Buster had sisters, Peanut and Gracie, 2 small kittens. He never meant any harm to them, just wanted to sniff them. He liked Peanut, and he let her sleep with him and share his food. Peanut was a little slow, let’s just say the elevator didn’t go to the top floor, but we loved her. Gracie was definitely a cat, and she always a bit suspicious of Buster. Gracie certainly didn’t want that big ole snoot sniffing at her so she always kept her distance. Buster lived to be 9, and the cats lived to be 14 and 15.
Shortly after Peanut left us the inquisition started. I think it was the next day, actually. “When can we get a new dog?” “We need a new Boo Boo.” “Please can we get a dog? I promise to clean up the yard and walk the dog and play with it and, and, and (breathe, child!)…”
Correspondence with the local Bull Terrier Club informed us that no puppies were available, and none were expected soon. I checked the national breed site and looked up rescue dogs. There were a few on the site, at a location about 3 hours from us. We emailed back and forth about specific dogs available, and decided that on our vacation, we would drive down to “let a dog choose us”. The dogs had various stories, but most had been removed from abusive situations like puppy mills.
Cindy was the first dog we met. She wagged her tail and responded positively to all of us, but wasn’t overly excited. She took advantage of the opportunity to run the yard and then we met a few other dogs ready for a home. Fancy was led in and rolled over immediately for a belly rub. The other dogs did not make an impression on us, or vice versa. For the rest of our vacation we discussed pros and cons of these 2 dogs. We decided we wanted both. No, we can’t have both, they said. A couple more days of discussion later, and we decided on Cindy, knowing that Fancy would find a home soon, with her happy little disposition. Cindy had been in rescue for 9 months, much longer than most other dogs. She liked us, and she needed a home. When we returned from our trip, DH hopped in the car and drove down to get her.
When DH brought her home, he walked her around our yard, she immediately chewed the brand new leash I bought. He walked her to the back yard and she barked at the neighbor dogs, he led her to the back door, and she barked at her reflection in the glass. She barked at her reflection in the oven door, the dishwasher, and the fireplace glass. She barked at the ceiling fan. Her barking was of fear and self preservation.
Cindy was a blank canvas, so to speak. She was an almost 3 year old full size, 43 pound dog that had never had a chance to be a puppy. She had never been inside a house, but was crate trained.
We were never told how many puppies she had produced, but we knew that those puppies were taken from her shortly after birth to be nursed by another dog, so the birthing dogs could restart their cycles sooner, producing more puppies. We know the date of her rescue, because the next day is the first time she saw a vet. We know the USDA raided the puppy mill, brought in a truck, and filled that truck with as many dog cages they could fit on it, and distributed the dogs to their breed rescue homes. Of the 7 Bull Terriers at the puppy mill, one had to be put down and the rest were removed. The animals needed veterinary attention. Dogs should not be neglected and/or abused.
Cindy has scars. One is on the top of her head, small but visible. One on her flank, about 1 inch long. She has scars on her legs, where the calluses were, from lying on concrete every day, all day. The calluses are now healed and hair has grown over parts of them. When we see a new vet at the clinic, they always ask about the scars.