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Tilly - A Petfinder Happy Tail

Tilly - posted 09/09/2009

From Lauren of Swan Point, MD

My husband and I had been married for a little over a year when we decided that an addition to our family was in order. Along with getting me, my hubby had acquired a "son", in the form of an 8 year old Jack Russell Terrier. Bugsy was my dog, through and through, and had come with me from my parents home. He had long been the ruler of the pack...a small herd of Jacks.

While it was obvious that he preferred to stay with me and come to our new home, he was mopey and seemed lonely. He played with his toys and we gave him tons of attention, but we felt that he was lacking the companionship that only another pooch can provide.

My husband has long been a fan of German Shepherds, though we knew that the breed would be far too large to be a friend for Bugsy and would take over our home. We both agreed that the route of rescue would be best, giving a forever home to someone in need, rather than supporting the breeding industry.

Looking through the listings of Petfinder.com, we were both shocked at the volume of pets available in our area. We knew that a younger dog would be best for Bugsy. Our vet suggested that, given his age, more problems could come from mixing two established dogs. A female was also best.

One of the listings was new that very day and showed a small pup, female, with Shepherd coloring...black with some tan points and "pips" over her eyes. She was estimated to get no larger than 40 lbs...larger than Bugsy, but still a suitable size for our home. We exchanged information with the foster mom and received feedback immediately...she was still available.

Filling out the application was one of the most intimidating experiences of our lives. We had to prove that we were capable of caring for this little life. Linda, the pup's foster mom, was wonderful throughout the experience and invited us down the following weekend to meet the litter and see if our pup was the right fit.

The litter, complete with mother, had come from a "kill" shelter in southern Virginia. Originally eight puppies, two had died at the site and another in transit to southern Maryland, having been rescued by two ladies involved in a larger rescue network. The five remaining puppies were a mixed lot. Most were browns and grays.

Upon our arrival, our pup stuck out as a diamond in the rough. Other families had gathered to meet the rest of the litter and all were drawn to our girl. She was the only one with a longer, silky coat...dull black with light tan points. All were friendly, but she was particularly social. The mother was loving the attention and had no issue with the activity around her pups. We were thrilled to meet her and gauge her personality.

My husband picked up our puppy and never put her down. For a small donation, we had found ourselves a daughter. We wrapped her in a baby blanket for the trip home and were pleased to see her comfortably with us as she slept within the first 10 miles.

Bugsy was unsure of the new addition, but remained curious. She was small, but held her own and quickly became his puppy. My husband, a firefighter, decided to name her "Tilly", short for "Tiller", a reference to a fire truck. Though a mix, we also decided that we needed a "breed" for her. She looked like a miniature German Shepherd, with longer, girly hair. We settled on the name " Praline Shepherd"...a "designer breed", limited release, one litter.

Even as a puppy, Tilly's "mothering" ways were apparent. On the second day in our home, I called my mother in tears as she cleaned Bugsy's ears for him...something my first dog had done for him from his puppy-hood and something that he had obviously missed since her passing the year before of old age.

Tilly was ill for the first few months with us, suffering from a bacteria that likely came from birth. With the help of our top notch vets, she has since been the picture of health.

She is the happiest dog we have ever known and is truly a kind soul. We cannot say enough about Linda and Petfinder.com. We did not know how incomplete our lives were without Tilly.

When we are ready to open our home to another pet, this site will be the first place we turn. We recommend Petfinder.com to anyone and everyone we encounter looking for someone to love.

Thank you Petfinder!

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