I'll need a novel to post
I'll just post about Rah right now to get the ball rolling.
I had just lost my first dobe, Bowie to dilated cardiomyopathy. I had gone through so much with him - temperament issues, health problems galore, you name it. I had decided I was finally going to get a little male pup from a responsible breeder I was comfortable with, but my life was empty. I had Willow, and elderly rescue bitch at home but she had her own baggage to deal with (I only had her a short 8 months) and I needed a dobe to cuddle with and love (Willow loved me on her own terms, and vice versa - no doubt about it - but she was uncomfortable with most physical displays).
I searched all over and was actually rejected by animal control for an out of control 1 year old female that I liked. At the same time I had contacted DRU to put out feelers - and early Saturday, April 29th I made the drive to Sandown NH with a good friend who was going to make sure I didn't take another "project dog" (all my others are) - I wanted a stable dog with reasonably good health. And it was supposed to be an adult female.
I told all this to Claire, and sat myself down on the couch in the office as they started the parade of dobes. Reds, blues, fawns, blacks, big ones, little ones - so many wonderful dogs. A blue female that was adorable. A big red male that was a total love but had real allergies (and I kept stressing - FEMALE!!! I was on the waiting list for a male pup!), a big black male that reminded me so much of Bowie that it was hard to look at him.
Claire kept popping in a male here and there, and in the middle out came this insane blue pup. He BOUNDED in the room, play bowed at the old dogs in their crates, jumped on the couch, and licked my face. He ran around again, too idiotic to control his own legs, fell a few times, and just made a big fool of himself. He was a doofus, through and through. I offered cookies and he was so food motivated. We kept looking at other dogs, and one red male caught my eye - standard dog, very good looking, about 2 years old, calm. I couldn't help it, but the male dogs were going to make a better fit than the females. While we were discussing who to consider, I made an offhand remark that the blue boy was cute.
Neither the blue boy or the red male had been cat tested, so we started with my first choice. The red male came out and immediately tried to kill the cat - we couldn't even distract him once the cat was in sight. He was a definite no - I had two cats at home and above all, my current animals were not going to be put in danger. I was sad, and said - well, I guess lets bring out the blue male?
Out came the blue male, then called Vinny - and he looked at the cat, play bowed, and then ran around. We let him sniff the cat and he flipped it over with his nose. I sat with the cat and he bounced on the couch and fell off. Cat test was passed!
We talked about where he had come from - he was found running loose in CT with a collar embedded into his neck and was kept at a vet clinic. A Jamaican gang was searching shelters for him, wanting their "guard dog" back, and the shelter sent an emergency email to DRU asking them to take him so that they couldn't get him back (his "hold" period was long up, but he was still at the vets due to health issues). He was brought to DRU 3 days before I met him. Talked about how insane he was - active all the time, never stopped, how most people would have a real time taking a 10 month old with this activity level and he was the type of dog returned to shelters/rescues when people didn't know what they were getting into...
Claire asked if I wanted to introduce him to Willow - at 9 years old, she was grumpy and quite the bitch, and we had doubts how she would welcome a 10 month old bouncy male pup, but I said - what do we have to lose?
Within 2 minutes, they were running around the yard together, playing and having a blast. I couldn't deny it- everything was working out. He was wonderfully social, ok with cats, loved Willow and she loved him. I brought out the dumbell and he lit up! I brought out toys and he played with me for as long as I wanted him to.
It was too soon to even hope that this boy could possibly be my next competition prospect, but he was fitting in every other way. I turned to Claire and my friend and said - what do I do? He wasn't even vetted at that point, not ready to go - Claire said if I wanted him, I could have him that day, just do the vetting myself (they knew me very well for a few years and trusted me - Willow was a foster for them that I failed at fostering, and they had helped me train my prior male, Bowie).
I asked my friend, and she said do it. I looked at the blue boy and said - what do I have to lose? Into the crate he went and back to MA...
and the rest is history. I could never have known just what a hole he filled - he has truly been a gift from Bowie - offering me everything Bowie was to me, and everything Bowie could never give me. Bowie sent him, no doubt - sent me a dog that could physically do what Bowie never could even if he wanted to, sent me a dog that was stable that I wouldn't have to worry about.
Rah is simply everything I could have asked for and everything I wanted and needed, even if I didn't know it at the time. The goofy blue pup has grown up to be a goofy blue adult male with drive, determination, biddability, a rock solid temperament, and a wicked sense of humor. I only wish I was a better handler to do him true justice.
I've got so many hopes for Rah, but even if he never accomplishes them, he will remain a gift from Bowie that I will always be thankful for. He may not have a ton of hair, but what he lacks there he makes up for with heart.
Bowie's Semper Fidelis v DRU
the day I brought him home...
and my handsome man -