Baxter was not an actual 'rescue' but he clearly was a puppy mill dog, that this breeder was selling (was 7 months old at the time.) We 'rescued' him from that life so to speak, but paid the breeder for him. I know, I know.... but don't get me started. I'm still kind of bitter about the whole rescue thing. I have to laugh that all of those months we tried and tried to rescue a Hav, and were turned away because we had young children....they told us that a puppy mill rescue would need so much patience, time, love, gentleness etc. and wouldn't even consider us because of Danny (4 at the time.) Well, we ended up with a puppy mill dog (that we PAID for!)--- and didn't realize it at the time. Yes, the ear infection, coccidia, and the fact that he hadn't been groomed or washed it seemed in 7 months SHOULD have been enough to convince me. I knew he was in a bad situation when we met him, and we all fell in love with him and just had to take him home. But deep down, I didn't truly want to believe that he had 'puppy mill' issues. He was our first dog, so we just thought many of his early behavior was normal, and if we were patient enough, consistent enough, firm enough, loving enough..... we'd train him into our dream dog. And he is that and more.
Baxter's personality has really been coming out this past month. As I talk to other dog owners I'm realizing, he really was more difficult than I thought. The fact that he took over 3 months to house train, wouldn't go into a crate to save his life without freaking out and going diarrhea all over himself, wouldn't go up stairs, would cower when you went to pet him.... the list goes on and on should have all been definite signs. He is our first dog and we really thought this was 'life with a puppy!' We were patient, gentle, loving, consistent, firm, joyful, etc. with him just because we believed that's what any animal deserves. We praised his accomplishments with great joy (when he finally went up and down the stairs etc.) and made sure he got what he needed to be happy (play, walks, new sights/sounds/places.) He is truly a part of our family now and you can just FEEL the comfort he has. He hops up on the couches with us (never would do that on his own before) and loves to cuddle up beside us. Loves going for rides with us in the car, and because he's so well behaved and small (ie portable) we take him with us almost everywhere we go... T-ball games, the beach, the park, etc.
We cannot go anywhere without people commenting on how well behaved and sweet he is. Gentle, cuddly, but will play and run around with the kids the second they initiate it. He doesn't pester us for attention though, and if I am busy in the house, is just content to sit by my side. In just 5 short months he has become truly a member of our family---we can't imagine life without him!
I would like to say to anyone involved in rescue (or screening for rescue) to at least MEET the family before you discount them. On paper, we were not the "right" family to rescue a puppy mill hav, but it turns out that we WERE patient enough, gentle enough, loving enough, etc.
I am constantly stopped when we are out with Baxter... "He's adorable, so well mannered, so sweet... what kind of dog is he? What breeder did you use?" I'm not sure what to say without going into a long explanation about how I cannot recommend his 'breeder' (using the term loosely.) We did luck out that his temperment is so gentle, sweet, easy and willing to please even inspite of his unfortunate early experiences.
Please share your success stories too---I'd love to hear them!