What I Learned from My Rescue Dog

Tom and are I both very much dog people. We always knew we would want a dog, and we both grew up with rescue dogs. Our very first apartment together was chosen based on if it allowed pets or not. We were so excited about a puppy we couldn’t even decide on what breed we wanted. Some breeds that we talked about getting are Labrador, Golden Retriever, English bulldog, Corgi (because my mom has one and she is on of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met) and many others. Honestly, if we could, we would have an endless amount of dogs. 

Scarlet came into our lives very abruptly. We had been living in our new home for 3 months and had a very long to do list of renovation projects, so a dog was not a priority at this time. When one of my co-workers talked about her roommate’s foster dog, she sparked my interest. I always wanted a puppy; I wanted the dog to grow with us from the moment it could be released from its mom. 

My co-worker talked about how Scarlet was a stray and was having a difficult time getting adopted because she did not have a history of behaving “well” around other dogs and had no history at all around children. That was a big concern for us as well, knowing that we would maybe want another dog in the future and definitely would want children. When we met Scarlet we immediately fell in love, she was about 2 years old, had puppies as a stray but still had so much puppy energy. The good news was: she was potty trained, knew how to sit and was well behaved as far as not chewing or destroying something that is not hers. Scarlet has been a very easy addition but mentally challenging at the same time.  She has made our hearts grow bigger and she has taught us a lot about our relationship. I can’t speak for Tom, but here is a list of things that Scarlet has taught me. 

 1.  Greet with love

When a loved one comes through the door, greet them with love, hugs and kisses. Like many dogs, Scarlet gets overly excited when we have a visitor but especially when Tom or I get home. She has pure love and excitement. She reminds me every day that it is so important to show your love and excitement, especially when greeting your loved ones. Four years later Tom and I still stand to greet each other at the door!

2. Arguing affects the ones around you

Our girl looking very concerned...

Our girl looking very concerned...

Scarlet can definitely sense when Tom and I are not getting along; she cries and barks at us, likely saying “stop it you two!” When there is tension between the two of us, she can feel it. She will lay at our feet and pout; this is a true reminder that the people around you can sense the tension. It has taught us a lot about each other and reminds us to move past things in order to rid the negative environment.

3. Forgive and move on

This one speaks for itself. Everyone makes mistakes, including dogs. Scarlet, like most dogs, moves on quickly and is right back to loving and kissing us. She has taught us that drawing something out is not worth it. There is not reason to dwell on something that is not going to matter the next day. If humans were like dogs, it would take minutes before we spoiled each other with kisses after a no-no.

4. How we may discipline our kids 

Tom is definitely the softy where as I am the stern dog parent when it comes to discipline. Sometimes I wonder if I am too mean. I am afraid that my kids will think I am a mean mom! Tom has more patience than I do and stays calm under pressure. We will definitely have to work on meeting in the middle. Scarlet has me envying the type of "parent" Tom is, he makes me want to be better. She teaches me that with love and persistence good things will come!

5. Persistence & Patience are virtues

Breaking habits of a dog that is independent and possessive is possible, but definitely takes a lot of work and reminders that with a dog you have to be persistent but loving!

6. Don’t judge on appearance or someone’s past 

Scarlet has a history of being possessive & independent, she is a mix of breeds AKA a mutt. But to us Scarlet is beautiful, playful and learning who is boss. She is gentle as can be with my 2-year-old nephew and still needs some training around other dogs. Scarlet has taught us to except everyone as they are because you never know what journey they have been on. "Everyone is fighting their own battle," is what people say. This is so true. Again, Scarlet teaches us every day that love is so easy if you're willing to give it.

 7. Saving a life is rewarding 

When we first brought Scarlet home, she was afraid to move from one room to another, she cried and likely wondered why she was now in her 5th home. Over time, she became more comfortable with us, but became attached and would not leave our sides. She was really sad when we left her alone and at times would not eat if we were not home. Six months later, with a lot of work, love, encouragement and proving to Scarlet that she is ours forever, she is finally opening up and realizing this is now home and we are her mommy and daddy. We are now able to leave the room or use the bathroom without her following our every move. It is so amazing to see her transition from a scared abandoned puppy to our baby girl, who is so fun and loving. How could someone not feel good about something like that? We honestly could not imagine life without our baby Scarlet.  

The shelter we rescued Scarlet from is a small non-for profit dog rescue that has been incredible to work with. I would highly encourage that, if you are considering a dog, you check a rescue shelter out! www.fetchwi.org is where our little Scarlet came from. 


Until next time…

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