My Life as a Rescue Dog--Continued

First Pyrson accounts of the Rescue process by Abigail Kintsfather.

Abigail enjoys an ear skritch from Aunt Stephanie
at the 2001 GPCA National Specialty.

Chapter 1

While ripping the stuffing out of my crate pad one day, I came across some notes for an article entitled "My Life as a Rescue Dog" by some chick named Clondike (apparently my predecessor, who couldn't spell). At the Pyrenean Fun Day this summer I asked some of the other Penn-Dutch Pyrs about this Clondike. It seems she was quite a character. In any case I was told that if the Kintsfathers adopted me (an open question at that point), I'd be expected to produce an annual column for the Pyr-A-Scoop about the Rescue experience. So here's the first edition.

I was born on a farm in Arkansas to goat-guarding parents. I guess there were enough siblings to continue the goat guarding tradition without me, so an ad was placed in a magazine and a family in Pennsylvania shipped me halfway across the country to be their family pet. Unfortunately they didn't have a clue about livestock guardian dogs (LGDs) and when I matured a little and started intensely protecting my family and their property, they considered this very annoying.

They took me to a very nice "animal shrink" named Dr. Anne, who put me on some drugs and gave the folks some tips on training. Since she did this while I was in the room (and I'm very smart), I'm afraid I managed to figure out ways to circumvent all the training exercises.

There were some discussions with Penn-Dutch Rescue and a very pleasant outing to Lake Nockamixon to meet Club members and their Pyrs (I vaguely remember a regal bitch who was probably Ms. Clondike holding court in the picnic area). Finally when I was 3 1/2 Aunt Patti Bechtel came to the house one day and took me to this surreal place with what seemed like a dozen Pyrs and about 100 exotic tropical birds. It was different, but I seemed to be accepted and was settling in when one of the Pyrs got sick and everyone seemed very upset. In a matter of days, the Kintsfathers came to visit and took me home with them in a cool green station wagon, which I'm told is called the Sproutmobile in honor of Clondike's passion for Brussels sprouts (weird!).

The plan seemed to be for me to stay with these humans for a few weeks, but I turned on the charm and they seemed to fall for it right away. After about two weeks I decided that this was going to be MY place and I started defending my house and family in my usual, aggressive way. The new folks didn't seem to appreciate this and took me back to see Dr. Anne. I'm now on some stronger drugs which make me feel much more confident, and I think the folks must be reading about behavior modification, because they seem to be keeping a step ahead of me.

The coolest thing is that my new family takes me to really fun events. After only a month we went to Boston to something called a National Specialty and I got to meet Clondike's old flame, Barney Babe, and a whole bunch of other nice Pyrs. Daddy takes me up to his office every couple of weeks and more and more people are coming by to skritch my ears (VERY soothing). At the All-Breed Rescue Fair in October, I met the extremely handsome Alexx Duffy and we played together. It's early days yet, but we made a date to meet at the Penn-Dutch Christmas Party and who knows...? Clondike seemed to manage a long-distance romance very successfully.

Alexx Duffy (L) flirts with Abigail at the Rescue Fair.

So I am now officially adopted, have inherited the really cool Sproutmobile, and am participating in lots of fun Penn-Dutch activities. I'm still a bit too protective of the house according to the folks, but I'm gradually learning that, given a chance, many people will come up and make friends. My biggest issue is with these Lance Armstrong wannabes who whiz past the front of the house on their racing bikes with the Speedos and funny hats. Several people have suggested that the folks should let me catch one and find out how tough and stringy they are, but so far they seem unconvinced and keep me on a tight lead when bicyclists are in the neighborhood.

Part of being a Rescue dog is learning the house rules and then learning how to circumvent them for your own comfort. For example, Mommy has a rule stating "no Pyrs on the furniture." Daddy interprets this as "never let the humans see you on the furniture"--a compromise I can live with.

We are gradually getting used to each other and I think this Rescue thing is going to work out. Stay tuned for future editions of this column, and if you haven't already adopted a Rescue Pyr, consider how much fun a Rescue could add to your household routine.

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