Weim lives matter!

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016: A Review of Our Year in Rescue

     As we started 2016 with only one dog in our house, Rigby, our sweet, loving princess, it made sense that, if needed, we could once again become a foster home for some TSWR dogs.  Dan and I both enjoy fostering and we get so much satisfaction seeing the dogs who pass through our home find love with their new forever families.

Our non-rescue Weim Rigby
     In late January I learned about a Weim in the area who needed a new home.  His family learned the hard way that a Weim with a high prey drive is not a good fit in a home with small kittens, and Harely ended up losing his home.

     I was amazed to read on the intake form that this almost 3-year-old Weim weighed 123 pounds.  Dan and I took a ramp with us to pick him up, worried about getting him into our SUV without having to lift him up.  Months younger than our Rigby, Harley looked much older and his labored breathing while sleeping worried me for his health.

Harley was quite a big boy when he came into rescue, weighing in at 123 pounds.

     Harley was started on a diet -- but, not happy with the choice of foods we offered, he barely ate for the first week.  He finally figured out that we weren't going to cave in and give him junk food, that he had to eat what he was offered, and our program of tough love and "Woof Watchers" began to make a difference in his weight.  He was also started on a regular exercise program, just short walks at first, in an effort to build his stamina.

     It was obvious that Harley had never been taught boundries and he was pushy and overbearing.  He was also encouraged to jump on people in his previous home, and this had to be corrected immediately, as he was a very big boy.

     Harley and Rigby got along well, although we had to be careful when they played because Harley outweighed Rigby by so much and if he hit her too hard he sent her flying into the couch.

Harley loved his foster sister, Rigby.

     We kept Harley till April, when he was sent on his way to go to what would hopefully be his new home. We thought it was best to not keep him, as he was used to a fenced yard, which we did not have, and we really were happy being a one-dog home.  The good news for Harley was that he left us 20 pounds lighter than when he had arrived.

Harley about 20 pounds lighter than when he came into rescue.

     Shortly after Harley left, I got a call from the Humane Society that they had a 5-year-old female Weimaraner who had been turned in to them.  TSWR made arrangements for Pearl to come into rescue and I went to pick her up.

     As I waited for Pearl to be brought out to me I read the paperwork from the people who turned her in and saw several mentions that she urinated in the house multiple times.  I was not excited about bringing an adult dog that was not house trained into our home.

     Then I met Pearl.  What a sweet dog.  I took her out to the SUV and we sat for a while in the parking lot of the Humane Society getting to know one another before we left.  It was hard for me to believe that this dog was as she was advertised.  She seemed to be a calm, well-trained dog.  At home my hunch proved out and Pearl never had an accident in our home.  

Pearl curled up in my office and stayed close to me while I worked.

     Pearl was a bit bewildered by Rigby's efforts at play, she must have been an only dog.  But she and Rigby became friendly and got along well.  Pearl was easy to live with and we enjoyed her stay, but it wasn't long till she was on her way to her forever home and we were happy that she would be well taken care of and in a loving home.

Pearl came to enjoy Rigby's company and rested with her on the couch.

     Then in May I heard from a local veterinarian and friend about a blue Weimaraner who was in danger of being listed for sale on Craig's List or in the local paper.  His young owner had moved from his father's home to an apartment, leaving Troy behind.  The boy's father had never intended to own a dog and didn't have the time to give a young Weim the attention, exercise and training he needed.

     Working with some local Weim owners, we were able to make contact with the father and he agreed to give Troy up to TSWR in an effort to find him a proper home.  When I went to pick him up, accompanied by my friend Renee, both the father and son met us with Troy and they said their good-byes and Troy was on his way to a new life.

Troy, a very handsome blue Weimaraner

     Troy and Rigby hit it off immediately and became fast friends and it was nice to have a playmate for Troy to expend some of his extra energy.  Troy was filled with nervous energy and that energy, combined with his anxiety from the changes in his life, resulted in him almost constantly pacing.  I'd actually crate Troy to get him to relax and lay down at first, but as he settled in he began to relax more and more out of the crate and to feel more secure.

Troy was just a very happy boy.

     Troy had a great personality, full of fun and he loved to run and play.  When he ran in the field he was the picture of joy.

    Unlike most dogs we foster, we knew who Troy's new owners would be even before we picked him up. Our time with Troy was short, he just needed a safe haven until it was time to move on to a home that was excitedly awaiting his arrival.  Troy and I made the trip to meet his new owner and make the transfer that would change his life forever.  I have so enjoyed watching on Facebook as Troy has become a treasured member of his new family. 

     Then the unthinkable happened.  We heard that Harley still did not have a home.  He had been tried out in two homes and things did not go well and he was still in foster care, looking for his forever home. 

     Dan and I were worried about Harley and didn't want him to languish in rescue, knowing how tough it can be on Weims to be transitioned from one place to another, not having people or a home to call their own.  After a lot of consideration and talking it over, I contacted TSWR and asked if Harley could come back to us permanently.  The rescue agreed to allow us to adopt him and we made plans to get Harley back to our home.

When Harley returned, he and Rigby still enjoyed their naps together on the couch.

     At times I've felt guilty that we didn't just keep Harley originally -- we loved him and thought he was a really neat dog -- but we truly thought we couldn't give him everything he needed or wanted.  In hindsight, I've realized that if we had not let Harley go for a few months, we wouldn't have been able to foster Pearl and Troy and help them on their way.  It seems that things do happen for a reason and, in the end, work out for the best.

When Harley became part of our family I started him in tracking and
he's proven to be a very enthusiastic and talented tracking dog.

     So now we're back to being a two-dog family and won't be fostering for a while, but we'll be here to pick up and hold dogs and help them get on their way to a foster or new home. We're happy to have a rescue dog as a family member again and are so glad to have Harley with us.

Harley in front of our Christmas tree 2016.
To date Harley has lost 43 pounds.

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