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Dante's dream has finally come true -- and I couldn't be happier!

 

Click here to see Dante in his NEW DIGS!

 

Click here for Dante's one week update!

 

March 2nd, 2006

I received the following picture and accompanying story from Missy in West Virginia --

-- in short, Dante, at left, was left by his human "owner" chained outside to a log to fend for himself --

-- obviously, this wasn't working, and Dante almost didn't make it --

-- then Missy rescued him. More on his story is found here.


Along with Dante came the living remains of his tortured companion, Hope, who was forced to suffer the same fate as he. She is shown at the right.

When Missy asked me for help with these two, I didn't even think in responding -- there was no logic in my response, I just said, "I can help".


I first cried for Dante when I picked him up from transport --

-- his look -- his body -- there was no excuse for what happened, and I didn't try to lessen his pain by saying, "things aren't so bad" -- things were bad --

-- not so bad physically, from my side, but instead mentally --

-- the mental torture a dog this size had gone through to be so close to starvation was overwhelming -- and he was young, around a year old -- so he had seen an awful life in his short time. Look at his tucked tail -- :(

Now, fast forward three months --


-- and here is our boy, Dante -- and look at how far he came.

I fed him a raw diet for three months, and he loved it --

-- he got 2-3x the portions of the other dogs, and he filled out beautifully --

-- so beautifully, he blossomed in to a wonderful young pup, with plenty of energy, and always a kind wag to play with the other dogs.

Now all he needed was a perfect home.

 

* Insert miracle here *

A few weeks back, I received an adoption application from a young couple, Nicole and Frank --

-- they had a young girl, Olive, pictured at left with Frank, and they were looking to add to their household.

It could have been *just* another application, except they were looking at adults --

-- that was something. Their lifestyle was such that an adult made more sense to them, plus they wanted to help a needy adult pit bull.

Their female, Olive, at left, was described by Nicole as almost an anti-dog -- she was more a person than a pup, and would really benefit from a canine companion.

I immediately suggested Dante.

Then, for the next two weeks, Nicole and I went back and forth on emails, arranging a date for Dante's home visit, on Long Island -- a 400 mile drive for me.

What I liked about Nicole during these discussions was her positive attitude and her commitment to making the meeting work -- she didn't waiver, she didn't cancel -- she instead stayed patient with my schedule and waited...


So, after some off-camera walks down the street, and discreet passings, we deemed them worthy of some pictures, these two --

-- here they are, sizing each other up!


The next sequence of pictures to me are where it all happened --

-- this is where I realized these two powerful dogs could have a happy life with each other --

-- first, the stage is set -- Dante is at lower, and Olive is on the porch --


-- next, the confrontation -- notice the slight perpendicular stance of Olive, almost inviting Dante's challenge --

-- and look at the hackles on Dante's back -- he's at high-alert --


-- and here's the beauty of this boy --

-- he just keeps on walking -- he doesn't challenge Olive -- he actually doesn't care much about her -- !!


This behavior was the full of their interaction, and it was wonderful --

-- it basically told me that these two were accepting of each other as they were, and weren't in to alpha-challenges, or arguing --

-- might these challenges come? Absolutely. But for Dante, he made the home visit a "go" --


One thing Dante found hard to shed, though, was his red-neck past --

-- instead of choosing Nicole's bowl of water, he happily lapped up the rain-water on the porch --

-- who knows, though, that redneck past might have some logic behind it -- who's to say faucet water is better than rain water -- ??!!


Olive sort of says,

"Oh Lord -- do I have to take this boy through charm school, too -- ??!!"

Well, Olly, that isn't so bad -- he'll be a friend of yours through and through --


Little Olive is worthy of some special attention here --

-- Nicole and Frank rescued her from an urban kill-shelter last fall, when she somehow came along with all the Katrina dogs --

-- this is a HUGE reflection on Nicole's and Frank's generosity, since all shelters who took Katrina dogs found themselves overloaded with adults, many of whom were never adopted.

Little Olive is indeed thankful for her adoption, and you can see it in her demeanor -- she is a sweetheart and is very demure -- almost saying "thank you" with every breath --


Back to Dante --

-- Frank loved on him so --


-- as did Nicole --

-- saying every other word how pretty a boy he was, and how wonderful he was doing --


They did this all while keeping little Olive in the mix, making sure she was part of the interaction, and that she was sure she was still equally loved.

Next came another question --

-- how well would these two play?

Here, the confrontation -- again, note the head posturing --


Dante takes the plunge, and makes the first move --

-- this is a critical time here, since if little Olly sees Dante as dominating her, she could take this as all business, and things could quickly go down-hill --


Instead, he breaks in to a play-bow, and the good times are on --

-- he has taken a lower role to Olive, which can also be seen as a "who cares about dominance, I want to PLAY" stance -- !!


And play these two do --

-- zipping around the lawn, having a blast --

-- as we run for cover, Olive proves to her momma that she can indeed let her hair down --

-- and that she CAN outrun Dante -- !!


So with that, the sparring continues --

-- and Dante makes a clown of himself --

-- as does "lady" Olive -- !!

-- and before we know it, the pups are tired out, and done with their galavanting --

-- and most importantly, little Olive lets loose her first smile of the night -- !!


We then discuss the next test --

-- Dante entering Olive's home.

It's Olive's house, and if she's going to have a problem, it'll likely be here.

We start by letting her ahead of him, and tethering him --


-- and before you know it, Dante's asking what's for dinner -- !!

Dante and Olly buzz around the house --

-- while Nicole and I discuss putting high-value items, like bones and toys, away for a while --

-- these items are best enjoyed separately by each pup, in the privacy of their own crate -- !!


