Pippin — the dog, not the musical

Doggy Blog

Big Announcement: We have a new member in our family! Let me introduce Pippin!Pippin 2

I was going to write about his history, but unfortunately, we don’t know much about it. But I do know this – he’s a “rescue” dog and we just adopted him, picking him up from his foster mom tonight.

Here’s what else I know – There are more rescue dogs out there than I ever imagined.

Looking back to my childhood, we had rescue dogs, but of course, we didn’t call them that. Tootsie was a dog owned my dad’s elderly aunt. When she died, Tootsie moved into our house. My mom said that for the first week, Tootsie just trotted in circles around the outside of the house. She actually wore a path in the lawn, because she didn’t know what else to do, she was so upset. But she soon became my dad’s best friend, napping under his desk at Klondyke Gardens Co-op, or riding around with him in his old farm car. We used to joke that Tootsie was all Dad got in the will. Tootsie had a distinct talent. She could go to our vegetable farm, walk down the rows in the carrot field, select a carrot with a strong top, pull the top and get the carrot out of the ground, shake the dirt off and eat it right there.

Tiny was a rescue dog, too. In those days, city people just drove out in the country and dropped dogs off. She showed up on our doorstop, lived on our porch for few days, and then moved in. She had obviously just had a litter of pups, and I am sad to think about what happened to them. She was a wonderful little dog, and Mom, Dad & I enjoyed her for a long time. She loved being warm. Mom gave her a basket to sleep in and when Mom wasn’t looking she would nose it across the floor and place it over top of the hot air register, then jump in for a nap.

But as for dogs Victor & I owned, there were no rescue dogs back in 1979 when I saw an ad in the newspaper and paid $10 for a springer spaniel puppy. Our Pepper was with us for 14 years, and then again, in 1993 I found an ad for cocker spaniels and we brought Paddy home. We had her for 16 years – and now we’ve been pet-less for nearly 5 years. Pepper was brilliant – with a full understanding of the English language. He always knew exactly what we were talking about. He loved boating and swimming, and would even water ski, riding up and down the river on a board behind our boat. Paddy was our poser. We had a photography studio and when people came in for portraits, she’d sit down right in front of the family and look at the camera. I think there are many brides across Huron, Lambton and Middlesex counties who look at their photo albums now and wonder why a little blonde cocker spaniel is sitting on the train of their gown!

Pippen 3

So a couple of weeks ago, I casually typed rescue dogs into Google – I was immediately overwhelmed with the number of agencies operating in the Strathroy-London area. Are there as many agencies in every community? What a sad commentary.

So after a couple of weeks of emails, phones calls and visits, we have decided on Pippin. According to the vet who neutered him and of course, vetted him, he’s probably a “Pookie” – that’s a Poodle – Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) mix. But to me he just looks like a ball of black fluff. He has the legs of a poodle, I guess, and the cute under bite of a Yorkie. It’s interesting that one of his siblings was also vetted recently, and that vet declared him a Poodle-Shih-Tzu mix. Anyway, stir all those breeds together and you get the idea. The vet has also estimated his age at 8 to 10 months.

We adopted him from the agency SCAAR (Second Chance Auction Animal Rescue). This group of dedicated volunteers goes to livestock auctions, where puppy mill owners and others often bring the puppies they haven’t sold to pet stores. Sometimes, if the puppies are sick and weak, and they don’t sell, they are just left behind to die. So SCAAR was formed to pick these up and nurse them back to health, then place them in foster homes until they are adopted to permanent “forever” homes. SCAAR also handles the barn cats, bunnies, and other assorted critters that are brought to the livestock auctions. They stress that not all livestock auctions are bad places, but they saw a need to address a problem with a few people who were bringing in neglected potential pets. To learn more about SCAAR, go to http://scaarontario.weebly.com/

Now, back to Pippin – he’s an adorable ball of fluff – Victor will have to give him a haircut soon or he won’t be able to see. But he’s a little nervous and shy. You would be, too, if you spent 8 to 10 months in a cage and didn’t see much the world.

With his cute under bite, and little white teeth (yep, the vet just cleaned them), he looks like he’s smiling. And occasionally his little nubbin of black tail will be wagging to confirm that smile. But as yet, the tail wagging isn’t frequent. I think, once he figures out that it’s OK to play, he’ll wiggle that wee tail more often. He’s a cuddler. Obviously he is used to snuggling with siblings, so he enjoyed sitting squeezed up next to his foster mom on the couch. He likes snow – we wondered what he’d think about snow, if he’d spent his life in a cage, but he prances around in it, and likes to put his nose in it, giving himself a white beard and moustache.

The rescuers named him Axel, after Axel Rose of Guns ‘N Roses, and his brother was named Slash. I’m sorry, but I don’t think a cute pup should have the name Axel, and besides, I’m not really a Guns ‘N Roses fan. So we have christened him Pippin. The family thought that since we had a Pepper and Paddy in the past, we needed another P name with a double consonant in the middle. (Aren’t you glad we didn’t use that philosophy with naming our kids?) So he’s Pippin, named after the Broadway Musical – still in the realm of music, so I hope the rescuers don’t mind. Our daughter Chelsey suggested the name Pippin, and son Thomas strongly endorsed it – Pippin was the best show he saw in New York last summer, with Canadian funny lady Andrea Martin.

As I mentioned earlier, I was overwhelmed by the many rescue agencies, and I am very impressed with the wonderful volunteers that run them. I considered little dogs with Canine Connect A Care http://www.canineconnectacare.com/ and Animalert http://www.animalert.ca/ and found Pippen with SCAAR. To the wonderful volunteers – Thank you all for your information on your adoptees; I appreciated the emails, phone calls and visits. I can vouch for these volunteers with their good service and prompt responses. These are kind people, and it’s interesting to see how they all network with each other. Thank you Jan, Chelsey, Deb, Wendy, Dianne and special thanks to Kate & Mike, Pippin’s foster parents.

Among the other amazing volunteer organizations are Kismutt Small Dog Rescue http://www.kismutt.com/ where they get rejected dogs from puppy mills. According to their website, most cute puppies in pet shops come from Amish or Mennonite puppy mills, in horrendous conditions. They urge you not to buy from pet stores in an effort to put these terrible puppy mills out of business.

A.R.F. (Animal Rescue Foundation) http://www.arfontario.com/ is a Strathroy based group that works with First Nations to rescue, rehab and re-home stray dogs and cats. They have an array of beautiful big dogs up for adoption.

I spent a lot of time on doggy due diligence searching all these websites. Then I realized that most of them post their dogs available for adoption at two main websites: Pet Finder http://www.petfinder.com/ and Adopt a Pet http://www.adoptapet.com/

These rescue agencies depend on donations for their existence. Consider giving them money, dog food, leashes, collars, harnesses, or toys.

Guess what – before I even finished writing this, Pippin is becoming very comfortable in his new home: Prancing around proudly with his toy in his mouth, then jumping playfully into his new bed!



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