I picked up Sophie the day before Christmas from Daryl Masone, a wonderful woman who runs Poodle Rescue of Connecticut. She rescues Poodles, Poodle mixes and other breeds. I found Daryl though the Poodle Club of America during my online rescue search. Daryl explained that she was fostering 2 girl Poodles almost ready for a new home. I answered several questions, gave references, and got her approval to be a new Poodle mom. I also thought that the timing was good over the Christmas holiday since I would be home to help ease her transition for 10 days. So when opportunity knocked to adopt Sophie, my heart said yes.
Sophie has a background unlike most shelter dogs, that is, the ones I came across during my online and local shelter searches. Daryl told me that Sophie was 2, beautiful, healthy, bred to be a show dog and shown but surrendered (I think due to shyness). I felt a bit guilty; after all rescuing a dog should be about adopting an abused dog that is waiting in a shelter for a home. But I also knew that after the emotional roller coaster I went through caring for my Teddy for almost a year and charging her medical care beyond my means, that maybe this was meant to be for my first adoption. Sophie needed a home too, and Daryl told me she didn’t have a good life up until then. I surmise that the majority of dogs bred specifically to be show dogs live in kennels, travel a lot, and well, we’ve all seen the extensive grooming, which I doubt isn’t fun for them (More on dog showing another time). I did have a few expectations about bringing home an adult dog, and a dog that may not have been taught to go pee pee on wee wee pads, or on concrete (I live in NYC), or used to the noise on city streets. Of course, I also expected she would need time to adjust to me and a new home. So off I went taking a deep breath with the help of a friend of Daryl’s, a woman who does a lot of rescue work, who drove me 2 hours away to bring Sophie home.
When someone puts a puppy in your arms, it is different than when someone puts an adult dog in your arms. At least for me it was. Sophie sat on my lap very still, not budging for a second. I felt as though I was meeting a stranger for the first time knowing she was about to come home with me, or perhaps I felt a bit strange because I was still grieving for Teddy. Puppies usually squirm, lick, and want to play, etc., but Sophie acted like a very quiet good little girl just leaning against me. We packed up, I signed a few papers, said my thank you, and off we went for the 2 hour drive back. Not once did Sophie make a move, or noise. I thought, maybe she’s used to cars and traveling. We arrived home, and I can say the rest of the day was a bit of a blur, Sophie just a quiet little girl, but what did concern me was that she didn’t do pee pee for the next 16 hours. Of course, worried I called Daryl at bedtime who told me that this was not uncommon when a doggie arrives at a new strange home. I was up much of the night checking on her, while she clung to me in bed all night long. Let’s just say she didn’t let me out of her sight all day, all night, and actually all month. When she finally did pee pee, of course it was not on the wee wee pad that morning, nor that first month. In fact, since Sophie was quite the athletic girl with the ability to jump onto my high bed, I’d say my king size bed became one huge wee wee pad. I still thank goodness I had an extra thick blanket on that first day she made her pit stop there. She was determined to continue going on my bed only when I wasn’t home, regardless of my spraying it with OFF for dogs, layering it with toys, pillows, tin foil, trash bags, and me almost beside myself. Sophie the perfectly proportioned stubborn little Poodle was maybe trying to tell me something, I just didn’t know what. During my absence she was confined to a small hallway, and my bedroom and bathroom, plenty of space. In addition if it wasn’t the bed during my absence, it was on my bare floors instead of the wee wee pads when I was home. Making things a bit more complicated was the fact that she wouldn’t go to the bathroom if I were in the room, obviously making it difficult to catch her and gently correct her. Of course, not only did she not go pee pee outside, but also didn’t smell all the wonderful odors that we humans hate, but dogs love. Instead, she would trot alongside me looking up as though we were in the show ring.
I think there is a saying that it is harder to break or change habits than first learn new ones. When and where Sophie learned her bathroom habits, this saying seemed to apply. However, with patience and luck, things would change soon; I was committed and not giving up!
Adopt and save a life.
Next: Sophie becomes a puppy!