On Saturday, we visited our local Adopt-A-Pet. The plan was to find a dog to add to our family, Ruby’s dearest prayer. Since our move into a large house on a main road, I leaned towards a dog with presence. I really wanted a German Shepherd. Ruby wanted a puppy, any kind. Actually, she liked all kinds of dogs. If we weren’t careful, we’d adopt ‘em all. Jonathon, not an overt pet person, wanted a mellow dog.
We visited with Dakota inside a gated yard. The sun shone down on all of us, potential family members. We watched Dakota chase balls. She avoided the ramps and open tubes parked in the matted grass. She’d race after any thrown orb. She’d grab it up, sometimes in mid-air. Then she’d take it to a corner and chew on it. She got the fetch part down. She just didn’t give the ball back.
She dashed over to a covered area. A kiddie pool half-filled with water beckoned her to jump in. She sat down for a moment, cooling her heels (literally). Then she bounded out again to slurp up some water in a metal dish. Ruby tossed a ball across the area. Dakota caught it on a dead run. She turned and watched us with amber eyes.
“She also digs up rocks,” the volunteer told us.
“She carries them around in her mouth.”
Great, I thought. Our yard is bounded by several rock walls. Would she destroy the landscaping? Could we ever teach her to fetch and return a ball? Would Zac like her?
We looked at one other dog, a brindle Pit Bull/Boxer mix. She was nice, but rather boring. She greeted each of us. I threw a ball. She couldn’t be bothered with chasing a it. She nosed around the yard, marking choice spots.
Somehow, with all her quirks and energy, Dakota won us over, even this cat person. She had lived with another family for a year before getting returned to the shelter. Dakota and the original family dog couldn’t get along, so the owner brought her back. I can’t imagine how that must have crushed Dakota’s spirit.
The original plan was to have the shelter keep her until we returned from an over overnight trip this weekend. But we couldn’t leave her. We crated her up and drove her straight home. She’s been chasing balls and not giving them back ever since. She’s barked at strangers as well as family, a powerful, self-assured bark. She means business. She’s 3 years old. She only weights 60 lbs., but she pulls me up hills. I don’t know who originally gave her up, but they put some time into training her. She is house-trained. She comes when called, knows “sit”, “lie down”, “outside”, “ball”, and “treat”. We are blessed to have her in our family.