Oh, the twists and turns in a poor dog's life. I didn't even realize until today, when looking for emails about Willy for background material for this post, that we had declined to take this very same dog back in July!
The original request came in a letter from Marilyn O., who works with a rescue group in southern New Hampshire. They had taken over caring for a blind Dachshund after his owner had been hospitalized with a terminal illness. The Dachshund had no training, had never had a collar or leash put on him, had not been around other dogs, and was a fearful boy who did not do well with other dogs.
The rescue group had asked a local shelter to take Willy for three weeks so the shelter's trainer could work with the dog. But, Marilyn subsequently told me in an email, "although they thought they could make him adoptable in three weeks' time, (they) asked us to take him back right away or to agree to have him euthanized as he has proved to be getting worse instead of improving, not bonding with anyone, and is very agitated and frightened."
After a couple of lengthy emails with Marilyn, we concluded that we probably didn't have the right environment for Willy. One of our basic groundrules is that a dog has to be able to do well with other dogs; we're just not set up to keep dogs isolated and separated because they can't get along with others.
Fast forward to October, and I received an email from a lady in Massachusetts, Brenda R., about a blind Dachshund she had taken in from a shelter in New Hampshire the day before he was to be euthanized. Even though she had said his name was Willy, I didn't make the connection. (Given the volume of emails and inquiries we get, the passage of several months, and the fact that my post-50 brain is not the finely-tuned information processing machine it once was, that shouldn't be surprising!)
Here's how Brenda described him:
Quite a difference, huh?
Well, we went ahead and agreed to take this Willy, and he's now been with us for about a month. He's doing great! He hasn't really bonded yet, but he's given Alayne some kisses and seems to be on his way. He does fine with the other dogs.
But I can see how Willy may well have been the way he was originally described when he was taken from the only home he'd known and placed in that shelter. It was probably just too much for him. Brenda just happened to be the angel who showed up in the nick of time. Maybe at that point Willy was also finally ready to respond to someone. And obviously in Brenda's home environment, he adjusted remarkably well.
So it wasn't exactly a straight line, but Willy ended up at the Rolling Dog Farm after all. Here he is enjoying the sunshine coming through the solarium in the dog room on a recent morning: