BOOGIE AND ME
I find out about Boogie
In August 2009, a close friend, who is a fellow animal lover, contacted me about a little dog she had found at a shelter. She wanted to know if I was interested in adopting him. At the time I had a dog, a female named Gertie, whom I admit was slightly spoiled rotten. A little Princess, I doubted she would welcome a new canine addition to our household. Added to that I had a corporate job that required me to fly out of town for at least three days a week, so I declined. I had a house-sitter stay with Gertie while I was gone. In the meantime, my friend got the little dog moved from a kill shelter to a no-kill shelter.
The following December I had to have my lovely Gertie put to sleep. She had sudden liver failure and nothing could be done to save her. A week later my friend sent an email to me with pictures of the shelter dog and a note that said she knew it was very soon after Gertie’s death, but by now this little dog had been in the shelter for five months, awaiting adoption. And a few months earlier, like so many employees in “the great recession,” I had been downsized out of my job. I took an early retirement so I had some time for a new project. I agreed to go with her to the shelter to see him.
Right off the bat, the dog, whose shelter name was Boogey, had a couple of strikes against him as far as I was concerned. For one thing he was a male and for a long time I’d preferred (spayed of course!) female dogs. Second, upon seeing him I really didn’t think he was very good looking. He has an under-bite that shows some of the time and didn’t have the big, soft brown “Gertie” eyes I was used to looking into. His personality, as well as his appearance, seemed pretty lackluster. I told the shelter staff person that I decided I didn’t want him and to put him back in the cage. Then I sat and thought about it for a few minutes and said, “Oh go get him. I can’t leave him here.” It was now early January 2010.
Boogie comes to his new home
Boogey’s story was that he had been dropped off outside the kill shelter while it was closed, so no one knew anything about his past. Although he was a healthy weight, he was very timid and had abrasions on his face and front paws. My trainer told me they were probably self-inflicted, and he had likely got them as he tried to dig his way out of somewhere. I brought him home in my car. During the expressway ride he managed to knock my automatic shifter into neutral, which was a brief, and interesting, development!
As I coaxed him into my house it didn’t appear he had ever been in a home before. He was so timid that it took me a whole week to tempt him to venture into all the rooms of my house. The first couple of nights he was in my home he would run out of the family room as soon as I turned on the TV because he was startled by the sound. But finally he began to settle in and his real personality started to come out.
Right away he became very affectionate with me and I started to see how lively and energetic a little dog he really is. (The shelter staff had told me he was very laid-back -- hah!) I changed the spelling of his name from Boogey to Boogie, and it is a very fitting name! He was quite busy and constantly getting into trouble. If he wasn’t chewing something he was pooping on the floor. Meanwhile, although he was very attached to me, he began to get quite aggressive acting with visitors. My trainer explained he was being possessive of his new mommy and he displayed his feelings with aggressive sounding barks and growls. Thankfully he hadn’t bit anyone yet, but there were a couple of jaw snaps.
I am a very social person and there are a lot of people coming and going at my house. To add to all this, I have an electric fence in my yard and I was afraid that if I tried to introduce him to it would be too traumatic for the little dog since he was overly timid. So I was taking him out in very cold and snowy weather four times a day. This situation could not continue! I enrolled him in a private training class. He was so timid and fearful and bad acting I was afraid that group classes wouldn’t be effective.
A complete transformation takes place
My trainer is absolutely wonderful; John Smith of All About Dogs in Cincinnati. Once Boogie accepted me as the alpha dog and saw that I was calm when visitors came, he was calm, because obviously, there was nothing to worry about! He started to enjoy our visitors. He also understood better the consequences of chewing and “going” in the house. But before all these wonderful changes took place, I had already fallen in love with this crazy, 25 lb. dog.
Boogie has incredible personality. His face, which sometimes looks to me like a teddy bear, and sometimes looks like a little monkey, has such a variety of expressions. I now love occasional glimpses of his little under-bite and think it is so cute. My friends and family, who are today quite comfortable around him, because he is no longer barking or growling at them, laugh out loud at his playful nature and rascally ways. He often runs maniacally through the house or the yard, he’s just so happy to be alive!
I believe strongly in providing the best food for my animals and within a month of eating good quality food his coat was sleek and shiny. He wears his heart on his sleeve and like most of our furry friends, loves attention and belly rubs. In fact, affection makes him ecstatic. By spring he was trained to the electric fence in my large yard and loves to run and play and chase squirrels. I actually think if I were interested in pursuing the sport, he could be one of those dogs that run agility courses. Although not perfect, (we can, on occasion, experience a chewing transgression or wastebasket raid), he has become the perfect dog for me. And I love him so much I can’t believe it.
A new business venture
This spring I helped found a new farmers’ market in our neighborhood (www.lewfm.org). A close friend and neighbor suggested I sell homemade doggy treats at the market and I immediately seized on the idea. Creating and selling Boogie Bones treats is a natural small business for someone like me that loves to cook, loves animals, has a background in sales and marketing, and loves people too! I make the treats in my own kitchen of all human grade food and healthy ingredients. Of course Boogie is my muse and inspiration and my primary flavor tester. So he enjoys my new venture as well! Now that Boogie loves people, he accompanies me to the market each week so he can bask in the attention and pets he receives from the shoppers, young and old alike. I plan to offer Boogie Bones at more venues and someday, online. In the meantime, if you are in the Cincinnati area contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to try some Boogie Bones for your dog. I have also started making a new salmon recipe kitty sized kibbles.
People always ask me "What kind of dog is he? As best we can tell he is now about three years old, with some Chihuahua and Boxer and maybe Boston Terrier? Small dogs are long lived, and I anticipate he will be with me for many, many, years. Boogie and I both hope you will try some Boogie Bones for the doggy love(s) of your life!