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 Post subject: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:54 am 
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If you adopted your dog/cat/bunny/etc as an adult, do you ever wish they could tell you the story of ther life? This is a silly question, but it's been on my mind lately.

Maybe it's because my family's two dogs both came to us as puppies so I've never experieced this before. But now I've adopted my own little guy who's around four years old. I keep looking at him and wishing he could talk and tell me what his life was like before. How old is he really? Did he live in a house, apartment, big city, rural area, locked in a cage? Did he have one person, or a big family? Did he have a happy home before he was dumped at the pound, or was he abused or neglected? After less that three months, he's become such a huge part of my life, and it's fascinating to me that he was out there for the last four years living....somewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:41 pm 
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Yeah, I don't know. We know bits and pieces about each of our dogs/cats.

1) First cat's momma was a stray. We think she was either picked up as a stray kitten or her momma was picked up slightly before birth where she was taken in by the local shelter. We got her when she was in the 'last chance' room at the animal shelter.

2) Second cat had at least 2 litters of kittens, second litter was stillborn. Her family had a bunch of dogs, cats, etc and didn't seem to take care of any of them well. They gave her and 2 of her previous kittens up when they didn't want to deal with her medical bills and decided that they had too many pets.

3) First pup was picked up off the streets of Puerto Rico. Reading stories about dogs in Puerto Rico and the age she was picked up at, I think she was a 'summer pup' for some family. She loves kids like no other. I think when the family dumped her on the streets after their summer vacation was over. She was found at a gas station and she was probably living on the streets for a few weeks to a couple months.

4) Second pup has no history before being 2 years old. Looking at him, he came from a beagle breeder but has a small defect that probably made him unsatisfactory to selling for full price. The shelter took him in and neutered him at the age of 2. He went to 1 family where he slept in the owners bed but they gave him up within a couple months. The second family had 6 kids and kept him either in his crate or chained up outside. They gave him up within a couple weeks. We were his last chance family as the shelter doesn't adopt dogs out after 3 times.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:02 pm 
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My cat was given to the shelter because he picked on the other cats in the house. He's actually kind of sensitive about stuff, so I kind of think he was abused a bit too.

My roommate's cat who used to live here but left with the roommate's evil ex (we're talking satan), had been a stray, but he was so sweet and so friendly.. and he loved to sleep on empty pizza boxes. So we always wondered if he camped out behind a pizza shop and maybe the people who worked there fed him scraps?

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:07 pm 
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linanil wrote:
4) Second pup has no history before being 2 years old. Looking at him, he came from a beagle breeder but has a small defect that probably made him unsatisfactory to selling for full price. The shelter took him in and neutered him at the age of 2. He went to 1 family where he slept in the owners bed but they gave him up within a couple months. The second family had 6 kids and kept him either in his crate or chained up outside. They gave him up within a couple weeks. We were his last chance family as the shelter doesn't adopt dogs out after 3 times.


I always feel horrible for dogs that get jerked around like that. Oh hey, here's a home, get settled...just kidding! Did it take awhile for him to trust that you were his forever home?


All of my cats came from the outdoors as babies.

I got Chester from the pound, where the only info they could give me was that his former owner named him Killer and did a home neuter job (and since he has no tail I assume that was done at home as well). When we got home and I looked him up on Petfinder, it said he hated cats (which the lady didn't mention when I said we had cats). I found out quickly that he hates children and had also been kicked. Not to toot my own horn, but he's way better off with us. Sometimes he still yelps if he thinks you're going to kick him (like if you step over a cord or something), but at this point I can do anything to him and he'll let me because i'm his mom, so he wasn't too badly damaged from his previous life.

Well, besides that whole biting kids thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:11 pm 
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I wonder about that too. My Wilma was a stray with kittens when I found her. After we got her kittens all adopted, I kept Wilma. I could tell she had been a house cat before. She loved the sink and my sock drawer and sleeping on the bed. She didn't go and hide much at all. It made me wonder who had her and let her out. Murray was a stray too. I brought him to the vet the day after I brought him in and he had an infected bite wound on his one leg and his stomach was covered in scratches. He must have gotten into some bad fights. But he's such a gentle and friendly cat. Those first couple of weeks after I took him in all he wanted to do was sleep on my lap. I wish I knew where he came from and what happened to him.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:12 pm 
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We adopted Mare when she was a year old. She was picked up as a stray, but was completely house-trained and polite around things that she doesn't think are hers (she won't eat food off the ground, waits to be invited on the couch, won't go near trash cans, etc). She is one of the most people-friendly dogs ever.