So, more buzzing is done...

-- and I can't help but be proud of this boy, being a perfect gentleman in this new surrounding, and never overstepping his boundaries --

-- that is, until now --


-- until now, that is, where Dante pushes the envelope of the sofa --

-- will he try and get on the sofa?

Will this be a challenge to Olive?

If so, how will she react?


Here begins the smooth-operator's moves --

-- and Olive isn't impressed with his attempts -- !!


-- Dante trys another angle, and at this point, Olive can only help but feel sorry for him --

-- so much for the "alpha challenge" -- !!


-- finally, he's up, and he's hamming up his success --

-- all while Olive can't be bothered by his freshman effort -- !!


Before you know it, Dante is off the sofa, and the tension is over.


As if today couldn't be exciting enough, a car pulls up to the house --

-- and it's Frank's side of the family --

-- they've come to meet their newest addition -- !!


Dante has little apprehension of these kind people --

-- and he is loved immediately.

-- it's now that more family members and friends are scheduled to come over --

-- all to see this boy. All to celebrate this new addition.

Time is moving on, too, and I must get going --

-- though I don't want to. I want to stay and see this boy experience every step of the life he has earlier missed.


Instead, I come back to reality, and I know that Nicole and Frank are exceptional, and that they will do the absolute best they can by Dante --

-- so outside we go for some family shots --

-- and I can't help but admire the perfect setting this boy has fallen in to.


So, some smiles are had --

-- and this family is complete.

Dante has been blessed more than anyone could ever have imagined --

-- and in turn, he will bless Olive, Nicole and Frank in with his every day presence.


Outside, it's every day America --

-- carefree and happy, with Dante and Olive getting walks around the neighborhood --


-- and inside, there's a little boy who is growing day by day and who is experiencing the life he always deserved, but never got.

Through many peoples' efforts and care, our boy has gone from this, a discarded angel, a forgotten southern pit bull mix, to this --

-- this love of his mother's and father's eye.

I cried when I first met Dante, and I cried after I left his placement --

-- homes like this are the reason so many people believe in rescue -- the reason they drive all night to place one dog -- the reason they donate money to feed one mouth.

And experiences like this help me balance my life -- they help me make the world better for today, in my own way, in a small portion.


These experiences also make me thankful to see that people like Nicole and Frank are out there -- giving, caring people, that instead of being filled with negativity and pessimism are to the contrary filled with hope and energy.

Today, Nicole wrote --

"Hi Eric -- Thank you for everything you did for us and sweet Dante. So far everything is going good - I took off of work to stay home with the pups on their first day together. I hope you had a safe trip home, I know you must be exhausted!"


"Please keep in touch and let us know if there is anything we can do for you or SPBR. We appreciate what you guys do for these dogs and would love to help in anyway possible.

Thanks again!
Nicole and Frank
"

 

THANK YOU, EVERYONE!

 

Life at one week -- !!

I received this from Nicole -- WONDERFUL --

"Dante is very vocal! He makes all these funny noises, he howls and lets out these little yips. So funny! Don't worry about him being comfortable, he thinks this house is his already! He sleeps in our room in his bed, but has tried more than once to "sneak" onto ours.

He thinks he's slick, like we won't notice him. First comes the big head, then his front paws, finally he puts one back leg up, and since he is so clumsy, thats as far as he gets!"


"He just holds himself there, like, "crap! did they see me? Maybe they won't notice." Little Ollie and him get along fine, he is such a clown and sometimes she gets sick of him, so she hides under a table or on the couch to escape him.

But she is so patient, and lets him be a pup eventhough she wants no part of it! Its like she understands or something."


"We took him to our vet for a check up and to get his heartworm meds. Of course they insisted on testing for mange, but it was negative like you said. So we are starting him on a hypo-allergenic diet of whitefish and potatoes. So we'll see how he does with this."

"I gave him a bath yesterday and he was so good! The vet gave me a medicated shampoo to try out. Olive just stood by watching and laughing. Afterwards he ran around the yard like a maniac with the towel in his mouth! He is still itchy, but the redness cleared up a bit.

So, Dapper Dante is doing well, besides a little stubborness here and there.
"

"Oh, yeah and we got him a bigger crate, which he is hardly in. Only to eat and when we aren't home. He really does know this is his home!"

Well now, this couldn't be a more welcomed update --

-- THANK YOU AGAIN, Nicole, Frank and Olive -- you represent everything I hope for in a forever home!

 

What a PRETTY BOY!

Nicole recently wrote that Dante got a gift in the mail -- a new collar!

She writes --

"He was so excited when we took out the collar, but he sat so still when my husband put it on him. We were cracking up, its like he knew that it was HIS.

I think he likes it!"


"It says "the don" on it, because that is our silly nickname for him."

"How handsome is my boy?

 

Dante striking a pose!"

All my pups, too, wear Blocky Dogs collars, which can be found here --

-- I have no affliliation with them, except that I trust their collars 100%, and that's a rarity in today's world of throw-away items -- !!

Dante's collar features a martingale-design, which tightens the collar as it is pulled (via the D-ring and the loop), disallowing the dog to "slip" its collar -- my Precious has the same design in her Blocky, seen below!



the queen has entered the room!

"My two babies with their Blockies...looking all crazy."

Look at Dante --

-- the dream of where he was, to where he could go, has been fulfilled --

-- Nicole and Frank have done wonders by this boy -- you can see in in his coat, in his eyes, and in his pride.

GREAT WORK, ALL!