Monday, October 15, 2012

Blackberry-Not-Named-For-The-Phone's Back!

This is Blackberry, our dog.  She was named after the fruit, not the phone, in case you were interested.  :-)  She is also a pound puppy and just recently came to live with us in our new house.

When the boys were about 3 and 5 I decided it was time to get a dog.  I grew up with dogs and they were always treated like part of the family, including sleeping in our beds and going on camping trips with us.  My husband and I have had cats since we were living in an apartment most of our married life, but I wanted my boys to grow up with a dog.

We originally adopted Maple, a gorgeous full-blood chocolate lab puppy.  She came to us with food aggression which I was unable to do anything about, even with professional training.  For about a year I didn't dare touch her or her food when she was eating and warned the boys to do the same.  Unfortunately one day she was chewing on a dead mole and the boys went over to see what she was doing and she growled and lunged at them, trying to bite my oldest.   That was the final straw for me.

Strike 1...

We brought her back to the no-kill shelter (she was adopted in a day or two by an older couple with no children who we were told adored her) and decided to pick out a new dog.  We adopted an adorable black-and-white grown male dog who was supposed to be a bull terrier mix.  Unfortunately, when I brought him to the vet that day our vet told us the dog looked to be 100% pit bull (I am apparently clueless about dog breeds) and suggested the dog might not be a great fit with young children.  I know many people love their pit bulls, but since he was full-grown and I didn't know his history and he had huge powerful jaws full of gigantic teeth, I decided to take my vet's advice.

Strike 2...

I went back the next day to return the poor pit bull (which was not labeled as a pit bull because you can't adopt them in Texas).  Fortunately the pit bull was adopted within a week by a family with a 2 year old son who overlooked the giant jaws full of sharp teeth because the dog was so sweet and loving and most likely completely harmless.

By then the shelter was getting sick of seeing me and I think I was labeled as a horrible dog mom.  I decided to give it one more try since we really wanted a family dog, but that dog had to be great with kids and not scare me.

The day we returned the pit bull was PetSmart day and all of the most adoptable dogs were gone to the store.  One nice young man working there said they did have one dog he thought we might like, but she did have some issues.  She had been at the shelter for eleven months (she was found at an oil well when she was a puppy) and had chronic diarrhea that was not related to any disease they knew of, and was somewhat controlled by a special diet.  She was basically not adoptable because of this issue.

My first thought was no way in Hades did I want a dog with special needs, especially when it concerned something so messy and disgusting. But since we wanted an outside dog and I was feeling guilty that I had returned two dogs within a year, I told him to bring her out anyway to meet me and the boys.

Home Run!!!

Of course we fell in love with her instantly.  She is part lab, part whippet and the most loving dog I have ever had.  And when we brought her home she had no more diarrhea, even with normal dog food.  After 11 months of stomach and intestinal issues at the shelter, she was suddenly cured!  Either it was a miracle (I like to think so) or she had a nervous stomach and being kenneled in a dog shelter for almost a year with huge numbers of barking dogs made her chronically sick.

When we moved in our new house this winter we could not bring her because we have no back fence, so she has been happily living with my parents.  We planned on putting a fence in, but after getting a estimate (and going into shock), we decided to try to install an invisible fence. We purchased the SportDOG 100-Acre In-Ground Pet Fence System and my husband installed it in one afternoon (around a one-acre lot), we went to reclaim our dog (with some sad goodbyes from my parents) and Blackberry was trained to stay in our yard within 2 days.

The special collar makes a beeping sound if she gets near the boundary, and if she starts crossing it, the collar gives her a mild shock.  She has been shocked twice and now stays far away from the property line.  But unlike a back fence, she has access all around the house and can hang out anywhere with us outside in our yard or porch.  She has adjusted great and we have had so much fun having her home with us.  And now we have a friend to bring walking to the nearby parks and festivals.

My husband, who was never allowed any inside pets as a child, told me that under no circumstances could she come in the house.  We have a big shaded yard, large front and back covered porches, and she has a nice big kennel in the windowed garage where she could sleep, so I agreed with him.

But of course my husband is a big softie and doesn't realize he is actually a dog lover, and Blackberry gets to come and visit with us in the evenings while we are reading or watching TV.   And she visits us inside when we are doing school in the mornings.  However, I have been warned that if my husband wakes up with her in bed with us then it is him or the dog.

Give her a few more months, I bet he will be snuggling with her himself.  ;-)

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  1. She looks so, so sweet!! I am a HUGE dog lover. When we first got our puppy my husband was adamant that she would never, ever sleep in the bed with us. At HIS suggestion, we now wake up to her snuggling in between us every morning! Just give it time... :)

  2. Awwww!! I love it! I picked one of our dogs (Dug) when he was 7 days old. I knew he was the one. When I went to pick him up at 6 weeks, there was another puppy that I HAD TO HAVE. My husband freaked out at two dogs, so back went George. My cousin kept the dog, but a year later...George Jetson is with us. He's kind of a mess now compared to our other dog...imagine if my husband would've just listened to me the first time. (Also, the dogs aren't allowed on the bed with us. Two full grown golden retrievers, no room)

  3. Blackberry is the perfect fit, you can tell! She is just lovely and so glad you all found each other, it was meant to be.

  4. Such a sweet story. Glad you have her back with you. :)