Monday, January 3, 2011


Our dog, Mandy, has a questionable past. Four years ago I found her wandering along a busy downtown street in the rain. She had obviously been nursing puppies but my attempts at finding where she belonged were useless. After two weeks of searching for her owner, placing posters, and canvassing homes and businesses, I took her to the vet and asked for an evaluation. I'd seen some aggression in her and didn't know what to do. In a nutshell, our vet told me to stop looking for her owner. He said Mandy had not been treated well by them and that she was much better off with us. He said, "She's not vicious at all. She just doesn't know who she can trust".
I'd been sure I could find her owner. Surely someone was looking for her. Who allows a mama dog to run loose while her puppies need her? My heart broke for her, but we didn't want another dog, especially not one who might nip, or worse. The "worse" turned out to be that she is aggresive toward cats - and here we are with a whole houseful of felines.
When our daughter was little we had rescued two dogs who lived to ripe old ages and after 20 years - yes, one lived that long - we were ready to be "out of the dog business" as Spouse put it. What's the saying...."Life happens while we're making other plans"....or something like that? So we kept Mandy and fell in love with her, flaws and all.
To say she's been unpredictable would be putting it mildly, but she had lived a very rough life before I found her. She has some nasty scars to prove it, so we knew she needed us. Over the years she has mellowed, though she's still unpredictable around people she doesn't know. To us she's loving and loyal. She trusts us. She also trusts Granddaughter. Those two get along well and are a joy to watch. Mandy follows my grandaughter wherever she goes and seems to love being her best friend.
As for the cats and Mandy....we learned (the hard way) they needed to be separated at all times. That makes for a complicated routine where Mandy either goes into her huge crate, stays in this room with Spouse, or is outside playing when the cats are up here. Later, the cats go to the lower level and Mandy is free to roam. The cats are very fond of walking around on top of Mandy's crate when she's in it. They love to stick their paws inside it and swipe at her head. She's very patient with them while she's incarcerated, but I often wonder if she's thinking she'd like just one chance to chase them. Our routine may seem strange to some, but it's second nature to us now and it works. Every pet receives love and attention, just not all at the same time.


nancy huggins said...

It filled my Heart with Joy to read about your dog Mandy..I know if I won the Lottery or came into big bucks another way I would definately be bringing home every dog (and cats too) and giving them all a forever home filled with love. We have 4 dogs and 3 cats and I don't know what I would do without them. I learned a lesson about labs (the hard way) but I still love them very much. I do blog about my dogs often so if you want to know more about my 4 best friends take a peek at my blog..a lot of stories in my older posts too.
I am now a follower and will have you on my side bar so I can watch for new posts from you :)

Anonymous said...

Thankyou Kady, for sharing this beautiful story. Mandy is a very lucky dog indeed to have people like you take her in. I have 2 dogs, one is a rescue, her owner died and she was being cared for by a family member. She is a bit of a 'ninkenpoop' and a bit eccentric & anxious too, but I love her to bits, she has been with me for 4 years in fact on the 29th Dec. just gone. My own dog accepted her very well, she was terrified when I first brought her home hiding behind the sofa, now she is just a love-pie, with me anyway and very protective. Both my dogs are Schipperkes....Merilyn (Australia)

Henrietta said...

We have two Jack Russell Terriers, one 16 and the other (a rescue) about 8 months old. The cats have free range and 99% of the time everyone gets along.

I learned the hard way years ago that more than one JRT is a pack so unless I am in hearing range of the dogs they are crated. Even if I am just outside hanging out the laundry, or taking a shower, they are crated, in separate crates. They are used to it and enjoy their 'get in your house' treats.

The routine is so set I don't even notice but a recent guest was amazed how often the dogs get in their house and get let out again a few minutes later.

I know she thought I was exaggerating the dangers of pack mentality but we haven't had any feline tragedies since starting the routine.