Real Rescue Dogs Are Talking…
HIYA!! SAVANNAH HERE!!!
LIFE CHANGING INTERVIEWS WITH SAVANNAH
A Bi-Monthly Series Featuring Adult Rescue Dogs and Cats
Oh Cat!!! Do I have a couple of great canine furriends here with me today!!! You are so going to luvluvluv them both!!
Now you probably already know them by their blog, but you may not know all about how they came to be together…I know they have been paw bloggers since 2006 and if you have been following them, then you may already know their rescue stories…but rescue stories are always worth telling again… and so without waiting…
Purrlease help me give a warm welcome to Dave and Zim from The Army of Four!!
APAWS!!! APAWS!!!! APAWS!!!!
Savannah: Arrrwooo Zim and Dave!! Thanks so much for stopping by to have a woof with me. And I see Dave is kind of over there behind you…is he napping??? Anyways, you two decide who barks and when, ok?
Zim/Dave: Ha roo, Savannah! Wowzers, is this cool! Dave and I really appreciate you taking the time to interview us. I’ll do most of the answering, if that’s OK. And umm… yeah… that’s Dave. He’s umm… on Guard Duty behind me. A-hem.
Savannah: Now, Zim, I think maybe you found your furrever home before Dave, is that right?
Zim: That’s right, Sav-a-dab-a-do. I got here in July of ’01 and Davy adopted us in January of ’02 — just 6 months later.
Savannah: Can you fill us in on how you, Zim, and then Dave, ended up in the same furrever home?
Zim: Well, to make a long story short, it was just meant to be. What’s that, Dave?…(Zim leans over to whisper with Dave…woo-woo-rroo—arwoo—woo)
OK, I got it Dave…(turns back to Savadabado)…Dave said maybe that’s too short.
So here’s how it went…through a series of events that certainly weren’t my fault, I landed at the local shelter when I was about a year and a half old. Mom and Dad had met me in the neighborhood after a Good Samaritan took me in (then gave up on me).
They found out about my unfortunate incarceration and tried to spring me the very day I got there. Unfortunately, since the guy who turned me in wasn’t my “owner”, they had to wait 5 days (shelter rules).
Mom came and hung out with me and read to me every day—and brought smells of my future sisters with her—until I could go home! (Mom and Dad had two incredible girl Sibes at home just waiting to adopt me into the fold—Stormy and Amber!)
Six months later, a Siberian Husky rescue group in Oklahoma contacted Mom about a Sibe in our shelter. Would she be willing to go see if he was adoptable? If he was, would Mom be willing to do a short-time foster, then help transport him down there into a foster home? (We live in Kansas)
Mom ran with it, pegged Dave as a snuggle-bunny right from the get-go, and Mom and Dad brought him home the next day. They thought Stormy, our alpha, wouldn’t really accept an adult into her home (Dave was about 4 years old at the time), but they figured they could keep them separated until it was time to head to OK.
Dave knew he was home from the instant he walked through the door! Me and Ammy loved him right away, and Stormy…well, it was interesting! Dave didn’t really understand pack dynamics and wouldn’t do what Stormy told him to like us redheads did…but he was so nice, she was OK with it.
He captured Mom and Dad’s hearts, and when the time came to take him on his journey South (I think it was like two days later), they made the decision: Foster Failure. Mom called the folks in Oklahoma and told them Dave had already found his forever home. The Army of Four was born!
Savannah: That’s some story Zim. What a pawsome furramily!
Zim, I know you have been in your home a long time now, but when you first came, could you arwoo woo a bit about how you and Dave adjusted to your new home and learned to trust your Mom and Dad?…and of course…you had to fit in with Amber and Stormy too! Some challenges, huh Zim?
Zim: Ahem…koff, koff…Savvy, I don’t like to dwell on it too much, but yeah, problems adjusting for me…(Zim looks off into the distance…quiet…thoughtful ears)…Yeah…(turns back to Savvy)
Well, Savvy, I basically had given up on life. See, what Mom, Dad, and the vets pieced together was that I had been chained to a tree for the first year and a half of my life. I’d never been trained, socialized, and walked… never been in a house, in a car, on an adventure…nothing! I was afraid of most people (especially women).
Much of my bleached-out coat had been cut or shaved, and I was clinically anorexic. It was a major accomplishment if I could eat 5 pieces of kibble at meal time because my tummy was so shrunken. And you know what? I just didn’t care…errrr…ummm…Savvy, do you mind if I take a minute and let Dave answer? Then I’ll get back to how I coped with it all!
Savannah: Oh Zim, no problem. You just sit there…Savannah turns to Dave…Hey Dave, come a bit closer…there, that’s good…why don’t you pick up here for a bit, OK?
Dave: Sure Savvy, no problem. Thanks, Zim. I was at the shelter screaming this high-pitched Siberian Death Scream for a month or more! In fact, they named me “Yodel” there because of the scream. (Sibe furramilies all know what that sound is like…high pitched and ear splitting!!)
As soon as I laid eyes on my mom, though, I let out a soft, gentle “woooo”. The lady at the shelter said she would have given me more time if she’d heard that sound sooner. Yeah. “More time”. … I had already been scanned a second time to check for a microchip and was scheduled to be put down that very day.
Mom asked the lady if PLEASE she could give her enough time to fill my Dad in on the plan to “foster” me (har woo!) and she promised she was going to spring me. The nice, nice lady remembered Mom from when she read to Zimmie every day, and cut us some slack. God was very busy helping me out that day!!!
Anyway – because I’d been in the shelter so long, and because of conditions before that, I have a real problem with being crated…or even kept in the bedroom with the kiddie gate up. Basically…I can’t stand being away from my Mom. I still haven’t gotten over any of that. I can’t help it…(hangs head slightly, softly woos)…Ok…I think that’s enough from me…Zim?…you ready to woo some more with Savvy?
