Top 10 Truths of Raising a Rescue

After recently receiving notice that there is a piece of VT legislation that will make Vermont’s State Dog: a Rescue Dog I thought it appropriate to share these Top 10 Truths that Kimberly Wang came up with on her blog:

Top Ten Truths of Raising a Rescued Dog

Upon reading, this may appear to be a list of negatives, but it’s really a compilation of some of the things that make raising a dog unpredictable, and silly and absolutely ridiculous…all of which pale in comparison to the benefits and rewards.  It’s crucial to retain a sense of humor in the face of dog poop, temper tantrums (yours and the dog’s!) and sleep deprivation.  But armed with a lighthearted perspective plus the aforementioned BELIEF, there is nothing you and your dog can’t do.

Sidenote: I have no doubt that this list will sound very familiar to so many of you dog lovers out there who have raised pups and rescued dogs of your own!

1 ) Over the course of 2.5 hours, you can walk briskly, stopping for a vigorous game of ball along the way, and yet, once home, a noisy spaz attack is still inevitable.

2 ) The best toys are rarely the ones contained within the doggie toy bag.  No squeaky, bouncy, chewy, fluffy toy can compete with the clothes hamper or the dresser drawers, the contents of which hold the most intriguing and delicate playthings.  The doggie toy bag, too, when gleefully ripped to shreds, provides a delightful diversion.  For a minute. Maybe two.


3 ) Corollary to #2: Your dog-proofing is never as inviolable as you think it is.

4 ) Even though she is physically tethered to you, a not-yet-housebroken-dog will pee indoors, on your newly cleaned wood floor when you are least equipped to address the issue, ie. when YOU need to pee, (and in fact, are in the process of using the bathroom) and yet you took her out for a bathroom break moments before.

5) Since walks cannot be taken without ample treats/treat dispensation, your nice winter coat will sport doggie treat and slobber stains. And lots of them. There is nothing you can do about it but soldier on, and look forward to the day when dressing to look sharp (which will correspond with needing less treats on walks) trumps dressing for practicality.

6) Corollary to #6: Your footwear will also be overwhelmingly practical. Which is to say, not so much attractive yet comfortable and warm for those 1-2 hour walks/play sessions designed to wear out the foster dog.

7 ) You will be tired.  A lot of the time. Because an untrained dog will make you tired.  And sometimes VERY CRANKY.

8 ) You will have the ambition to be as productive in other aspects of your life (not including dog training) as you were before the foster dog came along. You will soon come to understand that, until life normalizes once again, the foster doggie has another plan in store.

But best of all:

9 ) If it is your mission to raise a well adjusted, well behaved companion, and you are willing to put your heart and soul into the endeavor, then you too will evolve.  You’ll grow more patient, more compassionate, and certainly more skilled in clear communication with dogs.

10) And yet, there is one unavoidable truth about raising a rescued dog that cannot be ignored and is truly a negative. As we watch our rescues evolve and come into their own, ever confident, quirky, lovely, spunky, personality shining through, we are reminded that there are so many dogs like her in the shelters.  They are dogs with tremendous potential who have been adopted out to people unwilling or ill equipped to care for them, and then, sadly, returned multiple times.  They are misunderstood, negatively and yet erroneously labeled to their detriment, lonely, bursting with love to give, and longing for a safe, secure, home and their very own adoring humans.

It is beyond heartbreaking.

We dream of the day when we can strike this last truth from our list…