It was 2005 and I was volunteering at the Sacramento SPCA as a dog walker. Actually I had just received permission to start walking dogs solo and the day came when I was able to choose which dogs I wanted to walk. I was a bit nervous, but also excited at the same time. This was around September and a few months previously I had lost my first dog, Sugar, and two days before my solo walk I had to put down our other dog, Little Bit. Not a great time in our house. Being around the shelter dogs helped, but the silence in our home was deafening.
Anyway, I began my volunteer shift with several great dogs, some that had clearly never been trained to walk on a lease and others that wanted to run more than walk. I spent 5 hours that day walking off my grief and came to my final walk of the day: Woody. He was the most gentle dog I had met that day, completely trained (pre-programmed as I tell people) and I couldn’t believe that anyone would want to give this guy up. He obeyed every command, walked right beside me, was completely handsome to look at and sported one brown eye and one blue eye. We spent a good hour together and when the time came to kennel him, I watched him go into his space and curl up on his pillow.
I went straight from there to call Mike and let him know that I found our next dog. The SPCA requires that all members of a household including other pets come to meet prospective dogs, so Mike left work to meet Woody. Two hours later, Woody was home curled up on our couch and he’s been there ever since.
I came to find out why he had been surrendered. He had a bit of a problem being left alone. Up until Ellie came to live with us (about 5 months), Woody was with me 24/7. Thankfully he was incredibly well trained and I could take him to work with me or leave him in the car. He’s improved greatly over the past seven years, has endured the trials of a puppy in our house, loves to give kisses, play ball for hours, go on long walks, spend an afternoon chewing on a good bone, puts up with Ellie’s antics, does the best “woowoo” sound when he’s happy, howls a doggie opera when he hears the sound of an ice-cream truck and loves to curl up under the covers at the end of the bed on my side on winter nights.