Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pip has a forever home!

For those who don't know, Pip is a dog we adopted from the Prison Trained K-9 Program back in August. Unfortunately, she did not work out and we had to return her. Despite that, I still feel quite attached to her...almost like Patricia McConnell's dog, Cool Hand Luke, in the book The Other End of the Leash. If you're a dog person and haven't read any of McConnell's books, you should.

On Wednesday morning I headed back up to Cañon City to drop Libbie off for two and a half weeks of boarding at the prison. While I was dropping Libbie off with one of the program's trainers, Margie, she told me that Pip had been adopted and told me all about the family who adopted her. I actually already knew that she'd been adopted because I watch the Prison Trained K-9 website like a hawk and noticed right away when she was taken off. I quickly got in touch with the head trainer at the program, but she didn't give me any insight into what Pip's life is like now. Thankfully, Margie knew everything about what's going on with Pip. So, here's the story.

First, you should know where Pip came from...I don't think I ever talked about her background on the blog. She was a breeding mom in a puppy mill. This means that she was probably kept in a very small cage and bred every six months from the time she first went into heat. Her puppies were taken from her as soon as possible - probably sooner than was healthy - and sold either in grocery store parking lots, in classified ads, or in mall pet stores. Pip was not fed well (pregnant and lactating dogs require lots of extra calories and nutrients) and she was not socialized with people. This spring she was rescued when the puppy mill where she lived was shut down. She was underweight and had rotting teeth and matted fur. In addition, she was very shy and afraid of almost everyone. Despite her tough first four years, she was a sweet and very obedient dog when we adopted her. Since she hadn't been socialized, though, she did not like children and did not get along well with Brynn and Callie (especially Callie). Hence, her return to the program.

According to Margie, the family who adopted Pip a few weeks ago has a fifteen year old girl with mild cerebral palsy. The girl is in Margie's 4-H club and competes in dog obedience at the state fair. She worked with a Jack Russell Terrier for the last five years until he had to be put to sleep a few months ago. Pip is her new obedience dog and apparently they are adjusting well to each other. Margie said that Pip gets to play ball with her new family and goes with them almost everywhere, including the 4-H meetings. Since her new owner will probably be competing at the 4-H obedience competition this summer, we will probably get to go see Pip and watch her in the competition!

After I returned Pip I started daydreaming about the best possible situation for Pip. The picture I saw in my head was a retired couple with at least one other friendly dog, a lot of acreage, and not much to do besides love on the dogs. Maybe even a few sheep - Pip would love herding them. Of course, as it usually turns out, her new situation is better than I could have imagined. It never would have occurred to me that there would be a mildly disabled teenage girl who loves dogs and loves competing in dog obedience and that she would be looking for a dog like Pip. What better ending could there be to Pip's story? Although I really do miss Pip and think about her almost every day (and still get teary when I talk about her), I'm optimistic about Pip's future and thankful that things don't always work out the way we think they should.

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