As most of you know, if you follow the blog, our beloved dog Ginger passed away last year. If you didn’t get that memo, I’ll link her obituary of sorts *here*.
As with the changing of the seasons, death will most assuredly lead to rebirth. For Josh and I, this rebirth took the form of 2 Husky/Shepherd mixes named Charlie and Tootsie.
A week or so after Ginger’s death, I found my heart breaking watching our cat Scully fall into a deep depression; yes, cats get depressed when their friends and/or family die. Seeing this made my already broken heart shatter and I finally broke down and started the search for a new companion for her. It took about a week of combing through shelter after shelter searching for the right fit for our needs.
Then it happened! Like lightning striking her picture popped up on my screen. That goofy smile and those loving eyes. It was Tootsie. She was a Husky mix and was up for adoption about 40 minutes North of us. I was freaking out and couldn’t believe it. The breed of dog I had been looking for for years had finally found its way back to me. Having been raised with a Husky/Shepherd, I was so excited and knew exactly how to handle this poor pup who had some “issues” according to her listing.
After getting so excited, Josh told me to look at a page or two more to make sure she was really the one…and then it happened again! I saw this amazingly majestic creature that reminded me so much of Spunky that I immediately started to cry and told Josh we had to go see him. This dapper smile and bi-colored eyes called to me that he just wanted to love someone and be loved back. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. In one glance, I knew Charlie was going to be my new best friend.
Well, as it turned out Tootsie and Charlie were at the same shelter. What luck! I called Alchemy Acres Animal Sanctuary in Salem, Ohio (check them out *HERE*), and told them how excited I was and made an appointment to meet them both. The woman on the phone seemed a bit hesitant at first, but said that they would set it up if that’s what I wanted.
The day had finally arrived…we were going to get out new fur-babies! Well, we were pretty sure we would end up bringing both of them home. On November 16, 2019 we drove for what seemed like forever, getting lost along the way, and finally pulled into the parking lot. I went in and told the person at the counter that we had an appointment to meet Tootsie and Charlie and she seemed very excited. She told me to wait outside and they would be right out.
By the time I got outside and told Josh what was going on, Tootsie was already coming around the corner of the building. She was pulling on the leash and smiling so big we couldn’t help but fall in love with her. The lady who helps run the sanctuary, Katie (crazy I know right!?), let me walk with her for a minute and then I handed her off to Josh so we could talk about Tootsie’s history.
Katie told me that Tootsie had be surendered to them when she was about 6 months old because she was too much for the lady that purchased her from an Amish puppy mill. After being surrendered to Alchemy Acres, she was given out for adoption twice. The first time was to a lady that thought she could handle it, but after leaving Tootsie home alone in a kennel for over 12 hours a day while she worked (I believe she was single and didn’t have anyone to let Tootsie out during the day), she returned her to the shelter, stating she didn’t think it was fair to the dog. Which I agree.
The second time Tootsie was adopted out, she was given to a couple. Katie stated that they seemed nice enough and that the husband had told them that the wife was hesitant about getting a dog. Only after Tootsie had gone home with them for a couple of months did the staff find out what happened. They were told by the husband that the wife didn’t ever want a dog and that he had nagged her into getting one. After getting Tootsie home, they began to fight and the wife refused to take part in caring for the pup. The wife started fights over Tootsie being there and the husband wound up sleeping with Tootsie on the couch, leading to possessive behavior from Tootsie.
Now, at this time, Tootsie was around 2 1/2-years-old and had spent about 2 years at the shelter all together. All of the shelter volunteers loved her and she seemed to just need a loving home. Katie told me that they recommended that Tootsie only be adopted out to homes with at least one other dog because of her energy level, and all of the failed adoptions were single dog homes. At this point she was being very good with both Josh and me, so we figured with my animal training experience it wouldn’t be an issue. More on that in a later article 😉
Charles Alexander, First of His Name
After talking with Katie about Tootsie and getting to know her for a few minutes, I looked up to see this white and gray giant fluff ball strutting around the corning of the building where Tootsie had come from. He was so much bigger than the pictures had made him out to be and I was a bit taken aback. I thought to myself, “I don’t remember Spunky being that big…” You have to remember that I have had medium and smaller sized dogs since Spunky passed in 2004 and I had totally forgotten how large the male Husky/Shepherds can be.
