Thursday, December 3, 2009

Grady Becomes an Alabama Dog - Part I

My name is Grady. I'm a black Newfoundland dog with two white toes and a white chest. I'm new to Alabama but I think I'm going to like it. I'll let my new Mom tell the story.

Brandon (hubs) sent me an IM around noon on a Thursday. We were having our Thanksgiving lunch for the office and things were sort of slow. The IM contained a link for a pet on Petfinder.

Gads, what is this I thought? Every now and then we'll look at Petfinder and see what's out there for adoption. Never know what you'll find. Looking back at me from my monitor is a dog who looks a LOT like Bava, hair was grotty looking but he was definitely a Newf. Lots of Petfinder ads advertise dogs that are Newf's come to find out they're really a mix of some variety. This guy had to be a "real" Newf.

I wrote back, OMG, he looks just like Bava! He agreed. I said okay, so why did you send this to me, grinning big as I was typing. 'Oh I don't know, he does look like Bava though.' We gabbed back and forth for a little while and I casually said, well I can call them and see what's going on. Maybe we can help find him a home?

I went outside with a pad of paper, his info written down and settled down on the hood of my car to call the shelter. I explained what my call was in reference to and they said oh yeah, he's an owner surrender, he kept getting out of the yard he was in and they got tired of putting him back in or some such. She went on to explain that being as he's a working breed, he's very intelligent yadda yadda. I said Yep, I'm mum to two Newfies. 'Oh!' she says, 'So you know what they're like!' Yep.

Can you give me more information? 'Yes, he's up to date on his shots, he's neutered, loves the water, had his bath already and he's approximately 6 years old.'

I kinda felt like someone had thumped me on the head. Wow, a 6 year old Newfie given up. This sounds strange. So, I asked what he was like with other dogs. 'He's in a pen with 7 ladies right now and he's doing fine.' What about male dogs? One of my Newfie's is a male, neutered. 'Oh, he's been around them and he seems fine with them.' I said what are your hours/days open? She told me the days/times and said if I was interested in coming to look at them, they wouldn't bring him to the two locations where they were doing adoptions that Saturday. She also asked me for my information and seemed pleased Hubs and I had experience with the breed. I gave her my info and said I'd probably see her Saturday.

Called Hubs back and relayed the information I'd gained on him. He seemed like me in disbelief that this handsome looking dog was in "jail" at his age. We went for a walk that evening in the dark with the two other Newfies and I casually brought it up, still not sure how he felt about the possibility of us having another dog in the house. Mowglie isn't exactly male dog friendly and all we had to go on was what we'd been told and what his "ad" said about him. He said the decision was up to me. I sort of felt like this was a trick question and he knows I hate making major decisions like this. Part of me was feeling, okay, fine, we'll go tomorrow on my off day and get this poor baby out of jail even if it's just to hold him for someone else looking for a Newfie to love. The other part was like crap...what do I do? Another piece of me was thinking what on earth am I doing thinking of going to bail this guy out?

I posted on a dog forum we mod on and was quite vague. One of our friends jumped and said something to the effect of we need more details, do it! :) Others gave their experiences, some wanted more information. I'd kinda made my mind up already but wasn't ready to give in to the decision. I still had a few hours to make my mind up.

Hubs asked me before we'd decided to go to lunch if I'd called the shelter back. I said yes, I left a VM with the director of the shelter (who'd called and left ME a VM) and had asked her to call me back, I'd thought of a couple more questions concerning him. So I brought my pad of paper with me, a pen and my phone and we went out. I tried calling her later and finally got a phone call back. I wanted to know how he was with cats. 'Fine,' she said, their main room where they process intakes has some cats in residence and one of them crawled all over him and he was fine with it. I said that we'd see her the next day.

Hubs asked me what we were doing, I told him my decision and set my alarm for the next day to go off early. We had a 2.5 hour drive to go get this boy. I consulted a very dear friend of mine and told her the situation and she and I agreed even if all we'd wind up doing is getting him out of jail (which wound up being a kill shelter btw) and finding a suitable home for him (She and I have done a home visit for a Pyr) then we can call it a happy thing to do. Spirits lifted even more in this crazy decision I finally went to bed after extra loves on all three dogs and telling them that another dog would not take the place of them that's already in my heart.

