Tag Archive | dog rescue

Life with Fletcher

Fletcher is a BIG Ravens fan!

Fletcher is a BIG Ravens fan!

By Ruth Topper

This is Part II of our “Fletcher” story.  In Part I, I explain how it was a very difficult decision for my family to adopt a pet. 

After making the decision to adopt, it then took us several months to find the right dog for us – Fletcher!  Fletcher’s mother and litter of puppies were rescued from a high kill shelter in Georgia and ended up in Pennsylvania, where we adopted him.  After reading my fellow blogger Karen’s post “A Dog Named Blue” last week I realize how fortunate Fletcher’s family was to escape the shelter!

Fletcher arrived on our doorstep Easter Monday 2009.   We now joke that Fletcher was the best $185 we have every spent!  Fletcher had just turned 2 years old.  He was “chipped,” “fixed,” up to date on all his shots, crate trained & house trained!  What a bargain!  However as rookie new pet owners we had some things to learn about having a dog…  Here are some things that we experienced:

I love my dog!

Fletcher gets some love!

1.  Although Fletcher was crate trained he really hadn’t been in one for awhile.  We made the mistake of adopting on a Monday instead of a Friday or Saturday.  We were able to get Fletcher in his crate – but it was like having a new baby in the house again.  He whined and cried for several hours each night.  I finally had to call our “rescue” mom and get some advice so that our whole family could get some sleep.  We ended up putting a sheet over his crate and Gary & I had to play “bad cop” and use our very stern voices to help him understand that he needed to STOP!  Fortunately Fletcher was a quick study and by the third night he was making it through the night!

2.  As I mentioned in Part I of Fletcher’s Adoption, I wasn’t too crazy about adopting a dog.  However because he came to us on a Monday and everyone else in the family left to go to work/school on Tuesday – guess who became Fletcher’s “Alpha?”  Yes, yours truly!  I was the one feeding him, taking him on walks, often releasing him from his crate after being out for a few hours, etc.  I never fear that Fletcher will run away from me even without being on a leash.  He never strays out of eyesight from me!

3.  Because I was a rookie dog owner I did sign up for dog training immediately.  Fletcher passed with flying colors – however as I think back on those weeks of individual sessions Fletcher was just like a shy toddler.  He was right by my side, whimpering and whining.  It is a wonder he learned anything!

4.  Who knew that dogs pass gas?  Any dogs Gary or I had owned were outside dogs and this is something that you just don’t notice in the great outdoors.  However – get a gassy dog in a room and you can clear it quickly!

5.  We crated Fletcher when we left the house for the first few months.  We then gradually blocked him off in the kitchen and then gave him access to the first floor, keeping a toddler gate at the bottom of our staircase.  The good news is that Fletcher never attempted to get on any of our furniture.  We would have known if he did because there would have evidence – you can see him shedding as he walks across a room!  He did get into a little mischief – eating a stick of butter one day and a loaf of bread another!  We also found out that he liked pencils/crayons left on the floor, dark colored baseball caps and tissues left in the “open” trash cans in our living room/family rooms.

6.  I never realized how important grass is for a dog to do his “business.”  The first winter we had Fletcher is the one where we had over 20 inches of snow on December 19, 2009.  (I remember this because it was my daughter’s 12th birthday!)  I walked that dog up & down our street for hours the day it started snowing trying to get him to “go.”  It failed.  Of course he waited until the next day when we were finally able to get out for an hour or two – to break through the gate at the bottom of the steps & do his business on our hallway carpet!  That February we had two big storms back to back.  In these storms Gary snow-blowed part of our front yard along with the driveway – for Fletcher!

Gary & Fletcher

Gary & Fletcher

The most important thing we have experienced over the past four years… is the joy of Fletcher!  He greets me at the bottom of the steps every morning to roll on his side for a belly rub!  If he feels I’m not paying enough attention to him and I am here at the computer he will come over and put his nose underneath my arm to get my attention.  Gary, who wasn’t any more excited than me to get a dog, gets down on the floor with Fletcher every few days to play!  The kids love being with him.  They take him outside when shooting hoops or jumping on the trampoline.  My oldest who will soon be off for college tells us all the time that he will come home to see Fletcher – not the rest of us!  (Shows where we rate!)

