A Dachsund's 1,500-Mile Journey Home

"Spanky", whose owners' paperwork said, "Can't Keep" for reason to surrender to a kill-shelter, ventures from Arkansas our home in Vermont

A few years ago my husband, Hunter, and I retired to Vermont after 15 years in Darien, followed by 15 years in Greenwich, where we raised our three children.

Recently I read the Patch article  and clicked on the link to The Little Pink Shelter. That set the wheels in motion.

Last Thursday, we drove down from Vermont to Westport to greet the sweet dachsund we picked out online after passing extensive reference checks and paperwork through Little Pink Shelter in Westport.

The anticipation built and built during our 4-hour drive and waiting with five other families to greet the truck full of dogs en route to their adoptive familes. The dogs had been on the road from Arkansas to New England for close to 37 hours.

The first dog off the truck was our "Spanky," and it was an emotional moment for everyone. He was handed to me and it was love at first sight. While other dogs who came off the truck ran around a bit and played with each other, full of built-up energy, Spanky was quite calm. I wondered if maybe my Spanky was traumatized. Turns out not.

On the trip back to Vermont, Spanky sat on my lap. He stayed awake for a while looking around calmly and slowly sunk down into a deep sleep. We stopped at the new Vermont Welcome Center, which is a few miles over the border and I fed him some kibble with my hand and followed up with some water. He acted like he was starving. Then he sat on my husband's lap awake, but calm, and I drove the rest of the way home.

That night, when we got back here to Vermont, we hung around the kitchen a while having a bedtime snack, mopping up the lake that Reba, (our 10-year-old Weimeraner adoped many years ago from in Greenwich) had created on the floor while we were doing the round trip to Westport, I was expecting Spanky to really resist being put in the crate.  I left the flap that comes down over the door up so he could see his new "sister" Reba lying on the sofa. He went in without a peep and Reba guarded him all night. Very touching.

The next morning Spanky was so happy. I walked him on the leash around the yard and introduced him to the white flags deliniating the Invisible Fence. I will call the Invisible Fence man next week if I think Spanky is ready. When we got back around to the courtyard he realized where he was and headed right for the back door wagging his tail. He was "home".

Spanky does NOT seem to know his name though. I doubt that it was his original name, but we are calling out "Spanky" to him along with Reba and doling out treats when he comes. He is catching on fast.  

Also, we're starting to show him how to sit, which earns him another kibble. I read over the notes from Arkansas and they said he is 2 to 4 years old. I will see what my vet thinks when we go on Monday morning.

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Leslie Yager April 13, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Spanky is one lucky dog! And cute too!
Michael Dinan April 13, 2012 at 11:42 AM
I love this post, Sue, and I'm so happy you and Spanky found each other. I'd like to know how that invisible fence works out for you -- it's something I'm interested in. Keep us updated with photos on how Spanky enjoys his first summer in Vermont!
Mary Craig, DVM April 13, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Great story! Mary https://www.facebook.com/GentleGoodbye
Sue Yager April 13, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Thank you Michael. I will keep you posted. The invisible fence fellow is coming Monday afternoon. The fence was installed. Now the lessons can begin.


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