The Dog You Adopt And The One You End Up With

by Houndstooth on

There’s a saying in Greyhound adoption circles, “The dog you adopt is not the same dog you’ll have a year from now.”  I believe there are similar versions of the saying throughout dog adoption circles and for good reason.  While I know it on an intellectual level, my spring break this time has really shown me how far Flattery has come from the dog we brought home a little over a year and a half ago.

It’s hard to believe that two years ago, I was spending my last spring break with Blueberry, although I had no idea it would be our last together.  She was getting older, but aside from slowing down a little and having SLO, she was in good health.  My husband usually referred to her as “The Best Dog Ever” and she was.  Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and right after I started my summer break that year, we had to let Blueberry go.  She was our first experience with osteosarcoma and by the time she started showing signs that something was wrong, it was much, much too late.  When I saw the x-ray of her leg, I knew it was very bad and that despite her good nature and happy demeanor, she was in a lot of pain.  I never, ever dreamed that day that I would walk into the vet’s office with her and leave without her, but keeping her with us would have been for us and not for her.  I wanted a peaceful ending for her, not one where she bumped her leg just wrong and it shattered, which would have been traumatic and painful for all of us.

Blueberry in the Sunshine -- Tales and Tails

Blueberry in the Sunshine

Anyway, when we went to visit the adoption kennel a month of so later, we were not really looking to adopt right away.  I think we were ready to start thinking about the idea, or I was, but my husband took Blue’s loss even harder than I did.  Bunny and I had been lucky enough to be able to donate some food to the adoption kennel we adopted her from due to our BlogPaws Nose to Nose award and we went up to take a few pictures and write a story about that.   Plus, we needed to get out away from the sadness of home a little, and I thought Bunny would enjoy the company of some other Greyhounds for a few hours.  We did meet adoptable dogs, however, and one of them really made an impression on us.

As a matter of fact, Flattery made such an impression on us that we went back for her just two days later.  Right away, we knew several things about her.  She’s a funny dog, she is too smart for her own good, and she is very people-oriented.  Those things are still true about her, but she’s a lot more complex than that and watching her come into her own has been one of the journeys that I’ve enjoyed the most.

During spring break this year, I’ve been home with the girls for three weeks.  I really had a chance to notice some things about her this time.  Flattery loves everyone, and I honestly have not seen a single person that she would not approach and expect attention from.  If I took her to visit death row at a prison, she would be as friendly to the inmates there as she is to people on the street or residents at the nursing home.  She’s an equal opportunity love sponge, but lately, she’s starting to show a little preference towards me.  It makes for an interesting mix because for the longest time, it’s usually my husband that most of our dogs prefer, and now I have two of them who prefer me.  I can’t say that I’m complaining in the least.

Bottoms Up -- Tales and Tails

Bottoms Up

Another thing I’ve noticed is that Flattery is really starting to show a desire to go and be with us.  In the afternoon when I take Bunny and Flattery out to use the turn out pen, she’s started beelining for the car instead.  Flattery has gotten a taste of wanderlust and adventure and I love that she’s so eager to go places with us.  In the past, I often had outings with just Bunny, but now, Flattery is making it clear that she doesn’t want to be left out.  She’s even getting a little pushy about taking walks, as long as the temperatures are above 45 degrees.  She’s not a cold-weather girl like Bunny.

Our outing to the dog park amazed me.  We’ve worked on recall at home, but never outside anywhere like a dog park.  The dog park is actually the very last place you want to practice the recall, because you don’t want them to self-reward by blowing you off.  When I called her to me, I mainly wanted her attention and I kicked myself because I realized after I’d closed my mouth that I shouldn’t have done it that way.  Yet Flattery surprised me by looking right at me and trotting right over to me with a happy grin on her face.  I honestly would have given her an entire steak if I’d had it with me for coming the way she did.  Fortunately, praise and attention are one of Flattery’s forms of currency and you better believe I made a big fuss over her.

Yes, I Am Comfortable -- Tales and Tails

Yes, I Am Comfortable

Overall, she has blossomed and become even more wonderful than she was when we first brought her home.  She’s filled her spot in our family perfectly, bringing her silly ways, her love and her zest for life to the mix.  If I could have ordered a dog for us, she is very close to what I would have wanted to end up with, even though I wasn’t sure what she’d turn out to be like when we brought her home.