Seth is coming home to visit Fletcher - his best friend in our house!

Seth is coming home to visit Fletcher – his best friend in our house!

What are some joys, blessings and/or funny incidents you have experienced with your pet? 

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The Adoption of Fletcher

By Ruth Topper

Fletcher!

Fletcher!

Fletcher is the furry “man’s best friend” in our household.  He recently (March 28) celebrated his 6th birthday and in mid-April we will be celebrating 4 years of Fletcher in our lives.  For many, getting a pet or having multiple pets is a very easy, painless decision.  It was not like that at all for our family.  My husband Gary and I never had any desire to have a dog.  It was enough for me to keep three kids, one husband and one plant going!

Of course, as the kids got older and most of their friends had pets, the requests for a dog became more frequent.  In the summer of 2008 after returning from our annual week at the beach we started looking at Petfinder.com and even visited our local SPCA.  We didn’t find any dogs with real potential and held the kids at bay.  As we got into late summer and the begging continued we finally had to tell the kids that we just couldn’t do it. We had one child playing travel soccer and another had just joined the midget football team.  We were going to be on the go most evenings and weekends.  It just wasn’t fair to a dog.

Our “stand” crumbled at Christmas that year.  We went to visit my sister, who at one time did have a dog and cat but both had passed away.  She had a firm stance that there would be no more pets in her house.  Well, she lost her battle over the Thanksgiving Holiday when she realized how much her younger daughter missed her sister who was at college and desperately wanted a cat to keep her company.  They adopted Jasmin by the end of the weekend!  On Christmas Eve, my family arrives at their house and all three kids are immediately “smitten” by Jasmin, the kitten.

"Smitten" by a kitten!  Thanks Sis!

“Smitten” by a kitten! Thanks Sis!

So by early January Gary & I broke down.  Who were we to deprive our children of the childhood pleasure of a dog!  We both had dogs as kids.  However, in both instances the dogs were never allowed in the house.  This was one of our big hang-ups – having a dog that might damage furniture, make “messes” on our carpet, get sick, etc.  We very quickly came to the conclusion that we needed an adult dog that was already trained and mild mannered.  I also had concerns because I had quite a few people come and go in my house with my Creative Memories business.  I didn’t want a dog that would be barking and jumping all over people and be over active.   We were back on Petfinder.com again!

We made several calls and inquiries that led nowhere …. until we found Jesse.  Jesse was a 9 month old chocolate lab and corgi mix.  He had been rescued from Kentucky and was being fostered in the Harrisburg area.  We were able to have Jesse visit our house for a few hours in early March and we liked what we saw.  Jesse came to live with us the following Friday.  Things were going well until a friend who came to visit said that he looked “bloated”.  I “blew” her off since he had just been to the vet a few weeks earlier.  That Thursday we went to a dog trainer since I had no idea what I was doing with a dog!  She immediately made the same comment as my friend.  I called the vet and got an appointment the next day.  We were told that our dog was very sick.  Jesse’s heart wasn’t working properly and he was filling up with fluid.   Her recommendation was that we should return him to the rescue group and get a healthy dog.  It was heart wrenching to take away within a week the dog that we had waited for so long.  We did learn the following day that Jesse was born with a heart defect and would be on medication the rest of his life.

Our first adoption: Jesse

Our first adoption: Jesse

It was a sad day when we told the kids that we had to return Jesse because he was a very sick puppy.

It was a sad day when we told the kids that we had to return Jesse because he was a very sick puppy.

So – the search began again on Petfinder.com.   Fletcher was being fostered at a home in the Lancaster area.  We found that Fletcher’s mother, Sasha, and her litter of puppies had been rescued from a high kill shelter in Georgia.  Several of Fletcher’s siblings had already been adopted and they were looking for a good home for him.  After two visits to see Fletcher we decided that he was the dog for us!  Fletcher arrived at our house on Easter Monday 2009. I can’t say that it was easy in the beginning.  We certainly had some ups and downs.   However that is all a distant memory!  Stay tuned for Part II of this story – Life with Fletcher!

Fletcher with his brothers & sisters!

Fletcher with his brothers & sisters!

Do you have a pet that is special to you?   Tell us how you came to adopt your pet.