A SENIOR BRIT FINDS HAPPINESS
It was a cold, dark Friday afternoon in February 2015, a snowstorm was promised for the next day when Herb received a phone call that an older Brittany had been turned into the municipal shelter and was not adjusting well. I rushed over and found that Penny, a 9.5 yr old female, had been turned in by her only owner – who had decided “he wasn’t gonna do no more huntin’” and didn’t need/want his dog. Poor girl, left alone in a concrete floored cage. I made arrangements for Penny to be “pulled” by American Brittany Rescue on Saturday when I would hold her until arrangements could be made for a proper foster home.
But later that Friday a family decided to adopt Penny. Great! All ABR machinery was stopped and Penny went to her new home.
Several months later, I learned that it wasn’t working out well for Penny. She was not happy. She had become incontinent. I offered to take her. No dice. Weeks passed and finally the owners relented. After checking with Michelle, I took Penny home. She was sweet, but oh, so confused and scared! Yes, she was incontinent, so I put her into doggy diapers (not a new idea to me!) so that she could have freedom around the house. I tightened her feeding, watering and bathrooming and things improved, but she still was not there. Meanwhile ABR (Michelle) spared no expense (I was amazed!). A UTI was identified and treated. She improved. Finally, I added a homeopathic treatment and lo and behold, within 2 weeks she was totally DRY!
Penny, my Brit, Chevy, and I went on long walks as summer turned to fall. Penny liked to mosey along smelling the flowers while my brit liked to be out in front checking the doggie messages–that left me hung up in the middle. Penny loved to pick up acorns along the road, and thought that was a no-no, so she would hold them in her mouth and give me that “wha? Me? No” look. After days of these laughable moments, I let her keep her damn acorns!
She seemed to have a problem with strong sun, she squinted. So I bought Doggles and, amazingly, she left them on…at least for a while. (Picture of Penny in doggles with Chevy).
Herb was forced into a tough decision – keep her or let her be adopted by another. She is so sweet, so easy-going, and so loving. She bonded beautifully to me, but two dogs at my age was going to be difficult. Adoption was the best option. After negating a few candidates, Ms. Helen L., contacted ABR. She seemed to need a dog as much as Penny needed an owner all her own.
Helen her new owner had made arrangements during the summer of 2015, to move to a life care community in southern Pennsylvania.. That month’s community’s newsletter had photographs of the resident dogs and comments by their owners. I had lost our last Brittany at the age of 16 in 2013 and had decided that because of my age I wasn’t going to get another dog. But when I saw the newsletter, I told myself I could do this and immediately went on the ABR web site, that afternoon and there she was – the third Brittany down the list. She was the right size (under 40 pounds), the right color (orange and white), the right age (9 ½) and the right sex. Her name was Penny – the same as the name of one of our former Brittanys. We were obviously meant to come together.
The adoption process began. I had several conversations, both e-mail and phone, with Herb, her foster, and the local ABR volunteer – who inspected a totally empty apartment prior to my move in. I went to New Jersey with my daughter on October 27, 2015 to meet Penny and hopefully bring her home. We visited for a while and I took Penny with Herb and his dog Chevy for a walk in the neighborhood. Herb hated to see her go, but he relented, papers were signed and her ”worldy belongings” were packed. After a two hour drive from New Jersey, she was home with me. My daughter remembers that the first thing she did when we entered the apartment and I sat down was to jump on the couch (still her favorite place) and put her head in my lap.
While she is still anxious around large dogs and groups of people, she has made a great deal of progress and has a number of doggie as well as people friends. Strangely, she does not voluntarily go outside without a leash. Recently she has progressed to coming out if I am on the patio, checking things out, but then goes right back inside. It was a number of months before she began to modify the game she played with Herb and we now play a ‘keep away’ and ‘gimme’ game. When I come in from even a short absence, she grabs a bone, dances around with it – tail wagging furiously all the time –until I get her to ‘gimme’. Then I throw it along the floor and we do it again – and again – and again. After some months, she began to use a tennis ball in the same way. Now she sometimes even plays this game when I haven’t been gone.
She was obviously a hunter. She is also an explorer. She is alert to everything around her and will check out anything different, even if it’s only a bunch of dry leaves. There is often a fox around, and when she sees it nearby she points, fox sits, and they stare at each other for several minutes until said fox saunters away. She has also learned that chipmunks hide in drainpipes.
Though she still squints some, she no longer wears her Doggles, and she is in good health, with no problems at 11 ½. She accompanies me to the library and lies on the floor quietly while I read the paper. She is truly smart – it took only two trips before she knew she didn’t have to wait for me to open the automatic doors to the clubhouse – or that she doesn’t get one of the treats that are always on the reception desk until we leave.
A very special dog came this way. We met late in life and now she walks with me – on the sidewalks, in the woods and through the fields. Penny, Come – let’s ‘takeawalk’.
The only person who did not do well in this adoption was Herb, who lost a wonderful dog.