For most of my childhood I never had a dog and, just like every child without a dog, I wanted one so badly. I loved animals. All animals. But, especially, I loved dogs.
Eventually my family ended up with a dog. Sport came to us as a stray and, in between trying to find his owner and taking him to the shelter to find a new home, we wound up just keeping him.
I don’t know exactly how I lived the first half of my adolescence without a dog, but I don’t think I’ll ever be without one again.
In 2008, Ivan’s sister found Babe running alongside the road. It was January in northwestern Pennsylvania, so the temperature was below freezing and the ground was snow-covered.
With nowhere else to take the stray, my sister-in-law dropped the little frozen pit bull off with us. I was hesitant to have her in the house at first. After all, we had 2 dogs at the time and I didn’t want to put them in danger.
But that first evening Babe proved 2 things: she loved everyone in our household and she was in need of medical attention.
Babe’s Health Problems
We let her stay with us temporarily. For a few weeks she was our foster dog while we treated her severe urinary tract infection with 2 rounds of antibiotics. Meanwhile we watched the newspaper and contacted shelters and vet clinics to see if anyone was looking for her.
No one was. She was abandoned. From her appearance, she had very recently had puppies and I suspect that her UTI was causing her to urinate on the floor in her previous home. That, coupled with the fact that her puppies may have already been weaned meant that she was disposable, so out into the fatal cold she went.
My sister-in-law found someone that wanted to keep her. We just had to deliver the stray to her new owner.
Great! Perfect! We didn’t want a third dog anyhow. It was too crowded and too hectic with 3 big dogs in our house. Except one thing. I worked for an animal shelter and I saw firsthand the results of pet overpopulation and irresponsible ownership. If Babe was going to a new home, we were at least going to have her spayed and microchipped before she left our home.
We scheduled the appointment. Then cancelled it. Because Babe had gone into heat.
That was my first experience of a dog in heat and it will be my last. And it was even worse for our other 2 dogs, both of whom were males. Sure, they were neutered, but dogs don’t know the difference between testicles and tennis balls. It was just crazy!
When her cycle was finished we were all prepared for her spay. Then our little shorty decided to try out her gymnastic routine by springing off of the back of our couch, tearing her ACL. More medication. Spay surgery delayed again.
After that was over, we rescheduled, but the pre-surgery bloodwork showed a little concern that ended up being a staph infection in her lymph node. More medication. Spay surgery delayed.
Finally, as we were preparing for her surgery one last time, I brought home 2 tiny kittens to foster for a couple days. Babe adored them. She was just in love with them. So much so, in fact, that she began lactating, nesting and had a false pregnancy.
Despite being in the middle of her false pregnancy, Babe’s vet recommended that we spay her immediately. We did, thankfully, and had her microchipped, as planned.
Getting Babe a New Home
Now that was done, it was time to hand her over to her new owner. But by then we’d had her for 5 month, spent over $3 thousand on her medical bills and the person interested in taking her had never even met Babe.
And just like that, we kept her. Mind you, the other person was a little ticked off, but I think we made the right decision.
Since then, she’s been our little snuggle bug and we love her so much!
Banjo’s tale is a little less dramatic. Though that may be due to the fact that she’s 10 years younger than Babe. That means that she has 10 years to inject some excitement into her story!
In June of 2015, Ivan heard, through an acquaintance at a hospital, about a couple of student who were looking to rehome their boxer puppy. They’d had her for about 6 weeks and realized that they didn’t have enough time for her.
They’d bought her from a pet store and the store didn’t accept returned dogs. Meanwhile, they didn’t have any time to train her, so she was still going to the bathroom in the house and didn’t know any commands.
We’d lost our older dog, Ajax, a few months before and we’d also had a boxer in the past. We knew we loved the breed. We missed having 2 dogs in the house. So we decided to take her.
In no time we had Banjo potty trained and crate trained. She was socialized early at the dog park and spayed as soon as she reached 6 months. She gets along wonderfully with Babe and adores us to pieces. She is a perfect fit in our home!