We're always making up back stories for her. I wish I knew what her life was like (mostly I wonder what her name was and wish I could see what she looked like as a baby), but it's also fun to imagine the action-packed life she had before she met us.

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 Post subject: ode to Dulli
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:12 pm 
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I wonder about what life used to be like for my dog 24/7. A few months after we adopted him, I sent an email to the tiny shelter I adopted him from (which is basically just a woman and her teenage son living in a house with kennels that can hold about a dozen dogs, plus a ton of cats) to try to get any information at all, but I never heard back. All I found out via internet sleuthing is that he was plucked off the street by Chicago Animal Control, the woman who runs the shelter out of her house in northern Wisconsin came down and picked him up -- presumably because he's a purebred Boston Terrier -- and we brought him home about a week and a half after that.

He's very, very friendly and extremely rambunctious, as a Boston T should be, but he has a lot of weird quirks and strange fears that make me curious about where/how he lived before he lived with us. Someone had to have bred and raised him for 6-8 months after he was born; he already knew how to sit and stay by the time we met him, and he loves all people and animals on the planet. He had to have found his way out onto the street somehow. He wasn't very well off in the potty training department until fairly recently, when it finally clicked that he just had to let us know when he needed to go out via pawing us or running to the door rather than just peeing on the floor whenever he felt like it. Maybe that's why he was abandoned? Or because he has a really high energy level? Or because he chews on stuff he shouldn't?
Sometimes I get wrapped up contemplating how long he was out there on his own, if he was hurt, scared, lost, excited at first, or if he wanted his old people to come pick him back up. He was about 10 pounds underweight when we got him, so he had to have been hungry for a long time. I try not to think about it too much, because it's really overwhelming to realize how many other animals are still in the position he used to be in, and that the only reason he made it out is because he's a small purebred.

Mostly, though, whoever it was that brought my dog into the world, whoever it was that taught him how to sit, how to stay, and how to love on everyone -- I want them to know that he is my everything, and that their one-time abandonment of him has changed my life in a million fantastic ways every hour of every day for the last 14 months. I can't imagine someone not loving this dog with every cell of their being, or giving him up for any reason in the world. He's such a wonder. Their loss!

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 Post subject: Re: ode to Dulli
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:17 pm 
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stephanie wrote:
Mostly, though, whoever it was that brought my dog into the world, whoever it was that taught him how to sit, how to stay, and how to love on everyone -- I want them to know that he is my everything, and that their one-time abandonment of him has changed my life in a million fantastic ways every hour of every day for the last 14 months. I can't imagine someone not loving this dog with every cell of their being, or giving him up for any reason in the world. He's such a wonder. Their loss!

Image


I could have written this! If Mare went missing, I feel like I would wander the earth looking for her. But somebody couldn't even check the only animal shelter in town for her (she was there for two weeks before we adopted her)! Sometimes I wonder if she was the dog of an older person who died and somehow got out of the house in the confusion.

Your boy is ADORABLE.

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 Post subject: Re: ode to Dulli
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:31 pm 
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stephanie wrote:
Mostly, though, whoever it was that brought my dog into the world, whoever it was that taught him how to sit, how to stay, and how to love on everyone -- I want them to know that he is my everything, and that their one-time abandonment of him has changed my life in a million fantastic ways every hour of every day for the last 14 months. I can't imagine someone not loving this dog with every cell of their being, or giving him up for any reason in the world. He's such a wonder. Their loss!



