I’ve often mentioned my dogs in my YouTube videos and in my Twitter feed, but I don’t think that I’ve gone into much detail about them.
We have two dogs, Alicia and Tuukka. Alicia is defiantly a Black Lab, but I severely doubt that Tuukka is a Lab. I am guessing that he is more of a Pointer or Coon Hound.
Both of the dogs were rescued and transported to New England and Rhode Island through two separate rescue organizations. Let me give you a little information on my pups.
We adopted Alicia in January of 2012 from a rescue organization here in Rhode Island call “Little Paws for You”. The family decided to adopt Alicia after meeting her and her sister. At the time, we were not sure which of the puppies we were going to adopt until Alicia came right to all the members of my family and at that point, I knew that we were going to be adopting her.
Little Paws 4 You does an incredible job fostering puppies that are up for adoption, and there was no exception for Alicia. You could tell that she was well cared for and in a wonderful foster home when we met her. Little Paws 4 You required that we have a home inspection to make sure that our home was “puppy safe” and that all the information that we provided them was correct.
I stayed home from work on the day of the inspection, while my wife was at work and my girls were in school.
The inspection was on January 17, 2012 which is also Alicia’s “Come Home” day. Little Paws for You provided us with all of Alicia’s paperwork and brought her in so that she could “inspect” the house. The woman that had fostered Alicia warned me that she was a little skittish toward men and that she may not come to me right away. This concerned me a little, I did not want to have a dog that was scared of me. So I sat on the floor in the middle of the living room and let Alicia decide what she wanted to do. She sniffed the kitchen for a moment and then came over to me, climbed on my lap and fell asleep. The woman was shocked on how quickly she came to me and said that she was sure that Alicia had found her Forever Home.
Since that day, she had been my shadow. Anywhere I go, no doubt, she is only a step or two behind me. She was easily trained and only had one or two accidents in the first week that we had her. She is a very intelligent dog and has learned both voice and hand commands. One of her favorite activities, other than eating, was to lay on the couch next to me as I would watch the New England Patriots games, she would just rest her head on my lap and love me scratching behind her ears.
Alicia has been such a wonderful addition to our family and although she can be mischievous at times and likes to get into the trash every now and then (she loves paper towels), I wouldn’t trade her for anything.
Because we had such a wonderful experience adopting Alicia through Little Paws For You, my wife wanted to rescue another puppy so that Alicia would have a playmate in the house. So after a little convincing and prodding from my wife and girls, I gave in and we started to process to adopt another puppy. I had only one requirement, it had to be MALE!!! I was already outnumbered 4 to 1 by females in this house, so I had to even the odds a little.
We contacted Little Paws 4 You, but they informed us that they were only fostering small dogs and would not be able to assist us in adopting another Labrador Retriever. My wife searched and we found an organization called “Save a Lab”. We contacted them and gave them the information of the type of puppy that we were looking for. They contacted us back and told us that there was a “Yellow Lab” puppy available for adoption. His name was Dan and he was being fostered in Tiverton, RI.
Tuukka’s adoption was a total 180° from adopting Alicia. We made an appointment to go down to meet “Dan” on Sunday, August 12, 2013. We drove down to Tiverton with Alicia to make sure that the two dogs would get along. Alicia had been Queen poohba in our house for a year and a half and we were not sure if she would accept another dog in her domain.
We should have known that there were going to be problems the moment we drove up to the foster house. Tiverton, RI is a suburban community outside of Fall River, MA. The neighborhood in which the foster house was typical suburban, ranch houses, nice lawns, etc. When we pulled up to the foster home, it had peeling paint, shutters hanging off the house, no grass, just dirt, junked cars and a half of a boat in the front yard. The type of house that you do not want in your neighborhood because it would lower your property value.
We went and rang the doorbell and a woman groggily came to the door, almost to the point that it seemed like she was not expecting us to be there. She went back in to the sound of many dogs barking. She came back out with “Dan” and placed him down on the front porch of the house.
This was the second point in which we should have known that there was a problem. When he was placed down in front of us, he didn’t act like a puppy, he didn’t play or jump around, he just ran and hid behind the woman’s legs under the lawn chair that she was sitting on.
Well, needless to say, my wife and daughters fell in love with him at first site. Alicia tried to play with him, but he did not want anything to do with her. Unlike Little Paws 4 You, there was no home inspection, no reference check, just pay the money and take the dog home right there… Which we did.
When we took him home, we immediately changed his name from Dan to Tuukka (after Tuukka Rask, the goalie for the Boston Bruins). It was then when we started to really notice the problems with Tuukka.
The first problem that was that Tuukka had fleas. I mean INFESTED! He had spread them to Alicia and throughout the house within two days. Tuukka
also had infections in BOTH ears and Giardia virus which is contracted by drinking infected stagnant water. He was also diagnosed with 3 different types of worms and an umbilical hernia which needed surgery.
I was at the point of returning him back to Save a Lab and getting our money back. We then learned that he had been returned by three other families. At this point there was no way that my wife was going to let this happen to him again. We contacted Save a Lab, they agreed to pay for all of Tuukka’s medical expenses if we kept him.
Once Tuukka had healed, we started to noticed some other problems. He would curl up and uncontrollably shake in a corner whenever anyone came into the house that he didn’t know. He was starting to have numerous “accidents” in the house. After these problems, he would have seizures and convulsions. Again, Tuukka was back at the Vet only to find out that he had Epilepsy. This meant that he would be on medicine for the rest of his life.
After researching Tuukka’s symptoms online, he is the product of a Puppy Mill. Also being with a large group of dogs. This could be why I heard so many dogs barking when the woman went back in the house.
We have learned how to deal with Tuukka’s social anxiety when we have company. Luckily, he is not aggressive. He would not be in this house if he was. I will not tolerate an aggressive animal under any circumstances.
Even with all of the problems that I have mentioned, Tuukka can be a lovable dog with the family.
So, there are my pups. They have become intricate parts of our family and we love them dearly. They can be a handful, but at this point, we would not trade them for anything.