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"DAISY" tribute to a stray shelter dog

Folks please try harder to stick by your dogs, adopted, or brought into your home as a young puppy, even when they don't seem like "easy dogs" and you'd like to give up on them.

Try to accommodate when you can. In most cases things can be worked out or

managed somewhat easily.

And try to open your mind to adopting a homeless dog that might have "some issues"

They can be some of the best dogs you'll ever have.

I know.  I met Daisy and was ready to give up on her more than once.


"Daisy" was a young, flea bitten, skinny and scared "stray dog" at Bonnie Hays Shelter back in August 2004. I was a Volunteer Dog Walker there, and met her one Sat morning when her stray "hold time" was up, and she had just been moved to the adoption floor. When I went into her kennel to take her out for a walk, she growled at me. (lovely, right?)  I talked to her, offered some treats, didn't pressure her, and when she relaxed and came over to me, I decided it would be ok to walk her.

Well back then, things were very different in the Portland shelter world, and a dog growling at anyone in a shelter was often a death sentence for the dog.  In this particular shelter, the residing senior animal care person was especially unforgiving, and even a barking dog or jumpy dog was in danger of dire retribution -  unless the dog was one of her personal "favs".... she applied the same arbitrary "fav" system of reward/punishment with the volunteers, and no, I wasn't one on her favs.

Anyway.....When I got home from the Bonnie Hays shelter that day in Aug 2004, I thought about the fate of this dog I had met. Although "Daisy" had initially growled at me in her kennel,  on our walk she kept checking in with me and I liked her! I felt she was doomed to be euthanized, and I felt responsible because I had reported the growling.  By Sunday evening, I was distraught, and decided that I wanted to "save" her. I arranged with someone I knew in a local rescue group to get her out, and I would foster until "Daisy" found a compatible home.

ps- please don't ever "save" a dog that might otherwise be euthanized, unless you are also ready to adopt and commit to it if a good permanent home can't be found. Far too many shelter dogs end up in limbo because of  someone's "good intentions!"

"Daisy" got along great my other 2 dogs, and after about 3 months of not finding the right home, I adopted her. Daisy was a big part of my family for 13 years until she recently died. There were times over the years I wanted to give up on her because of some behavior issues  - never directed at me, she was totally devoted to me; but under stress, or when not feeling well, Daisy food guarded/door guarded from my other dogs (Daisy could just give one hard look - which I wouldn't even notice - until I happened to see one of my other dogs slinking out of the room. ( thinking about it, her one look to get that result was pretty powerful communication on Queen Daisy's part....)  and she was prone to be over- territorial of my house and yard (but she did get a lot better over the years) It was actually a benefit when she became hard of hearing, and thus more relaxed about the sounds/movement of world outside of her realm :)  I sometimes envied my friends with their "perfect easy dogs" yet Daisy was such a good friend,  playmate with other dogs, loving, loyal, funny, playful, cuddly, incredibly agile! Daisy could tear up and down the stairs, race around the yard, under the table and hop onto her chair with my other dog looking on in wonder, and unable to catch up.  She was gentle with foster puppies and treated them like a mother, gently putting her mouth over their noses when they got too bitey. Daisy was telepathic, I swear she knew when I was giving one of the other dogs attention in another room, even though she couldn't see around the corner, and I wasn't giving the same signals of what I was about to do. She just knew and would be looking at me like, yes, I'm waiting for you to come over here! Daisy was amazingly cooperative with handling at the vet - and yes, treats do help a lot at the vet, as do good animal handlers.

I'm glad we managed through the occasional issues over the years and didn't give up on her at  low points.  When Daisy's ultrasounds early in 2016 showed rapidly growing tumors and she was diagnosed with Lymphoma, I was devastated. I realized how much I really cared about her. After vacillating, I opted for more extensive vet care. Daisy did well with chemotherapy which extended her life by more than a year. In fact, Daisy apparently lived an amazing 2 1/2 years with the rare type of Lymphoma that she had (apparently undiagnosed until later made evident by the symptoms)  I'm so glad we had that extra time together.

I guess having lived to 13 1/2 yrs or so, people would say she lived a long dog life;

but as other dog lovers know, it  still wasn't long enough.

Daisy I loved you, and am so glad we met that morning in the Bonnie Hays shelter.  We miss you.

Photo credit Bob Libby

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