Story submitted 2006-04-15
We told our DRNA contact, Libby, that we were looking for a young, smooth, black and tan, female dachshund. She found exactly that dog for us. When we went over to Libby's house to meet Gingersnap though, "Mickey" was also there. "Mickey" was a young, red, smooth, male who was very nervous around strangers (us). It took half an hour before he even got close enough to smell us. As we were leaving Libby's house, we realized that we liked Gingersnap, but we really felt a connection with the nervous "Mickey". We immediately phoned Libby and learned that there was another family slated to meet "Mickey" later that week. After a week of emails and phone conversations, the family that asked for a red, smooth male adopted Gingersnap and we adopted "Mickey". After bringing "Mickey" home, we renamed him Durham (where we met him) and started the long process of convincing Durham that he could trust us. We knew that he loved other dogs, so we took him to the dog park almost everyday. He enjoyed himself with the other dogs and we had lots of strangers give him treats. It was months before he let a stranger at the dog park pet him. We also started taking classes like "Family Dog 1" and "Canine Good Citizen" at the local Animal Protection Society center. Durham seemed to gain confidence in our expectations of him (and also learned some useful behaviors). Durham still does not love strangers ... though sometimes he really surprises us with how fast he learns to like a new person. Durham has been with us for 10 months now and we just started an agility class � he sure loves to run and jump his way through the obstacle courses. Durham is a wonderful companion, and he makes us laugh nearly everyday. He really just wants to play and cuddle with us as much as possible. Over the holidays, Durham had a beagle playmate for 10 days (my sister's dog) and we were convinced that we should find a companion for Durham... we're watching the DRNA adoption pages closely.
An update to our original "happy tail": In April 2005, Libby asked us to come over to her house to meet a potential companion for Durham. Gretel was about the same size as Durham (18 lbs) and liked to play... our two main criteria. Durham likes most dogs... but he and Gretel had an immediate connection. Gretel was under one year old (younger than we really wanted) and had spent her short life in a puppy mill. Our best guess was that the puppy mill gave her up to DRNA because she has "funny" front legs. We brought Gretel home as a "foster" pup for 10 days to see how it went. It was clear right away that Gretel had never been on a leash and had never been outside - she was terrified. She was also quite skinny and had a limp. The first few days were frustrating. We would spend an hour outside waiting for her to go to the bathroom and then she would pee on the carpet as soon as we got back into the apartment... she just wasn't getting "house training". Over the course of a few days, she started watching Durham when we went outside... and copying him. Our first DRNA doxie was training our second! She started to get stronger as she ate good food and her limp started to disappear. We took her to the dog park and at first, she didn't really like it but then she started following Durham around. If another dog tried to play with Gretel she would flip over on her back and often, Durham would come to her rescue. While Durham wrestled with another dog, she would run around the two of them and bark happily. While out on a walk one day, we watched Gretel discover the joy of smelling... it was like she had never noticed that she could smell before. We thought she was going to inhale all the grass in the yard. The two pups were happily spending their days actively wrestling or cuddling on the couch. Durham's anxiety about being left in the crate while we went to work lessened greatly once Gretel was there to keep him company in the kennel. Now, a year later, Gretel and Durham are quite a happy pair. We took them on a five day road trip when we moved from North Carolina to Minnesota - they did great! They've experienced snow for the first time (Gretel loves it and Durham hates it). They miss their friends at the North Carolina dog parks and especially David and Libby from DRNA but they are so happy together.