All the puppies are in new homes with good families. We had two little ones left, Purple Puppy and Orange Puppy. Purple Puppy went to live in Perry, Oklahoma with a gentle man and woman and their teenage daughter. They came last weekend to see the two puppies and chose Purple Puppy. She took to them instantly, and when they returned to pick her up after we had groomed her, she saw them coming and wagged her tail as if she’d always lived with them. The Orange Puppy watched her sister leave and didn’t seem to care in the least. She is happy with us and her friends. But she is very smart and needs a home like the rest of them. She needs people who will love her and she will be one of one instead of one of six. Orange Puppy needs her own name and to be the focus of her own people.
During the day, our little leftover girl follows one of her human moms around exploring the house. She runs in the backyard with her favorite friend, Peyton, the Bedlington. He is very happy to have a little sister who will chase him and learn his new trick of digging in the corner of the yard. He runs just barely ahead of Orange Puppy and she bites at his long tail. Peyton loves the young pups. He loved his faux brother, Danny, too, until Danny grew up too much and challenged him for a higher rung on our ladder.
We think this puppy should go to people who have had a terrier before. People who embrace the terrier temperament this girl has and will encourage her to be herself. She must continue to learn manners, but she has such a cute face that it will be exceedingly hard to enforce much discipline. The puppy will eventually have a family of her own. We will enjoy her while she waits with us. Her future, while unknown, stands a good chance of being happy and filled with love. That was not the fate of another dog in our house. The one we don’t show people often and the one who never had a chance to be somebody’s loving puppy, cherished just because she was theirs.
Maggie has lived with us for over three years. She trusts one of us and is quiveringly fearful of the other. Maggie is the name given to her by the group who bought her at the dog auction. She found her way into that nightmare when she was used up, or no longer profitable, to the puppy miller who bred and owned her. Her registered name is Brushy Creek Sheena. She was whelped Christmas Eve in 2000. One of several wriggling puppies born to Irish import parents. This particular miller had set up shop in Texas after being virtually thrown out of Minnesota by the pressure applied to him and his operation by the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America’s rescue arm.
Maggie was rehabed by the kindly rescue folks then placed into a home with a great family who had had rescue Kerries before. She bolted from them in a storm July 2004 and was feral until she was trapped by animal control May 2006 and taken to a shelter. We were called by the owners she had run from because we were really the only people who they believed had the knowledge to take her. We had no secret knowlege to deal with the kind of dog she had become. We have patience and kindness, but neither have been enough.
There have been changes in Maggie over the three years she’s been with us. She will now take food from my hand if I’m sitting on the couch eating dinner. She will creep forward toward me and sit close waiting for a small handout. Maggie will tolerate my petting her and will sometimes follow me into the house from the yard. But she is barely recognizable as a Kerry Blue. Her straight, blue hair hangs limply. Her back is swayed from the weight of the many litters she has carried and her unset ears sometimes cant out from her head in gravity defying angles. Maggie will not seek out comfort from either of us. She prefers the company of our old dog, Elvis, and is very bonded to him. And once a day, when she and Elvis are let outside in the early morning, she runs as fast as she can around the yard, leaping and bounding doing what the rescue group calls the “Freedom Run”. It is the only time of day when she seems joyous.
When she has run herself into the day, she will find me in the yard and throw herself down on her back at my feet. I pet her and tell her I love her. I right her and she follows me into the house after Elvis and she runs to sit on her throne which is the end of the couch. I am saddeded to think that sleeping a few rooms away is our little Leftover Lucy who is the puppy Maggie never was. As we look for a home for Orange Puppy we do all we can to keep her from ending up like Maggie, used and discarded. And we struggle daily to make sure Maggie has a decent quality of life amid our other dogs and our busy lives. I have a lot of respect for Maggie. She has survived, and in fact thrived, in conditions that lesser spirited dogs don’t. It is funny to live with a dog that seemingly takes no comfort in the ministrations of people. Every touch seems to cause actual pain. Still, she has taken to meeting me at the door when I come home and sitting stiffly, allows me to pet her. If I stop before she wants she pushes against me and sits again. Wanting more.
For the first year we waited, perhaps like Maggie herself, for the rescue group to find her a loving home. Nobody came. We fear she is ours now. Maggie and Orange Puppy have had some encounters that have ended with Maggie trying to bite the puppy. I wish I could ask her what she thinks when she see the pup. But she would probably have no answers. Like her two years on her own, there are more questions about Maggie than answers. She fears thunder, fireworks and loud noises. She doesn’t love people, but will never bite. Was she ever even a tiny bit like Orange Puppy, greeting each new day joyfully?
We choose not to dwell on Maggie’s past life. Her terrible years locked in a small cage, bred twice a year, every year. Instead we focus on the future of Orange Puppy and her quest for a loving family. Maggie will remain here long after the baby has moved on. She will live out her life in our little world with her friend Elvis and the two of us. Our rescue dog is a living reminder of how the ancient contract between man and dog can be broken and a life scared nearly beyond healing. Orange Puppy will have better. We will always be here for her and her new owners, whenever they come.