Kota and me

Loving a rescue dog

An Important Message

It is not my intention to suggest with Kota's story that rescue dogs are more difficult, have more problems, or are less trainable than others. There are many exceptional dogs out there at shelters.  I think Kota was and is one of them.  Most of the problems he had when i got him were not his fault but those of his former owners. His big problem was no one had ever tried to teach him anything.  He didn't have a clue what good behavior was.  What he did have was an intense desire to please me.  I have had to work *very* hard with him, but there are a few reasons for that, and they have *nothing* to do with him being a rescue dog.  I  wanted a very intense and athletic dog.  I am a serious runner, hiker, backpacker, etc.  I wanted a dog who could trail run 12 miles with me in the morning and still want to play in the afternoon.  His intensity is a perfect match for me.  He has joined into all my outdoor pursuits with joy.  However, that intensity and high level of energy makes it harder for him to focus sometimes.  There are many lower energy dogs at shelters that are calm and do not require the kind of input Kota has.  In addition to his intensity, he has hunting instinct and a fairly strong prey drive.  This makes it much harder in a household with three cats.  Again, there are many dogs out there who do not have this trait if it is not a trait you want. ( Kota, however, might have made someone an excellent bird dog, so it depends what you are looking for).  He has a high energy level and intensity, but he has no behavior "problems".   He is not anxious, aggressive, or fearful.  He rarely barks, and does not dig or chew as long as he has appropriate chew toys.  He adjusts well to changes in environment, schedule, etc.  He is sociable, loving and eager to please.  These are all excellent qualties.  There are many wonderful shelter dogs out there who will fit you, whether you are a couch potato or a high-intensity athlete.  Petfinder.com has a link on it to an excellent pamphlet( that you can read on line) on how to pick the right rescue dog for you.  Your best friend is out there. I already found mine.

Why I love Kota

"He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea. He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.) When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant. His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me... whenever... wherever - in case I need him. And I expect I will - as I always have. He is just my dog." - Gene Hill

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." - Unknown

These quotes testify to the enduring power of the bond between humans and dogs.  For me, they describe the indescribable:  the deep understanding and relationship that has formed between myself and a member of another species. Kota is my dog, with all that can mean.  My companion, my friend, my faithful defender, my furry shoulder to cry on, he  is all those things and more.  It is a love like no other i know, at once simpler and far more complex than loving another person.  I am his alpha, his leader--he depends on me for guidance, for food, for comfort, for leadership.  I also depend on him, for things less tangible.

I was looking for the perfect dog, and found a dog no one else wanted.  I have given  him a home and a family, but i think he has given me much more.

I hope this site will encourage everyone out there to do two things. One, THINK before you get a dog.  It is a BIG responsibility, and it is not fair to a social animal like a dog to rip them out of their "pack" because they are no longer cute or fun or convenient.  Two, please, please visit your local shelter or rescue if you do decide to get a dog.  Your best friend may be out there somewhere.