by Jen L.
Many of us celebrate our dog’s birthday these days. If we adopted an adult dog and don’t know their actual birthday, we celebrate their Gotcha Day, the day we signed their adoption papers and brought them home. We buy them a special treat or let them pick out a new toy at the store. Sometimes we throw an actual party, bake a cake, and invite our friends and family. At our house, we are celebrating an even more important day this year: Lloyd’s Freedom Day.
Lloyd belongs to a special group of dogs. These dogs have been rescued from lives of abuse, neglect and exploitation; a previous life so appalling that we shake our heads and ask ‘How can someone treat another living creature that way?’ We will never know exactly what he went through the first year of his life, but in early April 2013 that life changed forever. While police were investigating a triple homicide in Oneida County, Idaho, they found over 60 pit bulls in what appeared to be a dog-fighting operation. Most were chained up and living out of barrels. They were underweight, malnourished, sick, and injured. The Idaho Humane Society took in the dogs and started the process of feeding, caring for, and evaluating them.
Our friends at BAD RAP helped IHS evaluate the dogs and decide which ones would benefit the most from going to a rescue group such as A Rotta Love Plus. ARLP rallied our troops and soon Lloyd (fka Dayton) and Crash (fka Tennessee) made their way to Minnesota and landed in two of our fabulous foster homes. The boys spent time learning about the world that was past the end of their chains, continued to put on more weight, and became healthy. I snatched up Lloyd for keeps soon after he was available for adoption, and Crash is still on the market.
Life off the chain is great. Lloyd thinks food is by far the coolest thing in the world; playing with his friends at doggie daycare is probably a close second. He has two canine brothers to play and snuggle with at home. He runs errands, goes to training class, and even comes to work with me on a regular basis.
We have our bumps in the road to work through. Lloyd was terrified of the kennel for several months. If I even looked like I was maybe, possibly going to ask him to go in it, he would run as far as he could from the kennel and pancake in the corner. Thanks to our favorite thing in the world, FOOD, he now goes flying into that thing so fast that I usually have to push it back into place once he is in it. We are working through some general anxiety when outside or in new places. The world is a big place and many things are still new for him, but we are learning not to worry so much. He is doing great settling in to new environments when we are indoors, but the looong cooold winter didn’t help us work outside very much, so we are now playing a little catch up on our training program outdoors. Hopefully by the time the snow flies next season, he will be able to take a walk in our neighborhood and not think twice about it. We will get there together and enjoy the ride. We have the sun on our backs, food in our bellies, a roof over our heads, and each other. Life is good.
Today, we celebrate the day his life would never be the same. The day that a warm place to sleep, regular meals, companionship, and love would become the norm. The day that none of the dogs would ever again be forced to fight for somebody’s entertainment.
This year is twice as special though – I get to celebrate Freedom Day with more than just Lloyd. A few weeks ago Crash needed a new place to, well, crash. I said he could bunk with us until we were able to find him a new foster. He has been a wonderful house guest. He is respectful of eight-year-old Monte with his bad hips and gentle when playing with 14-lb Jax. Crash is easy to take everywhere and is a great walking partner. He is a goofy, floppy clown of a dog and has brains to boot. He has loads of training under his belt, is crate trained and house trained, walks nicely on leash, is dog- and people social, and is very handsome. He will make a great buddy for someone; they just haven’t found each other yet (view Crash’s bio and adoption info here).
Even though we aren’t celebrating their actual birthdays, I thought it was best to keep with traditions and let the boys each make a wish on their Freedom Day.
Lloyd wishes that Crash will find a forever life as great as his.
Crash’s wish is for Lloyd’s wish to come true.
HAPPY FREEDOM DAY to our fellow Oneida bust peeps across the country. Yuk it up today kids, you’re living the good life!