We often took in animals, usually dogs, who were suffering in the city.
There was overweight, depressed Buster, a Springer Spaniel, languishing in a garage during the day and crated during the night. Opposite in temperament, a German Short-Haired Pointer with A.D.H.D, called Thor, committed his last crime by grabbing the Easter ham and playing with it like a football. Neurotic Duke sat crated in a small apartment till his owner returned. Unfortunately this young man trained Duke to play rough games as soon as he was released. Some dogs are bored and act out if they don’t get enough exercise. Usually a combination of freedom and love heals most animals.
My husband rescued a manic- depressive Siberian Husky from a basement apartment in the middle of the city. When Michael walked through the door, this husky was literally running around the living room, on the backs of the chairs and Chesterfield leaping from one to the next without ever touching the ground. His owners pleaded with my husband to take him off their hands and out to the country. We soon discovered that this strong working dog with peircing, light blue eyes, loved to run for up to 20 kilometres yet thought he was a lap dog.
Four year-old Mary named our male Siberian Husky Leisha because he arrived on her birthday. Our family animal lover was positive our new dog was her birthday present. Who were we to argue? She was thrilled with this gentle but muscular pet who patiently let her ride him like a horse and use him as a pillow. Why he even let our cat snuggle up while they both slept.
However, Leisha was not content to lay around the house like more domesticated breeds. His breed ran, pulling heavy sleds in the artic amd we do not like chain up a dog on a farm. Of course, every time we finally thought we had trained our husky to stay home, he would sneak past us and race for kilometres. Invariably, someone called the animal control officer and the township would charge us $50.00. Soon everyone for kilometres around us knew our dog. Once he managed to squeeze in through a patio door, push open a bathroom door and frighten some poor woman as she came out of the shower!!!
Leisha was never predictable. When Daniel’s hamster managed to escape his cage, Leisha chased him up the Christmas tree and then pulled our decorated tree down on top of beautifully wrapper gifts in a cunning move to nab the tiny creature. By the time I ran downstairs, several little kids were standing on couches screaming,
“Leisha’s trying to eat Hammy!”
The oldest two were trying to hit the preditor with a broom, scolding loudly while Leisha joyfully barked, jumping up and down on the gifts and sticking his nose between the branches of our ruined tree. He might sleep with our cat but obviously rodents did not rate as fellow pets.
Our dog was not content to simply eat dog food; he loved to steal vegetables from the garden.The kids would run into the house,
“Leisha is eating our zucchini again!” or “Leisha is nibbling corn off the cobs!!”
His worst sin, though, was an inborn instinct to nab our free range Muscovy ducks. Hearing screams for help, I would run outside thinking one of my kids was hurt, only to see that once again, Leisha was trotting around, gently but firmly holding a huge duck in his mouth while the kids tried to swat him with anything handy like a tennis racket, baseball bat, hockey stick or fishing net to scoop up the duck. I swear that Leisha grinned the entire time.
Were we crazy to keep theses canine misfits? Definitely. Perhaps only a family with nine kids, farm animals and wild animal pests could cope.