I think that’s part the beauty of Greyhound adoption.  You don’t know exactly what you’re going to get, but in a lot of ways, it’s like Christmas keeps happening over and over as you get to know the dog inside the fur suit.  Adopting Flattery has brought us much more than we ever expected to get and I love that she keeps showing us more and more of herself.

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  • I am so sorry about Blueberry!

    Flattery is so cute and you’re right about the adoption and ending up with a completely different dog. Phoenix has changed so much since we adopted her. She used to be afraid of everything and now she’s so much more confident. It’s amazing!

    • I feel at peace with it at this point. When we lose someone we love, there’s no way to see into the future and know that something good is coming your way. But I think grieving a pet just means that they were loved the way all pets should be loved!

  • Sue Dyer

    It’s obvious that flattery loves you, your hubby and her pack mates and you all love her. She’s a lucky girl to have found you.

    Totally agree about the way the dogs change. Honey is very people friendly and looks forlorn when someone doesn’t stop to pat her:) Polly isn’t bothered either way.

    Hugs
    Sue, Polly & Honey

    • Ha ha ha! Flattery is definitely in the “offended if not petted” category!

  • we agree and things can change at anytime – our little Denny was a perfectly normal happy little guy until he had a neurological reaction to a flea treatment and at age six month his whole personality changed – he became timid and frightened of everything over night. So the dog you first get isn’t the same as the one you will have months of years later

    • Our second Greyhound had some serious issues with vaccinations, too, and he was a very odd and quirky dog. When he started having reactions to his vaccines, I looked back through his old paperwork. Three years in a row he was given three-year rabies vaccines. No wonder his body couldn’t take it anymore. Our vet was great about doing titers on him for us, but I’ve always wondered if it had more effect on him than we knew. If he were human, I think people would have considered him autistic. I learned A LOT about patience, forgiveness and trust from that dog.

  • SGilbert

    Awesome! Flattery has her own little personality which is good. They are like children because it’s so much fun to watch them grow in so many ways that make you proud! You stand back and say WOW we have come a long way! I love my dogs so much because they show so much love towards us, my sons and their family and especially our 6 years old triplets. They give up their dog beds so the triplets can curl up in their beds to watch a movie and they are right beside them on the floor or on the couch depending where the triplets put the beds! Pure Love! Here is a picture of Lily and Schooner!

    • Oh my goodness! How cute are they? Are you sure you don’t need to get an extra dog bed for when the triplets come over? 😉

      • SGilbert

        Yes I do because the triplets fight over the dog beds. I need to start checking stores. I am so lucky Schooner and Skipper don’t care if they are in their beds.

  • Cathy C Bennett

    That story was the best! Watching your dog/pet become comfortable enough to truly be who they are is an amazing journey to follow. Thanks so much for sharing Flattery’s with us.

  • A wonderful article about how much of a difference you can make in a dog’s life by working with them and developing a close bond.

  • I love this story, because I never knew Blueberry well, but appreciate hearing about that specialness. Then along came Flattery and I am always amused by that goofy hound! Thanks for helping us to know them through your eyes!

    • Blueberry was the original court jester at our house, and just funny as all get out. She’s the only dog I have known personally who actually tried on a nearly daily basis to make us laugh. When Flattery turned out to be the class clown, I felt comforted a lot by having her here. I feel that if Blueberry could have chosen a successor, she’d have chosen Flattery.

  • Emma

    We love her as she is so fun loving and reminds us a bit of little Bailie personality wise.

  • Jodi

    I think that is true with a lot of dog adoptions. Delilah is so different now than she was when she first joined us. Watching her blossom and discovering what she loves and how she wants to be loved has been a wonderful gift.

    I’m so glad you’ve gotten the same gift with Flattery.

  • I agree with you on the greyhound you adopt isn’t necessarily the one you get. Our Lil’ Bit was terrified of EVERYTHING and all noises scared her. It took her 3 weeks to get to the point to where she would let Papa even touch her. Now, she’s an entirely different dog. She’s silly, sassy, she barks… A lot, she answers questions with a combo of whining and barking and she’s no longer terrified of strangers. Papa & I were just commenting that we can’t remember the last time she used her “house” (our very PC term for kennel), when we first got her she would hide there most of the day until I got home. In fact, Papa is now her favorite person (to my disappointment).

    I’m thrilled that Flattery is coming into her own. I love, love, love to see hounds that really blossom into their own under the love and support of their people. I’m so happy for Miss Flattery!