August 25, 2011

White Dog had just finished her column for the upcoming http://www.allforoneclothing.com/ newsletter (a t-shirt shop that creates limited edition works and donates the profits to rescues). This column talked about socialization and we had a wonderful walk down memory lane as she recounted in print the process that formed her into a perfectly party-mannered, well adjusted diva who is comfortable (and appropriate) in every situation.

She looked at me. "It is sad momma that we do not have these photos and memories of Quinn or Nuka or Puffy or Yo," she said. "I wonder what they were like as pups and what kinds of things they did and enjoyed."

I, too, have often thought about the gaps in what we share with our rescue family. No baby pictures. No sweet stories of mischief or eurekas. No idea of what made them the pups they are. Yes, we know some of the bad parts that landed them in our lives but we'll never know if they had littermates to play with or a special person to give belly rubs.

We are lucky with Nuka Angel, Puff and YoYo. Their previous owners left behind some information so we know their ages and where they are from and why they were abandoned. We know these names are the ones they were given and have responded to their entire lives. They are not names we would necessarily have bestowed on a new puppy; you already know of the 8 pages of possibilities we considered before naming White Dog, "Siku." But the names are theirs and we decided that they had the right to keep their names when they came to us...they had earned that much respect and dignity.

Imagine if at age 35 or 50 (just the past 20 months of your life) suddenly you were being addressed by another name. If I woke one morning and without warning was no longer "Sue" but first a number and then "Liz"...I cannot imagine the confusion and learning curve or how I would respond.

And that was poor Quinn's situation. The Mighty Quinn came from death row where he was merely a string of numbers. He had been picked up as a stray and all previous information is answered as "unknown." I had long held the idea that if we ever had a boy Eskie child, that he would be named for the Dylan song, which the college band I sang with did a cover of and which has the perfect line, "When Quinn the Eskimo gets here..." So the boy with a number became our Mighty Quinn.

But who is he really? He HAD a name at some point and one that he probably happily responded to and was familiar with. Does he think in his head, "Why don't they call me, (Chuck or Snow or Gandalf or whatever he thinks of as his given name)?" A year and a half since joining us, Quinn still responds to "Quinn" tentatively, as if he has to stop and think, "Oh yeah, that is me!" He is becoming "Quinn" but it is a conscious and deliberate choice. It must be hard.

White Dog thought about our patchwork family and shook her head. "I used to think I was the unlucky one to suddenly have all these brothers and sisters but you know, I am the luckiest one of all. I have always known who I am and have been encouraged and supported to become that pup. The others had to wait until they became one of us, late in their lives. I hope here in the White Dog Army they have found a place to bloom." "Me, too." I silently added.


Random Felines said...

That is so very true. Mom tries to supply our foster kittens new homes with pictures and as much info and background as she can (and she is allowed). We are glad the WDA has you....no matter what their names or circumstances might have been. :)

Sam said...

We wonder the same thing about our Monty. There are gaps in his education, but he knows enough that we know they spent time with him. ...but we look at Sam's puppy pics and wonder what Monty looked like at that age.


Kari in Vegas said...

I often wonder what Mesa and Big Carl were like as puppies


Stella said...

Some times it takes a long while for a dog to become accustomed to a new family. This is not for you, but for someone who has adopted a dog and its not doing what you think it should do. Don't take it back. Simply think about a dog losing its family, the kids it loved, a good peaceful life, and suddenly in a cage in a shelter. Then a new family but its all different. Not bad, just different. Give your new pup lots of patience,love, learning, and at least two years to assimilate. Thats not an official number but it took Stella almost all that time to really be MY dog. She was always good with me, but different.

So, patience is its own reward.

Jo, Stella and Zkhat, all three rescues!

Sagira said...

It is sad that you don't know their past but sometimes that is for the better. I know some days I wish I could pick up and start over somewhere new with a fresh start...so try to think about it that way it is a nice fresh start. :)

Bailey Be Good! said...

It doesn't matter that you weren't there when they were puppies. It matters that you WERE there when they needed you most. :)

Woofs & hugs, <3

~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

Asta said...

Sweet Sweet White dog
Such sewious things to pondew, I hope youw white dog awmy has fowgotten all the bad times and the huwt and loneliness of theiw pwevious life and can now just be wif the feelings of love and secoowity and knowledge that this is fuwwevew..they nevew have to be in a bad place evew again.
I know you wowwy that they might be sad , and Quinn has such a dawk hole fow his past, but nevew again..I know he knows that and that's what's impawtant

I love you all
smoochie kisses

Amber DaWeenie said...

You have just opened our eyes and made us think about every word. And all this is so true. We can walk into a shelter and every face we see had a past....good or bad. But usually we will never know exactly what that past consisted of.

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Sad but true.

But we bet none of the WDA additions would ever trade their life today for what once was.

Sally Ann and Andy said...

I think that is so true, but I know your Mommy loves y'all more than anything in all the world. Miss Siku, my brother has an invitation for you. He used his offical title to write to you. I think his Harvard education is paying off. He has been taking about tuxes, but I told him his Eton suit would be perfect.
Sally Ann

Tweedles -- that's me said...

I agree with Asta. I think that the bad stuffs are removed from the memory once the hands of love touch their hearts.
There may be lack of trust,, but the bad memories are replaced with love that makes the tails wag.
Your post is very thoughtful...
we read every word.

24 Paws of Love said...

He takes to the name Quinn, because it is the one said with love.