Heather first entered the Planned Pethood Dog Adoption Program as an eight-week-old puppy, with the rest of her litter-mates, as part of the Litter Patrol program(in this program we respond to free kitten/puppy ads, offer to take the entire litter to place for adoption, then spay/neuter the pets remaining in the home to ensure no more unwanted litters). She was soon adopted as a puppy.
The following summer, the family that adopted Heather called to say they had to return her to PPI.. They said she wasn't house-broken, had chewed up their above-ground pool, and had to spend most of the time outside because she was so awful.
By this time, Heather was over 100 pounds of Bloodhound mix. The foster parents had the opportunity to speak to the former owner at that time to get the whole picture. From what they was able to piece together, and from the behaviors Heather showed, we realized the living conditions for Heather had been less than ideal.
Heather was left outside, alone, the majority of the time. Bored with nothing to do and no one to interact with, she did indeed chew stuff she shouldn't have and dig an occasional hole. Once in the foster home, it was obvious that Heather was now also scared to death of men. She wanted to have nothing to do with them and growled at the foster dad for almost three weeks. It's not unusual see this type of reaction in abused dogs, but Heather was above and beyond any we had ever seen. But true to her good nature Heather not only got over her fear of the foster dad, she was shortly thereafter in love with him.
Another thing we noted very quickly was that Heather was indeed housebroken but was having incontinence issues. The vet confirmed she did not have a urinary tract infection. The foster mom often would rub Heather's tummy and think, "Something isn't right with this picture. Something is off". Come to find out, Heather had an inverted vulva, that was corrected with surgery.
We discovered what a sweet clown Heather was. She would smile at you by flipping her nose up and her lips back. It's like a dog version of Mr. Ed. She throws her head around with glee, makes weird elk noises, and is the sweetest baby. Her nickname in the foster house became Baby Hey-Hey. Heather has always been the model dog and family member. Her pitiful Bloodhound eyes peeping up at you, followed by lots of energetic kisses is a heart-melter. How can you not adore a dog that is a small pony and wants you to hold her like a baby?
That fall, another family adopted Heather, but although they assured me they would follow my care instructions to the letter, it wasn't long before they had to return her. As it turned out, they didn't care for Heather as instructed they weren't even giving the girl her medicine! We had told them that to overcome her fear of the father in the home, for him to feed her. But they couldn't even do that. Despite our best efforts people tell fibs about how well they will care for the dog.
When the foster dad went to pick Heather up, she jumped into the van and looked at him like "I'm outta here , man!"
Heather stayed with the same foster family for another year. A family with another dog were interested in giving Heather her forever home. They were devoted to Heather and loved her dearly. However, their Schnauzer mix was not a fan of Heather. After a year of the two dogs taunting each other without incident, a minor error caused a big problem: an accidentally open door gave Heather her chance to get even to the Schnauzer, and she inflicted serious damage. Hence, Heather was given her walking papers.
The family cared enough about Heather that they contacted the same foster family, wanting Heather to only come back to us. The wife had even gone to www.plannedpethood.org to count how many dogs that foster family had listed under there name to make sure there was room for Heather again.
For the fourth time Heather was back with Planned Pethood, and she strolled right in and got herself a drink of water from the toilet. It was as if she'd never left.
A few months ago Heather and her foster mom, with the rest of the PPI crew, were at an adoption event at the Anderson's Maumee. The mother of Heather's litter-mate, Howie, was shopping there that same day. She saw Heather and saw the many similarities between the two dogs. Heather was eventually adopted by Howie's family. The mother later said that, as she went back to her car, she felt like she was walking away from Howie. They had always called Howie "How-How" as a nickname. So now they have How-How and Hey-Hey. That was 3 years ago.
If this home somehow doesn't work out for Heather, all of us are comforted to know that PPI will be there for her. PPI has been the harbor she can rest in. And really isn't that what Planned Pethood is all about? Doing whatever we can to help an animal in need, in our own community?
Each time Heather returned back to that foster home, her unsinkable spirit heartened them. They are honored to be there for her and be her only advocate.
We all play an active role in helping dogs like Heather. If you send us a check once a year, maybe you'll be the one who bought Heather some medication or a bag of food. If you volunteer with PPI, you're giving animals like Heather a second, third, or fourth chance. Your help is what makes these kinds of miracles happen every day through PPI.
Keep up the good work PPI volunteers and supporters.