A Memorial Weekend to remember – Meet Daisy!
My dad turned 90 years old and invited nearly 100 friends and family members to celebrate with him in May 2022. He asked for a companion dog from his children. You see, he lost his Oscar of 12 years just 3 weeks before. Dad is fortunate to be healthy and active, plus, he has several caring family members visit him each day. Oscar was an American Pit Bull Terrier who my parents rescued. They were lucky he was social with people and dogs, however, was extremely excited by toys. When Oscar grabbed a toy, and began to pull backwards with his 70 lbs of muscle, you better let go or end up on your knees. He was strong and so aroused, he could hardly think. Toys were more important to him then food, so trading was not an easy task for my aging parents. Still they loved him and gave him a great home.
On Friday afternoon, while my seven siblings and their spouses were preparing for the Birthday party, my sister Sheri and her husband, Tom, picked Robert and me up from the airport. Knowing I only had three days to find my dad a companion dog, I set out to visit three shelters to find the right senior dog for my dad.
As a Certified CARAT Assessor https://suzanneclothier.com/carat/certified-carat-assessors/ I am able to quickly assess a dogs temperament and understand what is important to the dog. Traits like sociability, social confidence, environmental confidence, energy, arousal, patience and sensitivities are all important to know before bringing a dog home to a busy household. The first shelter was small, I walked through the kennels and did not see one dog that appeared calm, patient and social. We went to a larger shelter in hopes of finding the right dog for my dad.
Assessing different dogs
When a shelter staff member at the Animal Welfare Society walked in with a medium sized dog who instantly began smelling the entire room and ignoring us, I said to them, “thanks, I am looking for a dog who enjoys the company of humans.” When they brought in Suzie, a sweet pit mix who immediately became passive, noted by her compressed body, licking my hands and face and low wagging tail, I let them know she didn’t have the social confidence to handle my family gatherings.
Next, they brought in Max, a goofy black Labrador mix with a greying muzzle. I thought to myself, he may be the dog! He enjoyed petting, took treats gently, enjoyed the toys with a playful but easy mouth and sat in my sister’s lap. Then, I dropped a book off the table and he shot for the door, jumping up on it to escape. I spoke to him and showed him the book on the floor as I tossed him a few treats. He began to eat the treats and was eventually able to come investigate the book. However, he repeatedly would look back at the book as if still slightly worried. Bummer. Max’s sound sensitivity and slow resilience would not be a good fit for our noisy home. We continued our search and with each dog, the shelter staff gained a better understanding of the dog that would fit in with our large noisy family.
On Sunday afternoon, knowing I was flying out on Monday, we thankfully met Daisy! She calmly walked into the room with a soft eye, relaxed open mouth and gently greeted each of us staying as long as we were petting her. She took treats gently, was somewhat interested in the toys, but preferred to interact with the humans in the room. As we crowded around her, she blinked her eyes softly and smiled as if to say, “the more the better”. We walked her outside to observe her behavior. She smelled the grass briefly, then turned toward us as if to say “are you coming?” Many dogs pull as if on their own agenda, but not Daisy. She then saw a dog nearby and leaned into the leash with a soft body, open mouth and loose waging tail. This was important as we have siblings who bring their dogs to my dad’s for visits. I looked over at the Shelter Staff and said “Daisy is perfect for my dad, when can we take her?”
The staff informed us that Daisy had been found tied outside. She was underweight and her collar was embedded deep into her neck. We are so thankful to those who rescued her at the Animal Welfare Society, Cincinnati, Ohio. After nearly 2 months in recovery, Daisy is now rolling in the grass daily and has a human to call her own. Happy Birthday Dad and Daisy