Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pyg's Past

It all started when I received Pyg's health records from Secondhand Hounds. The precious few sheets I had- those that told me everything I would ever know about his past- were confusing. Dates didn't line up like I thought they should. Some of the info didn't jive with what I'd been told. His supposed breed mix was different on various documents, as was his birthday. He was a mystery.

My friend Nicky advised me to let it go. I would never know about his past, she told me. Let go now and just enjoy the dog in front of you. Sound advice, I know, but... well, I have amazing google-fu. If something exists on the internet, I can almost always find it. And I knew something had to be out there about Pyg.

There was.

On April 30, 2013, Pyg was “rescued from a very neglectful situation” along with his mother, Belle Belle, and his two siblings, Princess Leia and Wookie. Belle Belle was a three-year-old shih tzu (or maybe a shih tzu mix), and the puppies were about three months old. 

Click to embiggen.

The Animal Rescue Foundation in Mobile, Alabama, who took in the dogs, is a no-kill, foster-based rescue. Belle Belle found a home quickly; she was adopted on June 5, 2013. I don't know when Pyg's brother and sister found homes, but I assume it was relatively quickly. Pyg, though... I cannot for the life of me understand why, but he languished in rescue.

Then again, using this as his Petfinder picture probably didn't help. Such an ugly little face.

He was, by all accounts, sweet and friendly, but there just weren't any takers, even after he went to a large event called Adopt-a-Palooza in October. Of course, I am happy this was the case, as Pyg was meant to be my dog. But for that to happen, he needed to travel cross-country from the gulf coast to the frozen wastelands of Minnesota.

Pyg took a plane from south Alabama to north Alabama thanks to an organization called Pilots N Paws. Then, he had a car trip to Chicago, and then another plane ride. I actually found pictures from that first leg of the trip on facebook, and as I read the comments from the volunteers who had lovingly cared for him over the course of six months, I was touched. These women truly cared about the dogs they had selflessly taken in. They cried as Pyg left on his grand adventure. I am so grateful that they took care of him until Pyg and I could find each other.
Leaving on a jet plane! (Is "jet" an overstatement?)

There is still much that remains a mystery about Pyg's past. I assume that he lived in a rather deprived environment during his critical socialization period, an assumption backed up by his occasional fearful behavior and tendency to get overwhelmed by new situations. But at least now I know the rough outline. Oh, and did I mention I dug up some puppy pictures? Yeah, totally did. 

Ew, kid cooties!

Probably around 12 weeks old.

Awww... he was even an ugly puppy. (PS- please don't be offended when I call him ugly! I know lots of people find the underbite endearing, but... I just don't. However, he has an absolutely ADORABLE personality, and I love him to pieces. I am so very happy I adopted him.)

1 comment:

Leema said...

Having worked in rescue for 6 years or something, it bugs me a lot when people describe past living circumstances in a negative way. It particularly bugs me when they assume something about the past living environment because of the dog's behaviour.

One of the greyhounds I fostered I took directly from the trainers. The grey' was a timid kind of dog, that cringed when you made fast movements. The surrendering trainers were very embarrassed - before I met the dog, they were saying that they never have hit, and she's just like that. I believed them.

I've had dogs surrendered that spent pretty much their entire lives stuck in a backyard with minimal human interaction. And all of them have been pretty good dogs, and mostly confident with all people.

And then I have had dogs that I have raised, with a great lot of attention given during the critical socialisation period, who haven't panned out quite how I want. ;)

Furthermore, I won't take part in shaming people who surrender dogs to rescue. "Those bad people didn't socialise him", "Those bad people only fed him Pal", "Those bad people left him outside with no company". Those bad people are also the people who decided to sign the paperwork and get the dog into a new home, because they recognised their own short falls. About 50% of those who surrender a dog to me do so through tears - they are not bad people. They care about their dogs and I won't partake in criticisms of their care.

This is long, and I know you're only having a bit of a research on Pyg, and I'm actually quite impressed that you've found as much as you did. But that doesn't mean that anyone or everyone involved with Pyg before he got to you had any condemnable failings.