We have always rescued “pound” dogs. We call them the Grateful Dogs because it has been our experience that they love living here with us. This story is about how we came to adopt Dozer from PACC, our local Pima County Animal Care Center, which happens to be right down the street from us. More about that later. This is about Dozer.
Buddy, our beloved Devil Dog, story here, passed away in September of 2017. It was not until July of 2018 that we decided to get another dog. Meet Dozer, silly and happy, and makes you smile when you don’t want to. Sometime in June of 2018, after bringing Jim home after 5 months in the medical system, I found myself missing something and began searching the kennels at Pima County Animal Care Center. PACC was in the last stages of building a brand new facility and remodeling the old kennels. I would go after work, and on the weekends, to find a possible BFF and return home, to consider just how much of a commitment I would be willing to make. I would return the next day, only to find the dog had been adopted. Great! At least that dog found a home. I was looking for a good dog that had been overlooked anyway.
This behavior went on for a while. I began to think that my picking a dog was that dog’s lucky pass out of there. One Saturday in early July, it was time to put my money where my mouth was. For the dogs I wanted, the fee was waived, older dogs and ones that had been overlooked for several months.
Jim and I had decided that we needed a dog that would not jump the fence. It is only 4 feet in the front. The gates even less. Although Buddy could have easily jumped this fence, he never did, choosing to display his bravado to the coyotes by jumping on the fence rails madly, like, “If I could get out of here, you coyotes, you are in trouble.” He never did. And they never tried to get in either. Well, except for that once.
What else did we agree on? The dog should not be too old. Losing Buddy and Mollie was hard and still too close to my heart. We could not bear to lose another too soon. (I am currently considering an older companion for Dozer, if only because I hate to see them live their lives in a kennel.)
Um, No barkers. Barkers are out. Doggie nongratis. Nope, nope. Deal-breaker.
Okay, so one Saturday morning when PACC had just opened, I decided to come home with a dog. So I set out for PACC. I walked in the door, the main entrance of a beautiful new facility, past a kennel with an 11-year-old dog in it. 11, 12, 13.. ouch. Had to pass. I walked on. Someone was bringing in a tripod after his walk and put him in the second kennel. Black and brown like a Rottie, shorter than Bud, and only three legs, so surely he could not jump the fence. Here he came, (3-legged Dog) along, right into the kennel, Doopty, Doopty Do. He made me smile right away. I needed smiles.
The volunteer approached and the dog obediently entered the kennel. Walking up to the kennel, I asked if I could offer a treat. “Sure”, the woman at the adoption table said. I got out my treats. He came up to me willingly and took the treat. The bromance began. The dog took it gently, almost as though he could take it or leave it, soft mouth. Not like most, either too untrusting or too grabby. Ok, hurdle #1. “How old is the dog?” “We think about three.” she said. “Where did he come from.” “They brought him in from the Reservation when he was run over. We had to amputate.” Well, I thought. At least he won’t jump the fence, I thought. Our fence is ony 3 feet in front although it is 5 feet in back.
I sat with the dog a bit. Ok, not thinking about the challenges he and I would face, “I will take him.” It was imperative that the dog that was to become habituated to our home did not jump the fence, I took him home on a “Foster to Adopt” contract. Dozer, it said on the paperwork. “Dozer” the name would stay. Adoption fees were waived for an older dog. The license fee was $19 annually, and a free checkup at a participating vet. Dozer had been recently neutered after three weeks of recovery from his amputation. He was getting around pretty good for a new tripod.
The volunteer that processed us said that he would get stronger but not to expect him to go on “Brisk Walks” as I had filled out as a requirement on my adoption papers. Boy was she wrong.
I’ll give you one guess what the first thing Dozer did when I left him in a dog bed just outside the door, since he would not venture in. Yep, jumped right over the gate. I found him outside the gate, wondering which way the kennel was. Those people had been good to him. (BTW, to many dogs have escaped this way. PACC now recommends that you leave your new dog on a leash until you are sure he won’t run.)
Back to the story. Finally, with much coaxing, cookies, and a little shove, we got Dozer in the house. Next morning, I set about taking Dozer for a walk. At first, it took a while to even get him to the end of the driveway on a leash. He kept sitting down, refusing to move. The next day, about 50 yards further, he sits down, and so it went for a while.
4 years later, Dozer is my constant companion. Not only does he go on 2-3 mile walks with me, but he is also fast and agile. He might be part Rottweiler but I am convinced that he is part Australian Blue Healer as well. As much as I love the job that PACC and its cadre of dedicated volunteers are doing, they were wrong about this one. But thank you for saving this wonderful dog’s life. It has saved mine as well. Rescue a dog. Volunteer for a walk the dog program. Donate. It will make you smile.
PACC, Pima County Care Center, is located on Silverbell Road just south of the Silverbell Golf Course, at the crossroads of the Sweetwater stoplight. Can’t miss it. It the one with the beautiful sculpture on the face of the building, thanks to your taxes. They always are in need of help.