by Lisa Schaffner (Jul 29 2015)
I have had a dog, or dogs, the majority of my life. When one passed, another was adopted so there was always a small “pack” around. At the end of 2013, both of my senior dogs passed within 2 1/2 months of each other, the Siberian Husky October 18th and the Lab December 23rd. I told myself no more dogs for a while, too much work, too difficult when they passed, etc. I went out of town for Christmas and returned to an empty house. The “no more dogs” lasted about a week, until I found myself “just looking” at the local shelters.
On Friday, January 3rd I wandered into Best Friends in Mission Hills looking for a Siberian Husky. The husky and I didn’t click so I wandered around for a bit. I stopped in front of one kennel with a crazy black and white lab mix that so hyper I thought no way, she’s too much for me and continued on, going home to an empty house again. The next Sunday they had two Siberians listed for adoption so I asked my friend Kristen to join me in my search (she had two Siberians at the time). Again, the Siberians were not clicking with me so we walked around a bit. As I walked by the kennel with the crazy dog again I pointed her out to my friend. Kristen stopped and looked at her and I hear her laughing, saying “she’s not paying any attention to me, her eyes are following you, you are being played”. Oh boy, here we go I thought. I found a volunteer and we took this crazy dog named Fran to the play area. She was bouncing around, looking and smelling everything in the area and I thought she would never stop! I sat on the bench and she finally jumped up next to me, or on me was more like it. I gave her the “people” test. Played with her ears, touched her feet, looked in her mouth, pulled her tail. Every time her reaction was the same, I got a big slobbery kiss. Before I could stop myself these words came out of my mouth “I think I want her”. Kristen asked if I was sure, laughing at this unruly dog. Yes, I was sure.
Unfortunately, I had some place to be that night so I didn’t think I should bring a new dog into a strange house so I asked if I could fill out the paperwork, pay the fee and pick her up the next day, thinking if they said no, it really wasn’t meant to be. They said “oh, yes” very emphatically. All night I kept thinking what have I done? I am only working part time and don’t really have the money for this dog that is going to need a lot of work. I was expecting a small settlement check but not sure when it would arrive. So I told myself if the check arrived on Monday, then this was really meant to be. Yep, it arrived that day so off I went to pick up my dog that I named Frannie.
I came home with a dog with separation anxiety, a fence jumper (I could tell by the way she looked for a way out), didn’t know how to walk on a leash, no manners, dog reactive and didn’t even know what a dog bed was. But she was happy. Really happy. And she loved me. I looked at her that first day home and said out loud “how did this happen”? She sat right in front of me with a look on her face that said “you know how it happened”. And so it began…
I found a private trainer through some friends and we began working 2-3 times a week on basic walking (I had to use 2 leashes and a backpack on her). Since I couldn’t leave her alone I thought maybe doggie day care would work if I had a long day, but she didn’t pass the assessment. The trainer suggested crate training so off I went to buy a crate. She took to the crate in just a few days so at least I could leave and not worry. Kristy Graham introduced me to LARPBO so we began group training. I would almost cry when I pulled up in the parking lot because Frannie was so strong and so dog reactive. Luckily Griffin was always there to rescue me as I was about to turn around and leave. I constantly questioned if this was the right dog for me or of I was the right human for her. A friend (that has three rescue dogs) suggested I think of her as a foster, and that I was getting her ready for the right home. So that’s what I did, even though I knew she wasn’t going anywhere. I continued the private training and the group classes. I took her for swimming classes hoping I would have a dog that liked to swim (she doesn’t, yet). I worked with her every day. Everything was new to her, even a paper bag peaked her curiosity. She liked the work. And she was learning.
What do I have today? A dog I can take for walks and enjoy it. A dog that doesn’t have to wear a yellow ribbon on her leash anymore while in class. A dog that can play with other dogs (even Min Pins). A dog that doesn’t try to jump the fence. A dog that I am more bonded to than any other dog I have ever had. And every day I make it a point to look at her and say “how did this happen?” And every day she looks at me with that look that says “you know how this happened” and wags her tail.
Meet LARPBO Dogs & Peeps
These stories illustrates LARPBO’s part in keeping dogs home and out of shelters AND guiding owners to help dogs reach their potential. Please help us continue making a difference in the community. Click here to donate to our Shelter Intervention & Prevention Program so that we can continue our mission.
- Bodhi: Better than a Doodle!
- Cali: It’s All About Cali!
- Cathy & Isaac: A Note to LARPBO
- Dexter: There’s No Stopping Dexter
- Frannie: How Did this Happen?
- Grace: An Addict, a Pit Bull and Grace
- Hope: Where there is Hope
- Houston: From a Dog No One Wanted to Therapy Dog
- Jane, Moses & Andie: A Human-K9 Pack
- JJ: Capturing the Heart of a First Time Pit Bull Owner
- Lacy: What’s in a Name
- Lisa: LARPBO and My Journey
- Lynwood: The Chick Magnet
- Miles Woo: So You Think My Dog is Good?
- Ollie: LARPBO Dog Becomes Therapy Dog
- Rusty: Discarded “trash” to therapy dog
- Samson: Samson is Family
- Tito: LARPBO Speak!
- Wesley: Following Wesley