Thursday, August 6, 2009

Oh, the life of Stella...

Stella came to me awhile back as Mandy. Her owner was an elderly woman that had passed away. The woman's son took Mandy in but it was not working out with Mandy and their Maltese, so they decided to surrender her to the Schnauzer Rescue...and I got her.

She was so distraught and going through trauma from the loss of her owner and the stress of the new home that could not keep her, I didn't know if she would come out of it. She stayed in her crate the first week and when I would try to get her out to go outside, she would try to bite me. It is impossible to place biting dogs and when we have one, we usually end up euthanizing it if the behavior continues. I thought for sure Mandy would be one of these dogs. It made me very sad. To make that decision is such a difficult thing to do. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and worked with her -- I pleaded with her, I talked to her, I explained things to her -- I would put my face in front of her crate and say, "ya know, if you keep this up, I will have to put you down and I don't really want to do that." And, of course, that crap makes me cry. She didn't seem to care. I had hope for her though, I really thought it was from what she had been experiencing in the latest weeks and wanted to give her the chance to come out of it. She finally started to come out of her crate for brief periods -- with the help of an attached leash to her collar so that I could guide her out without getting my hand chopped off.

After a couple weeks I knew she'd be workable, she was out and about more, and without me coaxing. The task would be to find someone that had the patience and kindness to work with her. (There's a long story with how her new owner found out about her and the Rescue, but I'll spare you, even though it makes you say, "the world works in mysterious ways") anyway,I got this call from a woman (Bev) saying she heard I had a Schnauzer in my care and could she come see her. I chatted with her a bit and asked her when she wanted to come by, she replied, "How about within an hour?" Um, OK.

It's a requirement that if you own dogs, you have to bring them with you to see if everyone gets along. So, she brought her 'Rosie' with her. Rosie was not interested in Mandy and Mandy didn't seem to want anything to do with Rosie. There was barking and posturing and carrying on. I thought, "ugh, this isn't going to work." Bev and I chatted a bit and I could feel myself sending the vibe that this was not going to work. I think I even mentioned something to that effect and we talked about how dogs usually work it all out, etc., but I thought for sure she would not be interested and thought I would have to say, "no," too. Bev looks at me and says, "ahh, they'll work it out, they'll be fine, I want her." I couldn't believe it.

Bev took her home and changed her name to Stella...Stella D'Oro to be exact. We stayed in touch and she gave me progress reports on Mandy's behavior changes. Stella went through training classes and Bev was diligent in working with her even though she seemed to fit right in with the family that first weekend when they went to Bev's Mom's birthday party.

Stella has become the model dog and gets spoiled as such. She often gets her own seat at the table, a taste of the food of the moment (on the floor, though, I believe) and she likes to kayak (and looks cute in her life jacket) but she doesn't care for being in a body of water, so she sits in her chair and watches the goings on. Living the life of Stella. She's a very lucky warms my heart.

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