I don't know what decision process I used when I decided that we should have a new animal in our house. After all, we have a plethora of fish and a Pitbull-German Shepherd mix that take up a large portion of our tiny Cape Cod. But Carly (the German PitHerd) was so sad after Darla passed, I just felt bad. She moped. She quit playing. She hated going outside alone. And so I looked. And looked. And looked for the right dog. As I looked I came to realize why I couldn't find the right dog. None of them were Darla. And man, I missed Darla. She was such a great dog. I loved how her tail was always wagging, up until the very end. I loved how she loved everyone. I loved her love grunts, her playful spirit, her gentle ways with the girls. She was the best dog ever, and I finally realized I'd never find a replacement for that.
So, I finally caved when I came across a hound rescue. She had long ears and sad eyes, much like Darla, but the semblance stopped there. This new dog was timid, submissive, clearly had been abused and/or neglected and was big and skinny. I liked her ok, but frankly, wasn't sold when I met her. We came home and talked about it, and Sadie wasn't sold either. But for some reason, we ended up going back the next day to get her.
Since coming home we discovered that the new dog, which we named Lucy after a Beatles song (the stars were shining when we met her), is in fact an American Foxhound. Apparently a full breed. Which means she'll be big, she isn't a house dog and she's hard to train. In fact, here's the description I found on a breed site.
This breed can be difficult to housebreak. Be aware, the American Foxhound will take off after an interesting scent if they get a chance. They like to bay and have a melodious bark, so much so, in fact, that its tones have been used in popular songs. Foxhounds don't always make good house pets, due to their history as outdoor pack kennel hounds. If you are looking for a pet, whom you are not going to take hunting, try show lines rather than field types.
Just what I needed during this time of financial stress, emotional upheaval and change. A stupid dog that doesn't listen and destroys my home. She's about to push me over the edge. So much so that I ended up calling the SPCA to see if I could surrender her or get some help with doggie rehab. They gave me great literature and guidance, and dropped the bomb - they think she is a feral dog. Her submissive behavior, fear of men, lack of social skills with humans and overall bad behavior are all signs of a dog that has not been raised by humans. Coupled with her breed's lack of "home manners" it's the perfect storm for a bad dog outcome. Awesome.
So I have a feral hound that is going to be twice the size of what I had thought I was getting. She's younger than we thought (5 months or so), which is good - because she may be trainable, but bad because we aren't even CLOSE to the conclusion of the chewing stage. Today, for example, it was one of my favorite childhood stuffed animals the girls left out, one slipper, a hat and a glove. Oh, and another gigantic hole in her doggie bed. She rivals John Grogan's infamous Marley.
I'm giving this animal two weeks, using the SPCA guidelines and assistance for training. She's being crated whenever she's in the house and not under my direct attention. She's being walked on a leash about eight times a day. I'm running her with Carly 2-3 times a day. We're going through a million treats as we work on the simple commands, "come," "sit" and "go to your crate." She's taking hours of my day that I didn't have to begin with.
But, I did discover she gives love grunts (gives an ooooumph when you hug her and leans into you). And she's extremely gentle and loves children. She loves to cuddle. Much like my dear departed Darla. It's the only reason she's getting another chance.