Here’s my Velcro Dog. Meet “Baby!”
After losing our dog to cancer in late March 2022, we had casually begun searching for a new doggie companion in November 2022. Of course there is no replacing, only adding to our family.
How We DISCOVERED Her
My sister had been sending me photos of adoptable dogs, from which I noticed a lab rescue with some adorable labradors that needed rescue. Given the fact our past gal was a lab / shepherd mix, I was naturally drawn to a lab. This rescue had a call out for fostering (as SO many rescues are asking for now that people have dumped their COVID dogs).
We had recently fostered a dog for the weekend through another rescue, but my husband and son said they would rather just adopt.
I reached out to All About Labs, the lab rescue out of Los Angeles, and Betsy got back to me. I asked if they had any senior dogs. She said, “Which one?” There were a few. She sent me two photos of senior pups needing a home. One was a yellow lab wearing pearls! And the other was a chocolate lab with a hat on running around in the dirt with some serious sagginess. One could tell she had mothered many litters of puppies.
HER RESCUE STORY
In fact, I found out that she was currently with a backyard breeder (a non-reputable breeder) who had used her to pump out chocolate lab puppies to sell.
This “breeder” was done with 6 year old Baby and asked All About Labs if they would take her.
Betsy told us she had rescued a few other dogs from this backyard breeder and that they were all always gentle, sweet and calm. That sounded like a good match to us due to our current life circumstances. Nervous but ready, we committed!
Baby’s Gotcha Day
On a weekend afternoon, we met Betsy who had Baby in the car with her. Baby had just landed at Betsy’s a few hours before and was naturally feeling a bit unsure of things. WOW was she scared, yet gentle, calm and sweet. She just hid behind Betsy’s driver seat for awhile. We gave her time and lots of pets and sweet words of encouragement.
When I saw her face, I got teary as she reminded me of our Willow. Eventually, we gently got her out and transferred her to our car. Betsy then gave us the meds from the vet visit Baby just had. She had a clean bill of health, except for a double ear infection. This was due to neglect – also noted was the sun bleaching on her back plus freckles on her dark nose. We’re sure she spent her days pumping out puppies in the dirt and concrete.
So, we drove her home….
MEET THE CAT
Now it was time for the real test: to meet the cat. (Dun, dun, DUNNN!!!)
Within hours of getting home, I needed to feed Baby. Stuart, our Maine Coon mix we rescued years ago, naively wandered over to where I was mixing Baby’s food and before I could chase him away, Baby chased Stu. With a stern “No!” from me, Baby learned her lesson. No chasing cats!
To this day, they co-exist fine not caring about the other. Stuart likes to test the limits apparently, and will come up to Baby’s legs for a good sniff. He also lays all over her dog bed and in her crate. Baby doesn’t care.
Don’t you just want to boop that nose?!
WHO IS HER BEST FRIEND?
Regarding whom she has bonded with…as you know, our well laid out plans don’t always end up the way we’d expected. Baby became my shadow from day one. I was hoping she would bond with my hubby, since I already have Stuart who is a real momma’s boy. Now that it’s been a few months, Baby and my hubby are becoming closer, but Baby is still very attached to me.
I taught my hubby the 3/3/3 rule. When rescuing a pet, you need to give:
– 3 days for them to calm down a bit in a new environment
– 3 weeks to ease up and start showing who they really are
– 3 months to really know what a new pet is like in personality and behavior
Baby slowly bonded with my son, who was home for the holidays, before she bonded with my hubby. I think my husband’s feelings were a bit hurt (oops). I always have my hubby feed her and walk her when possible as these activities definitely help her bond with him.
PHOTOS OF OUR NEW DOG
Naturally, being a pet photographer, I was dying to get some photos of our new dog with my nice camera. I happened to have both my camera and Baby with me on Thanksgiving, so I got just a few portraits of her there in the yard.
Since she is my velcro dog, this was the hardest photo session I have ever done to date, after over a decade of photographing pets in Southern California. It’s hard to photograph a doggie that won’t leave your side, therefore this was very much a “mini session.” (By the way, pets listen to their pet photographers a lot better than their parents!)
Here are a few portraits of Baby at my parents’ home in Orange County, CA.
You can see how sweet she is, right?!
It is evident that this gal had never known a soft bed, a couch, a home interior or even much attention from people. She is underexposed to everything and knows no commands or how to walk on a leash.
Baby’s Favorite Things
We are slowly working with her each day to gain more trust and enjoy being absolutely spoiled as she so well deserves. This is a couch potato girl. I think she deserves to live her life on the soft couch, don’t you?!
Her favorite thing, besides me, is her stuffie – a squeaky duck – that she carries around the house.
She loves car rides and belly rubs!
EDUCATION ON BACKYARD BREEDERS
Lastly, in discussing her and her background with those we know and meet, I have discovered that a lot of people don’t know about backyard breeders and that there are even breed-specific rescue groups, such as Baby’s rescue group, All About Labs. There’s many other breed specific rescue groups, such as the Southern CA Golden Retriever Rescue, which I had been helping transport doggies in need. There is also a Southern California Cavalier Rescue. Please know there’s just about any breed rescue you can think of somewhere within the US.
So, if you are also ready to adopt, please check with your local shelter, which is overflowing. If you’re looking for a breed, do look around for breed specific rescue groups. You can google them or look on Facebook as many of them have Facebook pages.
If you are looking to purchase a dog, please, please be aware there are SO many scammers and horrible breeders out there that neglect the animals and treat them like machines. Take it from my friend Shannon at Golden Valley Doodles, who is a reputable breeder.
This is what a REPUTABLE breeder is like:
– Shows you many photos of her with the dogs in her home
– Will not ship pets
– Asks that you come to her
I promise to update and take more professional photos of our new dog soon!
FOLLOW BABY’S STORY
You can follow along on Instagram:
@GreyboyPetPrints for all the Baby and Stuart antics plus more professional photos of other adorable pets
@WithBetsy All About Labs – the rescue Baby came from
@GoldenValleyDoodles – an example of a reputable breeder
Thank you so much to those of you who also have fostered and adopted from a rescue or shelter. Our pets and helpers in those arenas are exhausted and burned out. Let’s encourage them and give them all the love! To all the spoiling! Cheers.
I think adopting senior animals is a special act of love!
I love seniors the best and believe they deserve the most spoiling!
So happy for you all Mandi! Baby is adorable and so wonderful she now has the life she deserves so much.
Thank you! We are spoiling her plenty. She’s now almost always on the couch!