My name is Barbara and to the left is my dog Willow. We live in New Jersey, but I got her from a Rescue Organization in Arkansas that was started by a Veterinarian. Willow is Speagle - a Beagle and Springer Spaniel mix. She was part of a litter of four dogs that were sheltered on a farm. Prior to deciding to adopt we saw many pictures and videos of the pups. As you got interested in a particular pup, the videos became more personal - the dog interacting with her foster parents. The foster Mom told me that Willow acted as the big sister to her siblings. The woman who was responsible for arranging and processing the adoptions told us: "This is the happiest litter we've ever had. I couldn't help being a little cynical and thinking - Yeah, yeah, you would say that. You're the one who has to get them adopted.
But, truly, this is the happiest dog I've ever had. Willow was released to me in Parsippany, NJ. The other dogs were going on to Massachusetts and Maine. All the adoptive parents were linked into a message group, so we learned about each delivery and the reactions of the meeting. The truck came into the Parsippany hotel's parking lot. The first two dogs that were handed to their new adopter, settled nicely in their arms and they moved on. The third dog was Willow. I tried to have here settle in my arms, but she tried to climb on my shoulders to jump off. Two big guys got a hold of her, restored her temporary leash around her neck, and helped me get to my car where I had a safety harness to put on her. Endowed with a harness and regular leash. We were now prepared to stay at the hotel. (Because of my age, 79 at the time, I wasn't going to travel back home at 4 in the morning.)
And here I was learning about Springer Spaniels at that early hour. Willow did not know how to walk straight. She walked in circles. I had no idea how to get her to walk straight, so I walked in circles too. Later in the morning I was able to text the other adopters that Willow and I were having breakfast in the hotel room and watching the news on TV.
Willow is four years old now. She was four months old when we received her.
Because of my age they were concerned about letting me adopt her. She's a very active dog, you know, the adoption agent said. I though, so? all my dogs have been active. (Beagle/Labrador mix, Golden Retriever mix, Golden Retriever/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix) - and now Beagle-Springer Spaniel mix.
I took her to my vet and as he leaned over to inspect her, she licked his nose. The vet turned to me and said: "This is a dominant dog," as if it were a threat. Then he turned back to Willow and said: "Alex never licked me." (Alex was the Ridgeback mix, a very serious dog, indeed, but definitely not dominant.)
But, it turned out, Willow was
much more active than all of the previous dogs. She needed more than walking - she needed running. She needed play. She needed other dogs. I lucked out a found a doggy adventure service where she runs around and plays with a whole bunch of dogs. She goes two days a week on average. It makes all the difference.
Hope you've enjoyed my tale