Last July I decided to get a dog. I’ve always wanted a Poodle because they are extremely intelligent and easy to train, but I didn’t want to go through the puppy phase and the potty training, etc. So, I decided to rescue an older dog. I started searching the internet for local Poodle rescues and found what sounded like the perfect match – a male Miniature Poodle, nine years old and housebroken. The ad said that the previous owner had developed Alzheimer’s and wasn’t able to care for the dog any more.
So I made arrangements to see the dog the next time the shelter had an adoption clinic at the Tractor Supply in Greenfield. That’s about an hour’s drive for me. When I arrived, I held Andre for a while to get acquainted and ask questions and he bonded with me very quickly. When I set him down, he started trying to jump back in my arms. I decided to take him and after filling out the paperwork, we were on our way home.
He laid in the passenger seat all the way home. I stopped at a Petco to get dishes and food and Andre walked on the leash well. At home he waited for me to enter the house first, a true gentleman. Now, adopting a shelter/rescue dog is a gamble. You might get a well-mannered dog or a total terror. I was extremely lucky with Andre, he was obviously treated well and had received training. He stayed by my side the entire weekend. When I went to work on Monday, I confined him to one bedroom because I didn’t know if he could hold “it” all day. I put out puppy pee pads and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, he didn’t hold it and didn’t use the pad either.
The next day, I tried the laundry room and put up a gate. He chewed a hole in the gate and managed to climb his way out. This is the way each day went for the first week. I made an appointment to take him to the Vet on Friday to be checked out. The doctor said he was in good condition for his age and other than a knee that slipped out of joint periodically (which didn’t hurt him), he was fine. I asked about crate training – was he too old to start and would he be able to hold his bladder 11 hours? The vet assured me even older dogs could be crate trained and he would eventually learn to hold it. So off to the pet store we went to pick up a crate. After assembling the crate I put it on the floor and said to Andre, “Kennel up”, that’s training talk for “get the in the crate.” He immediately walked into the crate – yippee – he had already been crate trained. It took a few days for him to learn to hold “it” all day and even now he has an accident periodically. But I put puppy pee pads down under the crate and it is fine.