Thursday, May 28, 2009

Phoenix Update

Phoenix with Glenn and Seamus.

From Glenn, Phoenix's new guardian

I first met Phoenix at 1:30 in the morning in Winchester, VA, by that time she had already been in a crate for over 13 hours. I took her for a short walk and a small drink of water and Evan, the driver who had gotten her from Mississippi to Virginia, mentioned that she had been pretty badly abused. She was going to my last stop in Salem, NH, so she was one of the first loaded onto my van. She ended up behind my passenger seat on top of the other crates, so I could turn around just a little and see her and also stick my fingers in her crate. Whenever I used my cell phone or 2-way radio she would sit up and look at me. It wasn't long before I snapped a picture of her with my phone and sent it home. I was smitten. I called Megan, who was in charge of that trip and got some background on Phoenix. As soon as I could I got a hold of Lori, the director of the Salem Animal Rescue League, and asked if I could have her meet my male pitbull, Seamus, also a rescue, to see if they would be compatible. Lori said, no problem, that they would love her to go to someone that they would stay in touch with. The following Saturday, we drove the 2 hours up to New Hampshire from my home in Connecticut and let the dogs meet. She wasn't too keen on Seamus at first, but after a bit we took them into a large enclosure and let them go. They took off chasing each other around and around, and still do every day. Needless to say Phoenix went home with us that day.

Phoenix and Seamus playing in the Connecticut snow.

She has her issues - doesn't care for men or other dogs too much. We have taken her to obedience class where she's become more socialized, some weeks more than others. This helped her get started in doggie daycare, where they've very patient with her, as they had refused her at first. She now goes to two doggie daycares and gets along with (almost) all the dogs. She is a work in progress but brings so much joy to our family. She and Seamus are best buddies.

Sharing a bed.

Here's a typical day in the life of Phoenix. She wakes up on our bed, which she shares with her two humans, Seamus and a cat or two, teases Seamus until he finally gives in a gets up to play - he's not an early riser. Then it's breakfast and into the van to drive my son, Andrew, to school, which just happens to be close to about 80 wooded acres with some great trails, two ponds and a couple of streams. We normally walk for about an hour on and an hour or so off leash, with extra time for cooling off in the water. Both of the dogs never stop running, chasing, playing tug with sticks or jumping up on big rocks, it's a non stop show that we never tire of. Once we get home it's time for a snack followed by a good nap under the fan or on the deck. Lunchtime we go for a quick walk maybe half an hour, then run some errands - the bank, post office, places that give out cookies are their favorite. More napping in the afternoon followed by a drive to pick up Andrew and at around 5 or 6 we go to the city park and walk about 3 miles either on the walking path or through the trails in the woods. Then it's home to spend the evening with the family, either sleeping or wrestling on our bed. Around 10 or 11 it's time for another walk, just a quick 20 minutes or so before fighting for the best spot on the bed yet again. This is our daily routine for the most part, they normally go to daycare for one full day and one half day, different locations, so that they can play with their canine friends. We normally go out for dinner with friends on a Friday evening, so they both get a frozen bone, which they love. It also helps with Phoenix as she can be a little destructive but has come a long way. We don't crate either of them, so we just try and be responsible in putting things away.

Phoenix came into our lives the weekend of my birthday, which I spent driving a transport for Homeward Bound. What a birthday present she's been. We've had her now for almost 7 months, and we couldn't imagine life without her. She has been to hell and back (I've seen the pictures) and is still so sweet and loving.


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