That almost made me cry. I feel/felt that way about Chester and Bonny. I got Bonny because some bisque decided a dog with a bum eye wasn't worth $500 and she was so amazing and sweet (her mom and dad and sister are kind of crassholes). And even though Chester is old and grumpy and isn't the kind of dog that I can take around with me and he eats my wallet with his defective organs, he is my rock. My farting, snoring, rock.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:37 pm 
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Yeah, I wonder about this all the time! I know my dog was living outside, and from how disgusting and matted her fur was, I'd say she was out there for a while. But what about when she was a puppy? Did they have her in the house and then get sick of her? Or was she outside from day one? And if so, how could you lock an adorable little puppy outside? Was that even her first home? Did she come from a puppy mill or a backyard breeder? She was living with a male collie and I wonder if he was related to her (littermate?) or not. And she wasn't spayed, which makes me wonder if they intended to breed them. She was over a year when we got her, so maybe she even had puppies and there are Sable Jr.s running around somewhere. I'll never know.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:53 pm 
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I know Chester was picked up from a house that was raided for dog fighting along with several other dogs. As far as his foster dad knew, Chester was the only one that made it and the rest had to be euthanized. I don't really want to know what went on at that house, but I'd like to peer into his puppy mind and see what he's seen and what he was feeling and what he went through that made him so docile. He doesn't act like other dogs when he's socializing, he's got a permanent guard up, but he's still nice and plays. It took him forever to be the kind of dog who would snuggle, but now that he does he's attached and won't go to sleep unless part of his body is touching part of mine. I have a feeling I'm the first person he's ever trusted, so I feel good about that. At least he wasn't one of those dogs that was left behind by his family.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:54 pm 
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I think about this all the time, even though mine were adopted as kittens. Someone actually had adopted Banana from the shelter before us and brought him back because he was sick. I get angry just thinking about those mustards, but then I feel grateful because without their assery I would not have ended up with the sweetest, funniest kitty in the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:19 pm 
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I do wonder sometimes, my cats are both from the pound and were picked up as adult strays. Winston was only about a year old, but he has a huge kink in his tail and was super skittish for the first 3-4 months... it took him a couple of years to really warm up to me and he doesn't really pay much attention to anyone else. Snickers (she joined me about a year after Winston) was ~2ish years old, she took over the apartment immediately and acted very much like she'd been in a home before. She immediately liked me, most men, and tolerated most women... now she loves pretty much everyone.

Both of them were super underweight and gross and matted when they came home with me.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:26 pm 
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I do! We got Cooper when he was about 1 1/2 or 2 from an animal shelter. The shelter said he was stray but he just seemed way too socialized to have been on the streets for more than 11 minutes. I think he probably had a decent home and accidentally got out, but his former owners didn't care enough to look for him.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:28 pm 
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We got Gershwin from the downtown branch of the Toronto Humane Society when he was between 6 mos. and a year old. We always wonder just how he came to be in a cage at the big city shelter. Was he an inner city alley cat? Was he someone's pet that escape from a downtown condo? We will never know.

Tristan is less of a mystery - he came to us from a rescue foster home when he was 7 weeks. He was a stray baby. But I still wonder who is mother was, who is father was, what his kitty siblings look like and where they are now.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:30 pm 
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I wonder about this a lot too! I got Benjamin from the shelter where he had been for 3 1/2 months. He had a big wound on his tail that wouldn't heal and was only 9 pounds. They don't know where he was found or anything, someone left him on their doorstep, and he was covered in fleas and had the tail wound. They thought he was fully grown, but it appears he just has anxiety issues, because he is now quite a large tom, weighing in at 16 pounds, and his tail healed once he stopped biting it. Apparently he wasn't eating enough to grow and was chewing his own tail, poor thing. He is afraid of men and nervous around dogs, so I don't know what happened to him, but he is such a sweet baby (when he isn't trying to eat me), I can't imagine who could mistreat such a loving baby. Now that he knows I'm his momma, every time he sees me if I've been out he starts purring really loudly, and he does it when we cuddle too...it is just so cute!

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:55 pm 
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The one I wonder the most about is my mom's cat Lenny. The shelter said he was a surrendered pet and that his owners said they'd moved and he "wasn't adjusting to his new home." Which is bullshiitake. This cat is the most pleasant creature I've ever encountered. Pleasant may sound like code for boring, but it's completely not. He's just easy-going, friendly, playful, and altogether lovely. He "adapted" to his current home in 30 seconds flat and has "adapted" to and fallen in love with every person who has walked into my mom's house ever since. I just can't figure out what these people weren't seeing in him, but it's our gain because he's awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:23 pm 
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I wonder about Bonneville's life before she came to us. She was 10 months old when my husband and I adopted her from a shelter in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The shelter had very little information about the first ten months of her life. All they knew was that she spent most of her time tied up on an apartment patio and that she'd been brought to the shelter when her owner had been stationed somewhere else. We guess that she was probably abused in some way. She still cowers like you're going to hit her if you raise your voice or make really sudden moves near her. She's a great dog. I'm sad that spent most of the first year of her life treated like garbage but we've done everything we can to make up for it for the past 8 years.

We met Norton's former owner through the rescue he was listed with. He was a very nice guy who had fallen on hard times. He injured his back, got fired, lost his house, and found out his girlfriend was pregnant (all in a really short period of time). He loved Norton dearly but knew he couldn't provide the proper care for him anymore. Honestly, I felt terrible taking Norton from him. He bawled his eyes out.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:31 pm 
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Yay! I'm not the only one who thinks about these things! The one person (also a veg animal lover) I mentioned it to looked at me like I'd sprouted two heads.