Hubby came in before I'd gotten out of bed and said we have to get over there quick. He'd done some research on the place and it didn't bode well. I got up and got going. He packed the crate in the van, we took Bava's leash/collar and a slip-lead with us, printed out our directions and began the journey.

The closer we got the more trepidatious we felt about the whole thing. We finally found it and not going into too many details, we were wondering what on earth we were doing. Happy faces, here we come.

There were a couple folks inside and some outside all with missions it seemed. No one gave us a nod or acknowledged we were there for about 15 minutes. One of them finally looked up and said is someone helping you? mmmNope. We told them our purpose for being there and a light bulb went off. Aha! 'Are you the folks from Alabama?' Yep. 'You were told you could come get him today?' Uh, yep....(puzzled look at this from me). They sort of went back to their activities and we were left mulling around for a few more minutes. Finally they got their act together and one of them said, 'go get the dog for them.'

We waited like anxious parents waiting for their baby to be brought to them from the nursery for the first time. I couldn't stand it and went to look out the window to look outside at the kennel where they'd disappeared. Out of the doorway comes one of the volunteers with this big, shaggy, sadly muddy Newf. He did have a slight grin on his face. I said Oh my gosh! It's a Newf! He is a Newf! In hindsight I'm sure that sounded ridiculous to them but hey, Mowglie was advertised as a Newf Mix and he has NO Newf in him.

We went outside and they handed off the leash to me. He promptly leaned on me and carefully I brushed a hand over his dirty grayish coat. Hubs took his leash and ran his hands over him too and said to me quickly, 'Hey Melissa, go do the paperwork and let's head out.' Mmm that sounded "urgent-like" to me. Intuition told me something was not quite right way back in the back of my head so me in my excitement said okay, let's do this! He handed off his checkbook to me to pay the adoption fees and off we went to do paperwork. We were told animals are not allowed in the office as they've had some sick dogs and didn't want to contaminate any other animals.

I think Hubby's eyebrows disappeared as did mine. Paperwork was done, check written, they couldn't find his file - odd, obligatory photo taken and we got packed back in the van with a dog in the crate and off we go in the misty mid-afternoon for our journey home.

Hubs relayed to me how he'd found HUGE mats in between the pups back legs. His feet, back, legs and parts of his belly had mud balls on them, the gray look to his coat was dead hair and dandruff. Chunks of hair were coming off him while we were petting him and all I could think was man, I want my rakes and combs and I want to clean this guy UP!

We scooted down the road and stopped at a pet store for a bowl, collar and leash for him, also toys. Every dog has to have toys, this guy was no exception. We did a food stop for us, a pee stop for him, another stop for food for everyone and finally got home. We both took our shoes off outside to prevent ick from the shelter from being traipsed through the house. I put Mowglie up to allow the new guy to check out the back yard, grabbed up a brush and a rake and some scissors and off we went so we could introduce him to the other two Newfies in our lives. Hubs got the camera and a new chapter began for us.


  1. Great story, Melissa. Brandon is such a softie! And Grady is sooooo freakin' LUCKY!

  2. Oh gosh your story totally made me tear up...I'm so glad that you guys found Grady, imagine his life in that horrible shelter...there is no better place for that pup than with you guys! You have to keep us updated on how things are cuz I wanna know! So does Koda! :)

    Esther & KB

  3. That is sweet. You should get a picture of all your pets with you and Brandon in the picture and send out as Christmas cards.

  4. Hey, you guys. How the heck are you? It's been ages. What a beautiful boy Grady is. Drop me a note sometime via newf-l or facebook. We should get together with the dogs sometime.

    Gene & Sawyer (Facebook: Sawyer Brooke Gillmer)

  5. Hey Sawyer! We're fine, how are you?? How are the dogs? As you see, we have another Newfie :) LOL