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Just Say No to Dogs: Don't Be a Hoarder

Leah Twitchell

Selena the Wonder Pup

So I just realized after all the "mama drama" (my latest rescue dog giving birth in my home) I never gave you an update on what happened to the surviving pupper. Keeping in mind that Freya's puppy was, in my eyes, the most adorable and sweetest dog ever to roam the earth, giving her up for adoption was not an easy decision. I already had two dogs and a cat when I welcomed Freya into my home and was completely unaware that she was preggers. After two of the three puppies died, I was sufficiently traumatized and became deeply attached to the survivor, Selena. And I thought, I can do this, I can raise a puppy while rehabilitating her mother (dog aggressive, heartworm positive) as well as taking care of my three other animals. But alas, the pressure proved too much.

At around 5 weeks, Freya and Selena were still happily nursing, but their playtime was more like rough housing, and it was stressing Selena out. Which in turn stressed me out, because I couldn't tell if what they were doing was normal playing between mother and pup, or if Freya was being overly aggressive. After about a week of on and off playing/play fighting, I asked my dog trainer for help. He said I absolutely had to separate them because the mother dog should not be so rough with the puppy as to stress her. So then I had on my hands a case of weaning and crate training a six week old puppy. The first night she wanted to go out every 1.5 hours, she missed her mom and wanted MILK! 

I let them nurse together a few more times, but each time they finished nursing, they went right to play-fighting and I had to take Selena away from Freya, which was heartbreaking. And each time, the situation became more charged and I was afraid Freya would become aggressive, towards me or the pup. So I decided to finally separate them for good. Major bummer. At the same time, I had to decide if it was okay to let her play with my other adult dogs, and how to manage all four dogs, two of whom still needed behavioral rehab. It was like musical dogs, shifting them in and out of crates and in and out of the yard. Most of my time, energy and attention went towards crate training and house breaking the 6 week old Selena. 

All of this may have been well and good if I were operating a kennel, or maybe a dog rescue (which I plan to in the future). But I had to keep up with my other work, which was quickly falling by the wayside. Then there were the financial considerations of housing and caring for four dogs (plus one cat!). It just wasn't going to work out. Selena started spending longer stints in her crate (up to two or three hours) but I was still sleep deprived and feeling emotionally weak. I decided to put the word out that I had a puppy up for adoption. After changing my mind three or four times and confusing the hell out of everyone who kept asking if I was going to keep her, a woman named Pam called me. Pam was the friend of a friend, and she owned a horse farm. We talked on the phone for about 45 minutes and I could tell she was a true blue dog lover. Her experience with dobermans gave me confidence that she could handle a spunky pit mix. I was still torn. How could I give up this little face:

Well, to make a long story short, Freya made that decision for me. While I was at the office the day after I spoke to Pam, I got a call from Animal Control. One of my pit bulls was at the shelter because she had been caught roaming the neighborhood. I prayed it was Eva, but knew it could not be. My dogs were not roamers, and besides, how could they have gotten out of the house? With puppy in tow, I drove to the shelter and sure enough found Freya, wagging her tail, happy to jump into my car. I dreaded what I would find at home, had she broken out of my office by tearing down the door? How had she escaped the house? Were my other dogs safe? 

It turns out that she had broken out through the air conditioner in the office, leaving the house unharmed. But I knew that this was the last straw. I did not have the resources to care for my resident fur-family plus Freya and her quickly growing pup. I called Pam and made the appointment to visit her horse farm with Selena. On the phone Pam was hesitant, saying that it was only a visit and she would like to meet the mom before agreeing to the adoption. Which was fine by me, I didn't have any issue with a meet and greet. However, as soon as we stepped out of the car, it was love at first sight and I ended up parting ways with my beloved Selena that day! My heart was truly broken, but in between the crying jags I knew I had made the right decision.

Selena now happily resides with Pam on the farm in Durham, Maine. Pam recently gave me an update and she said that she is so grateful that I "allowed her" to share her life with such a special dog. I'm confident Selena is going to live a wonderful life, and perhaps a better one than I could have provided. I've turned my attention back to rehabilitating Freya, and all is well in the world. My heart is still a tiny bit broken, being a true dog lady, I wanted so badly to keep them ALL. But life is good when you "just say no" to too many dogs. 


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1 comment

  • I’m so glad to hear Selena is still doing well ! She is so cute. And I love seeing the pictures of your ongoing work with Freya —

    Alwynne

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