Thursday, February 11, 2010


The people at the animal shelter said he used to belong to an old man. After the gentleman passed away the daughter tried to keep him but he continually escaped and ran around town until animal control caught him and took him in. They think he was looking for the old guy. Eventually the daughter stopped picking him up from the shelter. Or that's the story they told me anyway.

I was volunteering at the shelter, taking pictures of the dogs and listing them on I saw his picture online; he was at a shelter in a nearby town. I had always wanted a Golden Retriever. They had him listed as a Golden Retriever mix. Something about his photo just spoke to me, haunted me, I can't really explain it. So the next day I called and asked if he was still there, then we all drove to see him. As soon as they brought him out to the lobby he flipped onto his back and exposed his belly for us to rub, sealing the deal in two seconds flat. I considered that a sign of intelligence.

He wasn't what I expected. The photo online was only a head shot. I didn't realize that his head was the only thing that resembled a Golden Retriever. In fact his body looks exactly like the Border Collie he is crossed with. The difference is so obvious he looks like a doctored-up photo somebody played with in Photoshop.

Once home, we started to realize what kind of life he had lived before. He was the polar opposite of our spoiled Beagle. He didn't understand what a dog bed was or that it was okay for him to lay on it. He didn't want to go inside the house. He was an outdoor dog and wanted to stay that way. He can be stubborn as an ox. We compromised and allowed him to stay in the attached garage. On one of the few occasions he actually was inside he quietly stole a muffin off the kitchen counter while everyone was in the room and nobody saw him do it. He's very sneaky. If you made a sudden move when trying to pet him he would drop and assume the fetal position. He was obviously mistreated at some point. His list of issues stretches on for a mile.

Over the past four years we've worked on some of them, but he's always going to be an odd bird. That's okay though, because even though he has a host of quirks, he's proven himself to be the best farm dog ever. Loyal to a fault. Would do just about anything for a belly rub. And most recently has become Willa's boy toy. Every morning when I head out to do chores he tags along and joins Willa in the barnyard. She has a crush on him like a school girl. I swear he goes at it like he knows he's her babysitter. They romp and play and carry on. Then eventually he wears out and I let him resume his position guarding the porch. She's in love, he's just doing his job. He's deep, complex, mysterious and such a good old boy.



I need orange said...

Wilbur, my beagleX, was stray for the first year of his life, as far as we know.

When we first got him, he had no expectation that he would be let in the house. Any time he went out, he'd go curl up under a bush....

We could tell bad things had happened to him -- when we got out the hose, to spray water for the corgis who loved to bite the water, Wilbur would get as far away from that nasty thing as he could get.

When we picked up a chair, he would run.

We only found out when he was xrayed to check on a health issue that he had been shot and still carries the metal.........

He's a great dog. Goofy, funny, companionable.

I surely wish more people would look to shelters for their dogs. There are so many wonderful dogs waiting for homes.

Julie said...

Came across your story from visiting another blog. I had to read it when I saw the head shot. You see, I love doggies. And I worked in rescue for over 3 years and I partnered with the shelter and animal care center here. And I so identified with your story of Bandit. Very similar to my Kobe's. He learned to live inside and now loves being in just about as much as being out. Thanks for adopting. It's a good thing. And that doggie will be forever grateful, ya know.
Here's a post I wrote about that experience if you are interested. Thanks for the loving story with a happy ending.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Isn't it funny how they find their spots with us and fill in gaps on the farm :-).

Jody said...

He is a BEAUTIFUL dog and his eyes are ALL Golden - he reminds me of my Harley who is supposed to be pure bred, but sports a blue tongue and several other CHOW 'traits'!!! I also love that roll on the back manuever - Harley does it when he's in trouble and wants me to believe that it matters and that he can be submissive! I've enjoyed following you!

TheBrother said...

You may want to see this then. It's based on a true story out of Japan.

Hachiko: A Dog's Story

Dianna said...

Loved your post today. And isn't it amazing how his head and body look like the two different breeds he is? Glad that you were there to take him home with you!

Julie-Ann said...

Loved your post. Both my Gracie and Lucy Lou are somewhat "rescue" dogs. I know Lucy Lou's former owner. She was so shy and withdrawn when I got her 5 years ago and not in the best shape. Many vet visits that first few months. She is still a shy girl, but gentle and loving. Very protective. She is a goofy mixture of Shepard and Bassett hound. She is now completely deaf, but that hasn't stopped her from enjoying life. And for living in Florida the first 5 years of her life, she LOVES the snow (glad one "person" in this house does).

Gracie is my little 10 pound Paris Hilton of the dog world. High maintenance, adorable and she knows it and knows how to work a room with her charm. She is a true "character."

I love them both dearly and they have enriched my life more than I can say.

My dogs will always be rescue dogs. Who needs a purebreed? They all need and give love.

the writer said...

I was hesitant to read your post at first. . .I thought it would be sad. Glad I stopped to read it.

Twelve years ago I adopted a 4 year old Westie (Bogart) and he was my best buddy for 11 years. He put up with everything that I put him through. . from working 3 jobs to moving from a condo to a house, to helping me pick my husband.

He died in 2009 due to complications of diabetes (had been insulin dependent for the last 5 years of his life) and I thought my life was over.

My husband wanted to get another dog right away but I was not at all ready. (Truth be told, I'm still not ready.)

We went to an adoption day. . .just to look. . .and brought home a scared, timid little dog named Eve (for New Years' Eve -- the day the rescue group got her out of the humane society shelter). She was picked up as a stray so no one really has any information on her.

On the way home we started calling out names, she seemed to respond to Casey so that is what she is called now.

She's afraid of men, although she has warmed up to my husband, and, we believe, based on the way she reacts to things she has been mistreated at some point in her life --- we think she is 8.

She is also my shadow (not just because she is black). . .she will follow me from one room to another to another.

Guess she figures I need a four legged friend whether I think I do or not!

Rescue dogs are the best kind. . .even if they have their quirks.

Thank you for a wonderful story!

Ken and Mary at FancyFibers Farm said...

I was very touched by Bandit's story. He sounds like quite the fellow. I commend you for saving his life and giving him a loving home. My DW and I have taken in many strays and rescues over the years and Bandit remimds me of my beloved girl Blue. She had spent the first year of her life alone and outside until she became sick and the woman who had her and ignored her wouldn't treat her, so I grabbed her and took care of her and she's been with us many years now. She is very touchy and has behaviour issues, bonding really only with me, but I love her deeply. Again, good on you. Ken and Mary at FancyFibers Farms

Lori Skoog said...

Bandit is lucky to have you, as are all your animals. Your pictures of all of them are great!

Jayne said...

What a great story. And I love the re-do on your site!

Imaginary_girl said...

I love the changes you've made to your blog! Fresh and lively, like your writing. And your photo of Bandit is awesome.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

What a beautiful face Bandit has !
We had a dog Lucy...a stray, she used to roll on her back as soon as she thought she was going to be touched, and scream !
I mean scream, as if we were beating her, which someone obviously had. She wasn't comfortab;e living in the house, prefered her outside home, although it had a heater, lamp, and even piped in stereo. She lived untilshe was thirteen, never quite comfortable withbeing the center of affection, nevertheless a loyal companion, who knew she was always loved 'till the end.
I love your Bandit story ...

~Kim~ said...

I came to your blog via "A Brit in TN" and have really enjoyed my visit!

I love Bandit's story--It's so like that of my own dogs--We have Goldens...I'll look forward to following you, and getting to know you a bit better! Happy Valentine's Day!!

Carolien said...

What a lovely post, thanks for sharing!

Greetings, Carolien