Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted April 28, 2015
When I was looking for a new dog, I came across a vet's office that also housed a shelter for dogs and cats that they had brought up north from kill-shelters in the south. I looked at all the happy furry faces online and decided I wanted to adopt a dog. It was time. I had lost my two dogs in a fire two years prior, and was missing them.
I went to the shelter with a set of requirements that I had thought long and hard about. I wanted a lively, upbeat puppy, with the warm breath and cuddly demeanor that only a baby possesses. I wanted it to be a male puppy with short hair because I didn't want to have to deal with all of the shedding.
After several dogs were brought into a bonding room, there was no connection. I walked through the shelter for some time, almost dismissing the 18 month old long-haired female sitting so quietly in her kennel. I had a feeling she might have been abused, but the workers told me she was just shy. She made no noise (though the other dogs were making up for that) and seemingly tried not to be noticed. She wouldn’t make eye contact, so I put my fingers in the cage, and she came over after a small bit of coaxing. She had to be dragged from her kennel so I could take her for a small walk. Once outside, she seemed to open up a bit. I must have fallen in love because, after the walk, I adopted her.
I settled on the name Dafni (she had at least three names listed on her paperwork and didn’t seem to recognize any of them). I could not see the American Eskimo, nor the Spitz, that the paperwork claimed. She was super shy, made absolutely no noise, and was terrified of EVERYTHING. Any noise at all would startle her- turning on the kitchen faucet, a car door shutting, people’s voices. Any sudden movement would send her into a panic. It was rather sad.
Now, a year later, Dafni is a changed dog. She is not a guard dog, but lets me know if there is any movement outside at all. She is very smart, knows a few tricks, and has basic obedience down pat. She loves almost everyone she meets – and she attempts to meet everyone. She waits for kids to pass by, because they always stop to pet or play with her. Even her puppy friends will come to the door to have her come out and play.
It is only recently that I can recognize the American Eskimo in her. She is very vocal now. It took six months for her to bark for the first time. She even scared herself. But, even now, she rarely barks. She has more of the Husky vocalizing when she is trying to say something. And she has something to say quite often.
The biggest resemblance to the American Eskimo is found on our walks. She is 37 pounds of pure muscle. She will want to get to some post or small tree to pee on, and will literally lunge toward it. When she reaches the end of the leash she will do this hopping/lunging kind of motion that gets her just a bit closer. I was watching a video about dog-sledding trying to make a connection between her and her ancestry, and the dogs were doing exactly that to get the sleds over the rough terrain.
Dafni is a mutt, a mongrel, a mixed-breed. Her ancestry may be muddled (only DNA testing would tell for sure) but one thing is certain.
She is perfect. And she is my best friend.