There are ‘cat people’ and ‘dog people.’ We are definitely ‘dog people.’ I don’t hate cats, I like them okay, but as to pet preference, it’s definitely ‘dog.’ Ol’ Yeller and Because of Winn Dixie make me cry every time I watch them.
I did not have a dog or cat growing up. Since Drew and I have been married we’ve owned two dogs. Our first dog was a purebred Miniature Schnauzer we bought from a distant cousin of Drew’s. That dog’s name was Oliver. I loved that dog. I wrote about him here, here, here and here, and other places if you want to search 'dog' and see. I was heartbroken when we lost him, especially the way he was lost, and I felt silly about how sad I was for how long. But he was my dog. I’m a ‘dog person,’ like I said.
Anyway, the kids really wanted a new dog soon. I wasn’t ready and we were getting ready to move to St. Louis that wnter, so Drew and I told them to wait until the move and spring and then we’d think about getting another dog.
Enter Roscoe. We survived our first winter in St. Louis (COLD!) and in March of 2009 I started looking online for local pet-rescue shelters and looking at pictures of available dogs, because the kids were really begging, “Mom, Dad, you said in spring we could look for a new dog, it’s spring!!” Of all the pictures I looked over, I kept coming back to this cute little black and white dog on a no-kill shelter’s site. I told Drew, “This is the dog.” So we e-mailed them and began a long conversation. Turns out Roscoe had pneumonia and wasn’t yet well enough for them to bring him to an adoption event. We spent several weeks e-mailing back and forth, checking on his status, and finally went to an adoption event and filled out the paperwork that would allow us to take him home once we finally got to meet him. Finally we got word that he was recovering enough for them to bring him, and we went that Saturday to meet him. Of course we all fell in love with him. I was worried, though, because after the heartbreak of losing Oliver, I wasn’t sure I wanted to take in a dog that had health issues - didn’t want to risk losing him soon.
Roscoe ended up thriving once we got him home in late April. I think he just needed freedom and people to love on him. And he certainly has that with us.
Now that we’ve had Roscoe for two years, Drew and I have been making some observations about differences between purebred and rescued dogs. We have no idea what kind of dog Roscoe is....he’s just a cute little mutt.
Here are some observations:
Purebred, pampered from birth: If the door to the house was open, Oliver was out and exploring. He might wander home on his own when he good and felt like it, but he was a wanderer.
Rescued dog: If the door to the house is open, Roscoe will stay right there on the couch sleeping. If not, he’ll stand at the door looking at it like, “Why would I want to go out there? It’s nice and comfy in here where the people are.” If he does get out, he races around the yard and comes right back to the door. He is not about to risk getting lost. He’s been ‘out there’ and doesn’t think he needs to see any more of the world, thank you. We’ve nick-named him “Boomerang.”
Purebred: We never could teach Oliver to sit and wait for a treat no matter how hard we tried. He sort of acted like we owed him a bone just for being there.
Rescued dog: If I’m in the kitchen, Roscoe is there with his tail wagging, looking expectantly at the pantry door waiting for a bone. He’ll look at you earnestly and sit, tail still wagging, like he’s saying, “Please? A bone for me? I’m sitting.....”
Purebred: Oliver might come when you called him in from outside, if he was good and ready to come.
Rescued dog: If you call Roscoe, he’s scrambling to get there. He wants to be with his people, and isn’t about to risk being left outside.
Purebred: Oliver liked to snuggle, but it was usually on his terms. He liked to be where we were, but he liked his space, too.
Rescued dog: If I sit, Roscoe is right there, tail wagging, begging for a cuddle.
Purebred: Oliver would NOT go outside in the rain. No matter how long it had been raining or how much he must have to go potty.
Rescued dog: Roscoe doesn’t seem to mind the rain or even notice it.
Purebred: Oliver was TERRIFIED of fireworks and thunder.
Rescued dog: Roscoe sleeps through it all, and if he’s awake, he wags his tail happily and acts like nothing’s going on out of the ordinary.
But both dogs have been good little buddies. I’m thankful God gave us animals who can be little companions. I know it’s nothing like human friends and family, but I’m thankful for the little joys our dogs add to life. Roscoe’s happy, constantly wagging tail just makes me smile. There’s a sign at our vet’s office that says, “A dog smiles with his tail.” If so, then Roscoe is the smiliest dog I think I’ve ever known. Though Oliver was a really good dog and will always have a special place in my memory, I’m glad we found Roscoe when we went looking for a new dog that spring in 2009.