Over the past 12 years, Cara Fusinato, Squaw Valley, CA, has adopted five dogs after seeing them on Petfinder. Several of these were her assistance dogs when she suffered from seizures. The last of these, Shay, retired after Cara had a vagal nerve stimulator implanted and the seizures were brought under control. Shay continues to be her constant companion and, she says, he undoubtedly still considers he is working. “He keeps an eye on me always.”
Many of her dogs had been Australian Shepherds, so when she decided to adopt another, she opted for a Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) she saw on Petfinder. The dog had been roaming the streets of Bakersfield, CA, when she was picked up by an animal control agency that already had about 700 dogs and was told they had to move. Animal welfare groups in the region offered to help. One of these was Pet Matchmaker Rescue, which took in the Sheltie.
Melody, as she is now called, fit into the Fusinatos’ household immediately. “She lives in great harmony with our three cats,” Cara says, “and she immediately took responsibility of herding Shay to meals, potty and play. Shay thought it was charming, and so did we.”
She “knows how to work the cute, including doing the heart-melting ‘hamster paws.’ but don’t let that fool you; she is one clever girl in a small package.” Knowing how clever the dog was, Cara began testing her with simple commands, but got nowhere.
Then on an outing, she learned why. A family nearby was speaking Spanish, and “Melody ran up to them with tail wagging and sat down, which they thought was absolutely adorable,” Cara says. “Now I knew. We went home, and I pulled out my rusty high school Spanish. Before I could finish saying, “Sientate” (sit), she had her behind planted.”
So the dog started her training in English (as a second language). She breezed through several classes and is now registered with the AKC Purebred Alternative Listing (for purebred dogs without papers) as Lady Melody Rose, CGC (Canine Good Citizen).
“I shouldn’t be surprised,” Cara says, “because each of my four other dogs found through Petfinder have been just as wonderful in their own way.”