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Abby on her arrival at her new home

This is the story of Abby, a toy poodle mix dog that has had a very difficult life for her first two years. She bas been living in very poor conditions that constitutes an all too common form of animal abuse. She was kept in a wire cage in a dark building without windows, experienced no human contact other that the owner who only provided her enough to keep her alive as breeding stock. Yes it was a puppy mill and was located in Abbotsford. Fortunately for her along with several other dogs housed there for the same reason an alert and caring neighbor upon walking near this property was suspicious of the activity there and called the authorities. The Abbotsford branch of the SPCA paid a visit to the location and confirmed that it was indeed a puppy mill and the animals were being housed and cared for (if you could call it that) in a state of affairs that constituted animal cruelty. They proceeded to confiscate all of the dogs and begin the process of holding the.operator accountable. She was then taken to the Abbotsford SPCA Animal Shelter along with the nine other dogs and treated, vaccinated, spayed and lovingly cared for by the excellent staff at the shelter. This was probably her first experince with human contact and certainly her first co tact with human beings that really cared. She was then given the name Honey, prepared for adoption and placed in kennel #10 while waited for some to adopt and take her to her forever home.

This is where Debbie and I entered the story. After losing Coco, our 20 year old Lynx point Siamese last week, I knew I couldn’t get another cat, not for a while. Coco was too special to me and I still grieve his loss, but I also have peace about it knowing he lived a long, fulfilled and mostly heathy life for a cat, but felt that another cat would be too difficult. We had been talking about getting a dog again but are restricted to two small pets (we have another cat named Mango)

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Mango lounging in his cat tree.in our strata so until now it was out of the question.

Saturday, August 5

We explored several options including obtaining a purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as it was the right size and tempermant, but were also willing to entertain the idea of a rescue dog. As result we began a search starting with local and non-local shelters and dog rescue agencies. We certainly had no expectations of finding an appropriate dog quickly and fully expected a search to take weeks or even months. We started with LAPS shelter in Aldergrove whic we found to be an excellent facility with many caring staff and volunteers. They have an amazing facility for both dogs and cats and it was obvious that the animal’s care and adoptability were their primary concerns and that their wbole focus was born of a love for all animals. As expected we did not find a dog there to meet more requirements. We were looking for a dog 7 kg or lighter to take on bike rides in a suitable carrier, good with cats, not yappy or noisy and a relatively calm disposition.

After this I decided that since we were in Aldergrove, the Abbotsford SPCA would be the next logical place to go and then it was on my mind to return home to try others another day. First we checked their site online to see what types and how many adoptable dogs they may have available. Abby (they named her Honey), an apricot/white poodle mix caught my attention among several other small dogs they had available. They had so many small dogs as they had just shutdown a puppy mill, the same one Abby (Honey) was confiscated from. At first Debbie wasn’t too excited about Abby from the description and photo, but since they had several to look at we decided to go anyway. The Abbotsford shelter is older but was clean and well run and just as with LAPS the staff and volunteers there obviously love animals and the work they do. Upon entering the shelter we initially saw a few dogs that at first glance seemed to meet our criteria but it was obvious that many if not all of the puppy mill breeding dogs had experienced only the poor side of human contact and many shied away or responded poorly. We then arrived at kennel #10 where this beautiful little apricot/white colored poodle cross named honey gingerly walked toward us and made direct eye contact with us. She proved to be attentive if a bit shy and understandably and quiet through our entire visit with her. We asked to take her out of the kennel to walk her in the dog walking area at the back of the kennels within view of other dogs. A volunteer doing some cleaning moved a large plastic garbage can and the noise startled the dogs which had them all barking madly, except Honey. She did pretty good on a leash for a dog who had spent most of her life in a small dark wire cage with the only socialization coming from the 2 weeks or so at the shelter. We then took her back to the office after both agreeing and stated to the staff that this was the dog for us. Unfortunately it was nearly closing time and we would not be able to take her home that day since our adoption application needed to be filled out and approved first and there wouldn’t be time to do that and process the adoption. We were okay with this and agreed to return on Sunday upon approval of our adoption by the shelter.

We returned to Langley and stopped at Petsmart to purchase a dog bed, dog dishes and doggie waste bags then went home for dinner. After more discussion we were more convinced than ever that this was the.dog for us so we began preparations for bringing her home on Sunday. The plan was to stop at Leroy McNutt’s Dog Emporium in Fort Langley to purchase a few items we would need, first and foremost a suitable pet carrier to bring her home in.

Sunday, August 5

The day began with some housecleaning and more preparation for the arrival of Abby (our name for her) along with some sprinkling, cleaning of the canary cage, litter box etc. We then headed to Fort Langley to stop at Leroy McNutt’ Dog Emporium to purchase a few needed items before heading out to Abbotsford. As luck would have it they were having a 25% off sale on everything we needed. From there we headed to the Abbotsford shelter to pick up Abby. It took a little while to process the adoption papers, pay the fees and review what is included with the adoption. We then headed to kennel #10 to get Abby and take to her forever home. We put on the new collar and leash I picked out and thanked the staff and headed toward the car. We took some time near the car on the grass in front of the shelter to help he become familiar with us and the car and took a few photos.

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Abby when we picked her up at the Abbotsford SPCA.

We then hopped in the car to head home. She took to riding in the car and her carrier extremely well, trembling a bit at first always seeming eager to respond to our touch and assurances. We then spent some time in the back yard next to the patio still leashed were she seemed more relaxed while adjusting to her new surroundings.

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Abby in the back yard on her first day home.

Once she had a chance to explore within the limit of the leash she had a brief and cautios intoduction with the next door neighbor and their Chihuahua, Shelby. Cheryl asked about the dog knowing she was new to us and we told Abby story. It turns out that Shelby was a rescue dog too with many challenges but like us, she is willing to work through them and give her dog everything necessary to give her dog a better life.

We had made an appointment with our vet for 3 PM today so we packed her up to take her in for her examination. Dr. Garg our veterinarian, was pleased to see us again and was also pleased with our choice. Abby handled it really well and came through with flying colors so we set up and appointment for her next shots for Saturday, August 11.

After arriving home we introduced Abby to her bed and food/water dishes out next to the patio and let explore on her own. It wasn’t long before she was drinking and checking out her bed. We couldn’t be happier that she has adjusted so well so soon. We know there is still a long way to go as she is not house trained yet in spite of being two years old, but we himageave been through this before and are undaunted by the task. We are patient with our pets and as we stated on our adoption application, we are prepared to do whatever is needed to give Abby the love and care she needs. We are looking forward to the next dozen or so years sharing our home and our love with both Abby and Mango.

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