I lost my best friend, a rescue Weimaraner named Fiona, this past year. I missed her every moment of every day and the advice poured in… don’t get a dog too soon; get a dog right away. Yet I missed a sweet little spirit in my house, so I was determined that I would start the search in May for a possible July or August adoption of a new friend.
I began an inventory for the perfect rescue dog for me (1. Weim, 2. Weim, 3. Weim!). I submitted applications with multiple rescue groups. I cried working on these applications, missing my sweet Fiona. Who would fill the hole in my heart?
I shopped websites and Facebook pages. I inquired about a few dogs. Soon I realized that while I had my standards and requests, the dogs too had no-negotiation needs. Little did I know that I would be let-down-easy by a dog with, “you seem nice, but I’d prefer another dog to keep me company” or, “you work…all day long, without me…no thanks,” and of course “er, um, you have a cat? Total deal breaker for me.”
Iowa Weimaraner Rescue soon posted the profile of a little imp who was pocket sized at 42 lbs. Her name was Belle, and she was a tiny little sprite. When Bridget (the foster) told me all about the one-year-old, I was certain that I was ready to meet her. Bridget told me about mischievous habits, how she always crossed her paws, and what they knew about her life prior to being surrendered to rescue.
Earlier than my timeline goal, I drove to Iowa to check out the sweet Belle in May. I convinced myself that I was just in the neighborhood (all the way from Kansas City). We compared standards, her requirements for a furever home and we tossed the ball a bit. She showed me her best tricks, and in fairness revealed her puckish side, with some attempted butt-biting. Then, one hug of that tiny, wiggly, grey body and I knew that she would fit nicely in my bed, and in my heart.
“Belle” became “Harper.” Because of her history, she required firm boundaries with patience, exercise, and lots of attention. Bridget explained what hadn’t worked for her in her previous homes. She warned me that due to her age and history, she would quickly revert to bad habits and lose confidence in both herself and me if I failed to set firm boundaries, rules, and expectations. It was up to me to be the loving leader she needed.
Now in Kansas City, Harper lives with a big black cat named Foster. Some separation anxiety causes her to steal my personal items for snuggling (luckily not chewing). In the first several weeks I came home at lunch to reassure her and slowly extended the time she was alone. She’s since negotiated her way out of kenneling. With hard work on her part, she has earned the privilege and can be trusted free in the house. We’ve found the right prescription of comfort she needs – snuggly beds and toys, a bench at the window, puzzles to keep her mind busy and a predictable and active routine. Her anxiety has melted away to a few tolerable and even endearing habits. I can count on her pulling out leashes and extra collars which she leaves on the couch for my arrival home. And should I mistakenly leave a dresser drawer cracked open, I can expect a grey nose will dig in to extract the t-shirts and mold them into a Weimaraner nest.
She knows what she deserves. I’ve promised her two walks (or runs) per day and she holds me to the agreement. She also has responsibilities: sitting for privileges, agility work, and practicing new obedience tricks and tasks. We both are dedicated to our commitment to each other.
We make a dog park visit and a trail hike or dog beach swim nearly weekly. She is still an awkward adolescent at the dog park. She loves to play with other dogs, yet she’s unsure of her rank among multiple dogs. Like a mother of a teen, I secretly love that she checks-in with me, even around the cool kids.
Harper is a typical Weim, as Bridget says… a four- legged frenzy. Her tiny size is perfect for my 5’3 frame and her energy level matches mine. Thank you Iowa Weimaraner Rescue. I am so grateful for your patience as I was a picky customer. Harper is grateful for the love and leadership you showed her and the opportunity that you provided for us both. Ours is a fantastic match and we look forward to years of adventure.