Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Story by Courtney

I was lucky enough to avoid a childhood of begging for my first dog. I was born with two and it progressed from there. In my teens, I had a bad habit of finding strays or adopting dogs. One of the best things about my life growing up was that there was never a shortage of face-licking friends who where there when I needed them. I'd raised, trained, and loved dogs of all sizes and ages including litters of newborn puppies and senior dogs with special needs.

My sister and Duchess
Two of the worst days of my life centered around the loss of furry family. Duchess, our Golden Retriever, was my youngest sister's best friend. She slept with my sister and would help her to the bathroom in the night since my sister has debilitating eye problems. I was home alone when Duchess passed away. Shortly thereafter, Duke, a flat-coated Retriever, had a stroke. My family struggled with the choice to euthanize or not, but Duke was still trying, so we decided to make the best of his remaining time. For months, I took care of him and he lived for almost one more year of spoiling and love after Duchess passed away. I came home from an overnight shift after everyone else had left for school and work. He looked up at me, smiled, and was gone. Once again, I was left to deal with it alone.

At the time, we also had a Pomeranian we'd adopted from a shelter. A stray Chihuahua came into our lives followed by a stray Chocolate Lab mix I named Bullet. Bullet had been bounced from home to home for weeks, and he wasn't more than a couple of months old. His stomach was scarred up and he had a lot of abandonment and anxiety issues, but he was my baby. While he may never be a service dog candidate, Bullet made improvements. However, when I made the decision to move out on my own, I also made the decision to give my baby to my youngest sister to try and fill the hole left when Duchess passed.

That was the start of my first dog-less years. Mikey and I could not have a dog in our apartment and neither one of us was used to not having at least one. We ended up with a rat named Zombie who acted just like a dog. We both loved Zombie to pieces and had him for years. We went on a short trip for our anniversary and came home to a very sick Zombie. After a day of hand feeding him and spending every moment with him, he slipped into a coma and the vet told us euthanasia would be the best decision for him.

We were getting ready to move from our apartment in Southern California to a house the San Francisco Bay Area with Mikey's family when we decided to look into getting a dog. While working at Disneyland, I'd once met the most amazing service dog in training. She was fluffy and white and I'd never seen a dog like her. I asked about her and her handler told me she was a mini Eskie. Years later, here I was taking a dog breed test trying to figure out the best breed for us, and I came across the breed again. I looked into the breed further and found a blog by a dog named Casper. He was also a mini Eskie, like the one I'd met years before, so I started looking into Eskie rescues and breeders.

I got into contact with local clubs and rescues, and finding a potential furbaby was harder that I thought it would be. I was told California is a hostile environment for breeders so I would have a hard time finding a breeder much less one who would let a Californian have one of their puppies. Rescues were even more disheartening as I couldn't meet adoption requirements because I rent instead of own, and I'm only engaged to Mikey and we aren't yet married. I finally got into contact with the right person. After six months of contact, questions, and research, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our furbaby.

Our furbaby was born on June 4th, 2011 in a litter of five boys. Male dogs have always been my preference, but it will be an adjustment for Mikey. The litter was given car related names and we immediately fell in love with "Bentley." For various meaningful reasons, we've decided to name him Spooky and he will be ours within a week. It will be an interesting experience for us. Mikey has never had a fluffy dog with a tail since he grew up with English and French Bulldogs. He also has never had a male dog. I've never raised a puppy from day one as the alpha dog or decision maker. Despite years of experience, I was always an assistant to my parents.

Mikey's family has two female French Bulldogs, Dinky and Minnie, with an established chain of command, routine, and expectations. Mikey and I moving shook things up for all of us. Bringing Spooky in will be an even bigger sudden change for everyone, but I think it will be an entirely beneficial change in the long run. It won't be easy getting them adjusted to a new dog, much less a puppy who looks so different from them. We have our work cut out for us, especially with our goals for training and family adventures, but it will definitely be worth it.


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About Me

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My name is Spooky Bentley Chatham and I'm a Miniature American Eskimo Dog. I was born on June 4th, 2011 and went to live with my new Mommy and Daddy on August 2nd, 2011. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my mom, dad, grandparents, uncle, and two French Bulldog aunts.

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