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Hello Save A Dog!

Last Sunday it was six months since Cross came here to her new and forever home. We celebrated by taking a good long walk in previously uncharted territory and by redecorating the station wagon, which included adding a new fuzzy rug for curling up on during long car rides. And, well, she also got a new squeak toy to replace the one on which she recently performed a squeakerectomy.

Cross came home on a Friday night last May and we started basic obedience classes the next Tuesday. She did well in class and learned very quickly compared to her puppy classmates, even if she was not exactly a willing student. She only wanted to play with her new pals, but this was an on-leash only activity. But she endured the hour, doing as she was asked or directed, but often with a look that said, "Why can't I go play with that dog?"

When I tell people of her sad story, coming up from North Carolina after being rescued from a kill shelter in South Carolina, they often respond forlornly, "Oh poor thing! Was she abused?" I reply that I don't think so, because it took her less than 24 hours to figure out how to curl up on the sofa, and to jump up on the bed for a little snooze after her morning walk and breakfast. This dog definitely knew the comforts of home.

She is an absolute delight to have around, and such a friendly dog to all. Honestly, this dog wakes up with her tail wagging. When we meet people and dogs on our walks, she tends to introduce herself briefly to the dog, before trotting off to meet its human, as if that's the true indication of the dog's character and worthiness. When she approaches people with her head on a tilt due to those crazy mismatched eyes, and her tail in a full wag, she is pretty irresistible. One friend calls her Little Miss Wigglebutt.

She charms people, children, cats, dogs and even gets on well with my two parrots. She waits patiently everyday for the Amazon to throw a peanut overboard. She grabs it and scurries off the other room and, through some delicate maneuvering, removes the small nuts from the shell. She's also happy to help him finish his carrot sticks and green beans. She's also beginning to match the birds in variety of vocalizations. She has a whole range of voices, the most frequent being her excitement croon which she uses before going for walks or rides. It is the source of her other nickname, The Foghorn.

We take lots of walks in my neighboring 500 acre park, which is full of trails through the woods, meadows, and a big pond for for cooling off. I live on a dead end circle that is home to nine other dogs, and she gets lots of opportunity to play with most of them. We also go on lots of other day adventures such as climbing mountains, long hikes and one day, a canoe ride. This trip was before I had seen any evidence of her ability to swim, so I slapped a life jacket around her, she climbed into the canoe when asked, and was the best behaved of the three dogs on board.

Last month, a friend and I took our dogs on vacation to Martha's Vineyard for several days. The days were full of long walks on beaches, trails and through downtown areas, followed by evenings zonked out in front of the fireplace. Cross met her first beach, and it was a hoot to watch her figure out this wave thing. For the first several minutes, she tried to investigate while avoiding the attack of these strange and threatening invaders. One picture below shows her examining the water (such a serious face!), all the while keeping herself in reverse gear. After a while, she went on the offensive and decided to bark as the waves came in. It worked! Every time she barked, the waves would retreat and go back out to sea! That gave her such a sense of power that she finally started advancing on the enemy and before long she was wet.

Mostly, we just want to let everyone know that we are having a blast together. People who know me well remark how well suited we are, and that we were meant to keep one another company. By the time I brought her home, she was a happy and healthy dog, thanks largely to the extraordinary efforts of her foster mom, Jane. And I know many others helped along the way (including Michael and Katrina, who arranged our first introduction while she was being step-fostered). I hear that she was one sick dog when she arrived in March, but she is thriving and full of life and energy now. During our exchange of paperwork on adoption day, I received her spay records, which included a note that she weighed 33 pounds on the day of her surgery. Today she is a healthy and trim 57 pounds, which is all solid muscle. I am still trying to imagine what she must have looked like without those extra 24 pounds. I can't, but others have told me what tough shape she was in. Thanks to all of you for your effort and faith on the part of this sad and sick little dog - it was certainly worth it. As the attached pictures show, she now enjoys every day and she has brought me much cheer and companionship.

Keep up the good work, and thanks from both of us!
Denise and Cross

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