Happy Anniversary to us! One year ago on Mother’s Day weekend, 2016, we drove from East Tennessee to Champaign, Illinois to meet ABR President Terry Mixdorf and pick up our newly adopted dogs, Zeebo and Liberty. This was only a short time after we had to euthanize our two Brittanies, Joy and Scout, only a few months apart at the age of 15 years. That was devastating. And I was really lost without them. It was as if the house was dead. There was no life, no little feet, and no eyes following my movements around the house. No one watching me cook. So when I tell people that we got two rescue Brittanies from American Brittany Rescue, I know they think we rescued the dogs, but really, the dogs rescued me.
I read stories of adoptions that sound ideal- everything goes smoothly and everyone lives happily ever after. But to tell you the truth, when we picked Zeebo and Liberty up, and drove away with them, I was shocked, and a bit apprehensive. They were pretty wild, and rightly so, in retrospect, as we were strangers whooshing them away in a strange car! I wondered briefly if we had done the right thing.
We are lucky to have an almost 2 acre fenced in yard, so at home were able to let them really stretch their legs. We had ordered two 30 foot long check lines from a hunting supply company so that we could let them be free in the yard but still be able to get them if they did not come. That did come in handy; as they needed to have the come command reinforced a lot those first few weeks. The dogs were amazed at the big mule and the sheep that live in the barn and have access to the pasture adjacent to the yard. At first they barked at them, but soon, with a few verbal corrections, they figured out that these strange new animals were part of the family. Spring is a wonderful time for birds at our country house- especially the Purple Martins and Barn Swallows. They swoop and circle low in the yard in search of insects. This was another thing that amazed Zeebo and Liberty, and they ran in circles, following the pattern of the swallow’s flight.
I took a week off from work dedicated to getting to know our new best friends. We tend to follow a strict routine, which worked well to settle them in and help them to feel more comfortable. They quickly began to predict when we would get up, go to bed, feed the livestock, and our selves. We fed them at the same time and place every day and used the same wording for communicating to them, and soon they were listening and following our commands. Terry told us that they liked human beds, to cuddle, and would “climb inside your skin if they could” and that is the truth. I have never had such loving and cuddly dogs. They are obedient, attentive, active, fun, funny and good natured, and I can’t imagine life without them. Thanks to Rebecca Rockwell Wallace the ABR coordinator for Tennessee and Terry Mixdorf for connecting us with these two!