After seeing him, there was no doubt that I was going to love Charlie. He was grinning from ear to ear, that big Husky smile he has and walked right up to me and started sniffing. I held my hand out for him to smell and then started petting him. The handlers were impressed with how I introduced myself to the dogs and they asked if I had experience with the breed. I told them about Spunky and how I had been looking for another dog like him to adopt for years; and now they had two!
Within minutes I was jogging with him and he had given me a kiss. I was regaining my confidence with the larger dog, kind of like riding a bike, and I told Josh Charlie was coming home. Katie said she needed to go over his history with me and I handed him off to Josh (he now had both Tootsie and Charlie on their leads).
Katie began to tell me all about Charlie and how much the staff loved him. She said that he seemed to need to be the alpha in the situation with other dogs, but stated that there wasn’t really observable food aggression and that she didn’t think it would be an issue with Tootsie if we wanted to adopt them both. She said that they thought Charlie was between 8 and 9-years-old and that he had been found as a stray.
He had a chip and they found his owners. When his owners were contacted by the shelter, they were told to keep him and they wouldn’t give any information other than his name, and that was hard enough to get out of them according to the volunteers. Because of this, the only records they had on him were ones they had since he arrived. He was exhibiting hip problems that he was being medicated for, an issue I was well versed in thanks again to Spunky. When I told Katie that we have a wheelchair ramp that he would be using she was very excited.
Katie said that they hadn’t really noticed any behavioral problems and that he was very good on a leash. She said that he liked to pull toward the road so they think that his how his hips got messed up (being hit by a car or something). She just kept saying what a good boy he was and that his health problems were the only reason she could think that he had been there for over a year without anyone even looking at him. That’s right; we were the first, maybe second people to even look at him because he had wonky hips…so sad!
After hearing the histories of both Tootsie and Charlie, Josh and I walked around with them for a while without the handlers and got to know them a little on our own. They were so good and excited to be out and to meet us. The turkey jerky in our pockets might have helped a little…just saying, haha!
Josh and I talked about it for a while and after much discussion decided to bring them both home. I handed Charlie off to Josh and went inside to tell Katie the good news. She was ecstatic and started the paperwork right away.
The staff was so nice and explained everything to us. All of the paperwork was taken care of, right down to registering them with the chipping company. We were given county tags and full medical histories to take to the vet when establishing. They even gave us the harness that Tootsie was in and the collar Charlie was wearing.
Katie gave us some tips on how to introduce them to their new family and her personal cell phone number in case we needed anything at any time. Katie and the rest of the staff at Alchemy Acres really are amazing people who really do care! Katie’s dad, who was a Husky buff and worked with all the Huskies who come through the shelter, was so excited to see Charlie and Tootsie come home with us. He said that Charlie was one of the nicest dogs he had seen in a long time and he deserved a good home and people to love him. He also said to be firm and strong with Tootsie and she would learn. Should have taken some hints, lol! But more on that later.
When we opened the door to the car, Charlie took a running leap in, not quite making it and needing a hand, but he was so excited and knew he was finally going to his forever home. Tootsie was excited, but a bit more apprehensive about getting in the car without her beloved Katie. I told her she was just trading one Katie for another and that there was nothing to worry about. She looked at me with those scared brown eyes and jumped in with her new brother.
It has been about 4 months since we brought our new fur-babies home, and I can honestly say that things are finally starting to settle in and life is looking good for all of us. Scully is happy she has someone to play with again, and Charlie and Tootsie are just happy to have people who love them and full bellies.
Tootie’s most prized posession is now Teddy, the Kong Knotty Bear that Santa Paws brought her for Christmas. She goes insane for that thing and is so gentile with it when she’s not tugging his arms off, lol!
As for Charlie Boy? He loves his beds. Yes, that is plural for bed…as in two of them. You see, when Josh and I were sure we would bring them both home, I had ordered them beds on Amazon. I thought he was the same size-ish as Tootsie, so I ordered them both medium sized beds. Well, turns out Charlie has extremely long legs that make him a large size dog. It was so cute watching him curl up into what seemed like a tiny little bed with his giant self in it. I ordered him the extra large bed the next day and it is just right size for him to spread out all he wants, and for us to cuddle him in 🙂
I think it’s safe to say that all of us are happy I was looking on adoptapet.com that day. Our little fur-family is complete for now. What the next chapter will hold I couldn’t tell you, but I know it will be filled with fur and love ❤