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Don’t Shop, ADOPT! (Jenny’s Story)

We have 4 dogs.

On Facebook and in “real life,” everyone knows about our Saint Bernards.  My wife Cori and I have 3 of them.  We seem to show them all of our attention “on line,” but… then, there is Jenny!

Cori saved Jenny in 1999 from “People for Animals” at an Adopt-A-Thon in Cranford, New Jersey.  1999!  It’s now 2012!  That’s 13 years ago! Jenny’s, at the very least, 14 years old but we don’t know for sure how old she was when Cori found her (or she found Cori!).

Jenny is not exactly pretty, though she is to us now!  It’s clear she has Doberman Pincher in her, but… not quite!  She’s a black dog.  That’s what I call her… ”Black Dog” (with the utmost affection mind you!).  What she may lack in looks, she makes up for in love, intelligence and obedience!

Cori wanted a black and tan dog 13 years ago.  Interestingly, she went to this Adopt-a-Thon by chance!  She saw Jenny lying in a “ball,” as cute as a button!  She had a Milk-bone next to her that Cori picked up and tried to feed back to her… she didn’t want it.  Then Cori wanted to know what her history was.

Jenny was “found” in Newark, New Jersey, running with one other dog, on the streets.  If you know anything about Newark, New Jersey, the streets there are unforgiving for man or beast! One of the rescuers from the group saw these two dogs every day as she left Newark from work to go home. Knowing how unforgiving the streets of Newark are, she was compelled to follow them after seeing them do this for a couple of weeks. She followed both dogs to a residence. She got out of her car and knocked o n the door. A woman came to the door and the rescuer explained to her that she had continually seen these two dogs and explained how dangerous that is for them. She then offered to take both dogs to find them better, more suitable homes. The woman explained that only one of the dogs was hers. She could not let her have that dog but she could do what she wanted with the black one, that dog “just showed up one day.” Jenny must have had some Street Smarts about her, that’s for sure!  One would think a dog that could survive the streets of Newark would be vicious and aggressive!  Well, she can be if she needs to be, but Jenny is the most sweetest, intelligent, trained and grateful dog I have ever met!

She takes GREAT pleasure in LICKING hands!

So much she has to be stopped!  She has NEVER needed a leash, not even when other dogs or animals are in her path, and she has this very cool “Sit Up” trick when asked where she sits-up on her rear-end with her front paws UP waiting for a reward.  AMAZING!  Amazing, because, Cori nor I EVER taught her this!!  She either is the most intelligent dog in the world, or was very well-trained by someone!  However, if the latter is the reason, how could she be “left on the streets or abandoned?”  She is NOT a “runaway,” she’s too smart!  Jenny would never get lost!

Perhaps she had an owner who passed away, was evicted, had to move somewhere else?  We will NEVER KNOW!  If someone took the TIME to train her as well as she behaves, there is LITTLE possibility (in my opinion) that they would desert her and kick her to the “streets.”  Impossible!

Jenny has been living a “charmed” life for 13 years though.  She loves and is loved very, very much!  She has cats and other dogs to “play with,” but seems to prefer being independent.  She does have a mutual fondness for Rudy, our 11 year old Saint Bernard, as well as her two cat friends, but Jenny is a character!

She likes (or learned) to steal snacks and bones from her counterparts!  (Hey!  If you live on the “streets,” you gotta do what you gotta do!), but she willingly relents when we “catch” her!  She still LOVES TO LICK, and snuggle, but only for a little while, after which she is most comfortable on the couch where she snores soundly and peacefully!

Jenny has lost her hearing over the past year.  However, this girl quickly learned Cori and my “sign language” which we use to prompt her to go out, sit, eat, lie-down, and everything else she does!  Like I mentioned earlier, we don’t know exactly how old she is, but she is going strong, and is quite a happy dog!  AND… WE are HAPPY to have her!

You see…some people are afraid to rescue dogs.  There is a common misconception that you may “adopt someone else’s problem.”  This is a HUGE MYTH!  There are thousands of dogs that are sitting in cages, waiting and hoping to be “taken home,” yet people STILL go to “Puppy Stores” and buy puppies!  These puppies may be coming from “Puppy Mills” that have no love of DOGS, but only love of PROFIT!  These dogs can be sickly, tortured, packed 12 to a cage for ONE and the “practice” of this MUST BE STOPPED!

Yes, there are good breeders out there!

They follow the rules, and CARE about their pups.  HOWEVER, if you simply “want a dog,” and go out to any old “pet shop” or “PUPPY MEGA-STORE” to buy one, DON’T!!!  Please THINK AGAIN!  Check your local shelter!  SAVE A LIFE!  Most shelters will let you “try out” your potential pup on a trial-basis!  No tricks up-their-sleeves!  The caring shelters want nothing more than to save animals, and help you find your “perfect pet!”

What would have happened to Jenny if Cori didn’t adopt her?  She may have been killed, euthanized, “put to sleep,” whatever you prefer to call it!  I lean toward “KILLED” and for no good reason!  Jenny shows us love, appreciation, and loyalty every single day!  It’s obvious that SHE KNOWS she has been SAVED from a life of starvation, neglect, abandonment and, possibly premature DEATH.  Dogs ARE “Man’s Best Friend,” and there are thousands waiting for YOU to be friends with!

Please.  If you’re looking to bring the most wonderful, loving, and loyal “friend” into your home, “Don’t shop, ADOPT!”  Saving a Life is beyond reward, and you WILL be the BIGGEST HERO to a friend for life!  Jenny has taught us this lesson, and we, as dog LOVERS, will NEVER BUY AGAIN!

Leo Battenhausen, MSW, LCADC, is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.