with a jerky treat. Too cute!
Reese is our first canine furbaby, and as any new parent can attest, every new occasion or activity is a big deal. We are still learning, honing our dog ownership skills along the way. We’ve made that desperate emergency trip to the vet all parents fear, only to be reassured that everything would be fine. I’ve since taken a canine first aid class provided by Tails of the Trail.
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On our first road trip, Reese barked at every single noise he heard in the hotel – all night long! Although this made for anything but a rejuvenating weekend getaway, it was a learning experience. Of course, Reese was merely being a dog and alerting us, his pack, to what he saw as potential danger. As it turns out, our camping trips allow a better night’s sleep for all three of us, as we make sure to set up the tent in a secluded spot away from the noise and lights of other campers passing by in the middle of the night. As with anything in life, practice makes perfect and each experience builds upon the last. It’s amazing to see what a difference a year has made in Reese’s social skills!
My husband and I have established a routine which ensures Reese is included in as many activities with us as possible, from frequent errand runs (what dog doesn’t love to ride in the car?) to our occasional getaways. We really appreciate dog-friendly businesses, stores, restaurants, and other places. These are all wonderful opportunities to practice manners and obedience. When we are out on the town, it is so rewarding to hear compliments from workers and other customers about Reese’s excellent behavior!
You should see how surprised they are to learn that he was once a stray taken in by animal control. Of course, many already know that rescued dogs usually turn out to be superb pets and grateful companions.
It warms my heart to hear people share their dog adoption stories. A fellow hiker told me that she was inspired to adopt a senior dog because that age group is the least likely to find placement outside of a shelter or rescue group. Please don’t assume that you must get a puppy or a young dog, or that you should avoid adopting dogs that have been at a shelter for a relatively long time. Reese had been housed by CCAC for nine months prior to adoption. He had been designated as a heartworm-positive, 3.5 year-old pit bull mix – all of which are often considered to drastically lower the chances of adoption.
In our case, the timing was just right – and thankfully, we had the resources to nurse Reese back to health. We are proud to tell a story which clearly demonstrates that an adult shelter dog can be a wonderful pet.
There was no potty training involved, no chewed up personal belongings – and the truth is, you can teach an old dog new tricks! We’ve got his intermediate education certification and graduation photo proudly hanging above his food bowl.
Yes, we are such proud parents of our furbaby!