Zim: Thanks, Dave. Sav, basically everything was a challenge to me—from trusting to learning the rules to even eating!
Savannah: Zimmerz, you and Dave had pretty different challenge from each other, huh? If it’s not too personal, can you bark and woo about stuff you each tried out to learn to show your Mom and Dad more of your REAL SELVES??
Zim: Mom tried all kinds of stuff to help Dave over his fear of being crated and stuff, but …he just can’t get past it. She let me and the girls show him that it’s a great place to hang out, she gave him treats in there, she only put him in for 5 seconds at a time and praised the daylights out of him—but no. He FREAKED!
It’s funny, though—she took the door off one of our carriers, and once she did that, Dave thought it was a great place to nap. Just—not with the door on!!! It’s his one thing, and Mom and Dad just don’t ever crate him or kennel him. (Or me.)
With me, as you can imagine, I needed a LOT of training! I was a wild man. I mean—think of it from my perspective! For instance, what was the difference between the dining room table and a hill? Nothing! So why not jump up there and lift my leg on the flowers up there – right? Apparently not a right thing to do.
Mom didn’t want to discipline me, though, because of how afraid I was of people. She knew I was in a fragile state, so she just praised the daylights out of me when I did good stuff! (I learned what to do by watching my sisters!)
So who DID discipline me? Stormy…our alpha pack leader! She could reach me in a way Mom couldn’t When I did jump up on the table, Mom saw, but didn’t want to react. Stormy did, though. She waited for me to jump down, then grabbed me by the neck and explained to me as only a Siber-mom could…that we do not use the centerpiece or anything else in the house as a “marking post”. Who knew? Storm took care of me like that, correcting me when I messed up.
She took care of me in another way, too…as did Amber. As I said, I really didn’t want to and couldn’t eat. Stormy got drinks of water, then came over to me and had me lick her muzzle. And Ammy…my sweet sister Ammy! At meal times, she would take kibble out of her own bowl and bring it to me! Is that the kindest thing you’ve ever heard? She was incredible! She taught me about love, showed me there are some people you can trust, and that there really IS good in the world.
I was able to trust my sisters in ways I just couldn’t trust Mom and Dad. I mean…not at that point. But Mom and Dad were patient and let the girls help me…I studied everything and saw how they treated them…and that helped!
Once I got stronger, Dave came along! Guess who taught me how to play?!!? That’s right, my big brother Dave! What a guy!
Savannah: Oh Zim, hang on a sec’ ‘kay?? (Savvy turns to paw away little tear with her hankie…sniff, sniff…turns back to Zimmerz) Oh, thanks for waiting Zimmerz, sorry about that…it’s just that I can’t believe how much Stormy and Ammy showed their love for you and how much they wanted you to be a member of their furramily…nice.
So, after some training with your big sisters, how were you able to start showing your REAL SELF and how did you do that…I mean, like what did you do that was different from before this home?
Zim: It took several months for me, Savannah. A long, gradual process! Mom and Dad were patient and kind (but with consistent training), and Dave and the girls were a huge help to me. Everything about my real home was different from the place I came from. Everything!
And now, I can’t wait to go on adventures with Mom…I get to ride shotgun and help her with traffic and stuff. Remember, I had a problem with women at first, and now, Mom is like my best friend! Oh yeah, and, ahhhh…ummm…I haven’t done that ‘hike the leg’ thingy for years in our house…and food is definitely a lot more interesting to me than in my early days…woo wooo!
For Dave, it was pretty immediate. Ha roo roo roo – what a fun guy right from the get-go!
Savannah: This has been just great. Now Zim, last question for you guys. Can you offer any advice to our readers to help them support their adult rescue dog, or one they may be thinkin’ about bringing into their home, through its transition into a new and loving home?
Zim: I would say don’t hesitate to adopt an adult pet! We CAN change, we CAN learn, and oh, do we have a lot of loving to give! Just be patient with us; we want to please, we just have to figure out how to do it. And don’t hesitate to ‘think outside the box’…like my Mom and Dad letting my sisters handle a lot of my training and mentoring. I was so much more trusting of other pups than of people!
Dave: Yeah. And some of us come pretty well-trained already…and CAN win over alpha dogs! Stormy and I became really great friends!
Savannah: Zim and Dave, you have been just pawsome! I learned so much about you I never knew and how you both have overcome so much to be able to live as your REAL SELF! Any last thought or words of wisdom you want to share?
Zim: We both advise everyone to live life to its fullest! There are so many great adventures out there waiting for you—give a shelter pet a second chance at sharing them with you!
Savvy, thanks again for doing this! We appreciate you taking the time to do the interview…and especially appreciate your readers taking the time to check us out!
Dave: I agree! And thanks, Savannah! It’s mighty nice of you to do this!
ummmm…yeah sure guys…although sometimes it’s hard to tell if you really “agree” on things…MOL…
Give them more APAWS!!! Weren’t they pawsome!!…sometimes I wish I was a Siberian…sigh…but I don’t think I am brave enough yet…
That’s my last Real Rescue Dogs and Cats Are Talking Interview for 2012! I am honored to have had TEN courageous adult rescue dogs and cats bark and meow with me…and I hope I can encourage SEVEN more dogs and SEVEN more cats to share their stories with me. I want to run my series for one year and I am almost half way there.
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS AND REFERRAL FOR PAWTICIPATING IN “LIFE CHANGING INTERVIEWS WITH SAVANNAH: REAL RESCUE CATS AND DOGS ARE TALKING”.
Thanks for coming by, Paw pats, Savannah