The only information the shelter had about my Oliver is that he was an owner turn-in (no reason given) and that his name was "Fluffy." He's completely housetrained and hasn't chewed a single thing, so he must have been an indoor dog at some point. He hair was pretty matted when I got him. He can be skittish with strangers, but loves and trusts me completely and likes being carried around on his back like a baby. He's adorable and playful, and just a perfect little guy. I don't understand how could anyone get rid of him.

I would really like to meet that "owner" who dumped him at Animal Care & Control and beat the living crepe out of them. He was cowering in the corner when I first saw him, trembling, afraid of everyone, obviously confused and terrified, and I hate that person for doing that to him. But I would then have to thank them, because if they hadn't abandoned him I wouldn't have known the joy this little dog has brought me.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:34 pm 
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Mr. Bran was dumped in the middle of a road and left at around 2 months or 3 the vet guessed (but he was very small). He was very sick. I don't wonder too much because it had to have been quite unpleasant as he was basically left for dead.
He took to me pretty quickly but I suspect he would have welcomed anyone helping him.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:54 pm 
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mrsbadmouth wrote:
linanil wrote:
4) Second pup has no history before being 2 years old. Looking at him, he came from a beagle breeder but has a small defect that probably made him unsatisfactory to selling for full price. The shelter took him in and neutered him at the age of 2. He went to 1 family where he slept in the owners bed but they gave him up within a couple months. The second family had 6 kids and kept him either in his crate or chained up outside. They gave him up within a couple weeks. We were his last chance family as the shelter doesn't adopt dogs out after 3 times.


I always feel horrible for dogs that get jerked around like that. Oh hey, here's a home, get settled...just kidding! Did it take awhile for him to trust that you were his forever home?


Beagles, in general, are happy go lucky/forgiving dogs. The shelter was really cautious about giving him to us because he was not potty trained and wanted to make sure we'd give him the time he needed. He accepted his new home quickly and due to the beagle love of food, was able to be crate trained (which the shelter doubted). So basically, he settled right in although he did have some skiddishness about going to the bathroom in front of us initially but he got over that (he would hide in corners outside). He is totally our baby though.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:08 pm 
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Sort of. I don't have a dog, but I dogsit a good friend's pitbull, who was found wandering the streets dripping milk from the litter of puppies she'd just had. The rescue people strongly suspect she'd been in a puppy mill. Her tail isn't docked, but her ears were probably trimmed with a pocket knife and she had a number of scars and marks all over her body. And even after all that, all she wants to do is curl up on the sofa and watch movies with anyone who will pet her and be sweet to her. Her story left me very depressed and misanthropic. I'd probably die if she could tell me her story herself, and fill in all the blanks. Poor, sweet girl.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:23 pm 
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Hank was only about three months when we adopted him, so there's not a super lengthy history without us. We picked him up from a rescue organisation in Wagga Wagga, which is a large-ish rural town about three hours from here. Hank and his brother (Baxter, because he looks like Ron Burgundy's dog) were only a few weeks old when they were surrendered to the pound, which euthanises non-microchipped animals within a week of their arrival. Luckily, the organisation took them both home to foster until they could find proper homes.

They said that both were tiny and covered in fleas, so my guess is that someone let their unspayed dog run around the streets and get knocked up, and the owner couldn't be bothered trying to sell the pups or take care of them. It just confuses us that someone would want to get rid of Hank. He's adorable, and one of the nicest and smartest puppies I've come across. Definitely smarter than any of the expensive, purebred dogs my parents had. But even though it makes us so sad to imagine him scared and flea-riddled at the pound, he's got a good life here now. When I walk past Boyfriend's study and hear him talking to Hank and telling him how much he loves him, it makes me glad that those other lazy, irresponsible dog owners gave him up. It was for the best for him.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:03 pm 
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Yes. All the time. I also wish I had a picture of Cuddles as a wee pup.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you ever wonder what their life was like before?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:37 pm 
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The only one I had since she was a kitten is Bear, but I've always wondered about the rest of them. I also wonder what they looked like as kittens. Fry was a feral who someone shot. Jeremy and Didget came from feral colonies and Izzy I wonder about the most because I got her when she was 8 and her paperwork didn't really say anything. She's really shy and after 2 years, will finally not always run away when I try and pet her. She is still reluctant to let me pick her up, but she'll sleep next to me on the bed now sometimes.


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