03 September 2013

Dee Dee, the wonder dog

(I traveled all day to North Carolina, getting here just in time to grab dinner with my dad before a game of poker with me and the 80-year old boys. So I'm turning over the blog again to the wonderful Paula Erickson, who has sent me a guest blog whenever she's felt inspired with the instruction to run when I want. Today, she takes on a topic dear to my heart. I have to admit, I don't really understand why people  --and I know quite a few of them and adore them-- will spend thousands on a particular breed of cat or dog when almost any breed can be found at a shelter or a rescue that specializes in that breed. I have a feeling that Paula feels the same way I do. - Melinda)

Dee Dee was the world’s greatest impulse buy — a lovely, sunny April Saturday, and fifteen minutes and $15 later I had adopted her from a high-kill animal shelter outside of Nashville. That was 2003, and I had the great privilege and unbelievably rewarding experience of seeing her transform, fairly quickly, from a scared, sickly dog into the girl with the beautiful smile who lit up every room.
Dee Dee was six years old when I got her, well past the “desirable” age for dogs to be chosen for adoption, but for me it was love at first sight. As for her, she was just thrilled to get out of that place and have somewhere safe to be. A bath, some intense flea and worm treatment, and a few trips to the vet, and Dee Dee was well on her way to a well-deserved significant move up in the world. She embraced her new station in life with a verve that was a joy to behold.

Dee Dee loved her people and her doggie friends more than anything (except maybe treats), and she also loved walks (later in life she had a red stroller!), car rides, cuddling, playing with chew toys (never fetching – too much effort), boating, and going to parties. Yes, going to parties. She was the most social creature – never met a stranger, and her gentle manner and happy smile won over even the crabbiest of elderly neighbors.
Dee Dee had a wonderful second half of her life (sadly, I have serious doubts about the first), and last December, at the age of at least 15 ½, she peacefully became an angel in the truest sense of the word. I miss my wonderful girl so much every single day, but her enduring legacy is the many shelter dogs she helped to save. So often, people who met Dee Dee were shocked that she was a “mutt” (although we never used ‘the m word’) from the “pound” -- she belied the stereotype in both looks and demeanor. Several people I know went from pet shopping to pet adopting after meeting Dee Dee, and maybe somebody reading this will be inspired as well. She brought me joy, smiles, fun, and unconditional love every single day for close to ten years – if you’d like to add that to your life, please visit your local animal shelter. It’s all there for you.
I adopted Dee Dee from Montgomery County Animal Control in Clarksville, Tennessee. Montgomery County Friends of the Shelter is a volunteer organization that pulls animals from the shelter and fosters them while they find forever homes. They also work with animal control to increase adoptions, raise visibility of adoptable animals, and provide vet care and non-budgeted items for the shelter.  

-Paula Erickson

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