I wish I’d known her then

Both of my puppygirls. Olive is the black one. I've yet to see a "Baby Bessie" because apparently cow-spotted catahoula mixes with golden eyes are rare.

There are many benefits to adopting an older dog– by they come your way, they can sleep through the night without crying, they’re potty trained, and they have less of a propensity for chewing on your stuff (though lord knows both of my adopted-as-older-dogs have chewed PLENTY of my stuff).  But one major drawback of adopting an older dog is you don’t get to know them as puppies, don’t get to see what they look like when they are small and fuzzy and cuddly wuddly, all chubby bellies and slightly out of control paws.

We adopted our second dog, Olive, what we believe to be a lab/border collie mix, the Christmas before last.  She was less than a year old, and had been found in the woods near my parents’ home by a family friend, so starved they initially thought she was dead.  I don’t know who left her, or if she ran off, or how she ended up in the woods.  I see hints that someone must have been mean to her– the way she is terrified I’m going to hit her with a broom when I sweep the floors, the way she thinks every raised object might be used to strike her, the way she cowers and sometimes pees on herself if I use too forceful of a voice with her.

Olive

I sometimes wish I could go back in time and find her as a puppy, save her from ending up starved in the woods, keep her from the harm that clearly still haunts her as she cowers while I’m sweeping up.  But instead, I’m left with sweet, lovah-girl Olive as she is now, a pogo-stick jumping, tennis ball snagging, ambulance-howling (it’s the cutest sound ever when she lets out a little howl as sirens scream by), attention-loving, best friend to Bessie.

Olive.

Still, and I think most parents of adopted mutts do this, I look for her face in every little black puppy.  Wondering if that one looks like Olive did when she was a baby.  And this week, I met her. Baby Olive.  A student brought her into my office, and I immediately exclaimed, “She looks just like my Olive must have as a baby!” I snuggled and played and petted that sweet baby, and I sent a picture to my husband titled “Baby Olive.” What do you think– do they look alike?

Luna.

Olive.

I’ll wrap up by saying that you should always adopt a pet, never buy one from a breeder! Even lil Luna, above, was adopted from an animal shelter, so adopting a dog doesn’t have to mean missing out on puppy cuteness.

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18 thoughts on “I wish I’d known her then

  1. I, too, adopted an older dog. I wouldn’t trade her for the cutest puppy in the world, although I do often wonder what she was like as a puppy. She sometimes dreams and makes noises in her sleep, these funny little “yips” that sound like puppy noises. So I like to imagine that I get a little taste of her puppyhood when she dreams. :)

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  2. Nice post. Mom always wondered what our LoJack would have looked like as a puppy, if we adopt again it will be a senior dog for us again. There are plenty of pups in shelters too though—there is a dog for everyone if they are willing to just look.

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  3. We adopted our cat and then discovered that whoever had fostered him had done a fabulous job teaching him kitty manners: stay off the tables and counters, only scratch your post. Wonderful to pick up a ready-made perfect pet and skip a lot of effort and heartache and frustration that goes into teaching a baby how to behave.

    We’ve thought about getting a second, but then realized we’re unlikely to win the kitty lotto twice.

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  4. I often wonder the same thing about Hoagie and Barry. I wish I could have seen them as puppies but I’m grateful to know them as an old man and man-child, respectively.

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  5. Okay, since we’re talking pups, I have to share a picture of mine: Click on my username to see a photo of Bailey the Almost 15-y.o. Cockapoo. (She was a youthful 11 in this picture, but still…) Can’t you just imagine her as a tiny, fluffy-eared pup?

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    • She seems very regal in that pose. I bet she was an adorable curly- eared babe. True story: when I was a child, our neighbors named their golden cocker spaniel “Sarah” because her ears looked like my lil pigtails. I think it’s weird to name your dog after the neighbor child.

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  6. Weird, but also flattering. :) I think Sarah is a strange name for a dog, though. I tend to gravitate towards quirkier names for pets. I would never name a dog, like, “Susan” or “Matthew.” Olive, Luna, Hoagie—yes.

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    • There’s an AT&T ad that aired not too long ago (it might still be running for all I know, as I don’t have cable) which featured a lost dog named Sarah. It really weirded me out.

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  7. ME TOO. And that ad featured the campus of (and a star basketball player from) my alma mater, so it was even more upsetting for me: I wanted to love that commercial, but I couldn’t.

    Glad I wasn’t the only one. :)

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    • There are really very few human names that work well for pets. I like old fashioned sounding names, so SarahMC’s “Barry” works to me. I like ones like Humphrey or Herbert, too. Then there’s the Molly, Milly, Tilly, Maggie, and Jack names which seem to work well, though they’re all a bit common. And here in Charleston, you meet a LOT of dogs named Calhoun and Cooper. My dogs were named because Bessie has cow spots, so it was gonna be Bessie, Daisy, or Maisie, and Olive, well, we brainstormed “things that are black.”

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  8. That “Sarah” dog commercial weirded me out too! I’m with you on names, Erniebufflo. I enjoy old-timey people names for animals. Also delicious sandwiches.

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  9. So cute! My friend has the reverse problem! She friend fostered a PAWS dog many years ago (it’s a helper dog association) and he was an adorable black lab puppy she got at a few months old. She had him for 1 year and a half training him and then he found his owner, so she’s always wondering what he looks like now.

    Seriously though, adoption is the way to go there are so many animals out there that need a home.

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  10. What a great post! Thanks! We have two dogs as well. We adopted Romeo, our retriever/sheltie mix, when he was 6-years-old. He’s a great dog that I’ve written about as well. But I too wish I knew him as a puppy. I often wonder what he looked like, what he was like, if he was playful. All I can do is wonder and appreciate the dog he is today!

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