Rosie #12

We (retired Anita and David) are approaching three months of Rosie integrated as part of our family. The match is proving a delight for us – and even Ginny the cat would have to admit it is going better than she would have predicted.
For any family considering adopting a Lab through Brookline, we’d urge you to trust the process. It certainly worked for us.

Autumn, our Brookline volunteer, made clear that she is primarily an advocate for the dog; but has a gift for really listening to and understanding the needs, wants and capabilities of the adoptive family.

Rosie had been a breeder dog for six years, craved close connection to a family, but had little experience of how to achieve that. David and Anita had been without a dog for over 15 years (so felt like dog novices), needed a dog that would get along with resident cat Ginny; David was seeking a companion for long walks who would also be content to hang out as he worked at his desk.

The Brookline foster blogs were a great resource for understanding the range of dogs moving through the rescue pipeline. But it was Autumn’s experience and instincts that suggested a potential match for Rosie. That experience and consistent affirmation and encouragement steered us through Brookline’s “pre-adoptive period” – the two-week trial placement of dog with family.
It is hard to remember now how much anxiety we were feeling the first week Rosie was with us. She went days showing little interest in her meals. Did her years of kennel life mean that walks always would be limited, plodding affairs? Could she feel confident that we’d only leave her alone in the crate for short periods? Could we feel confident that a slow introduction of Rosie and Ginny would lead to a comfortably integrated family (or would we forever be moving through gates between Rosie Zone and Ginny Zone)?
The pre-adoptive period was long enough for us to see substantial progress in all these areas and for us to become thoroughly smitten with Rosie.

Rosie is a gentle, affectionate dog who wants to be with David 24-7, but looks forward to greeting Anita when she (Rosie!) emerges from her crate each morning (and she rushes into her crate when signaled to do so).

She loves her long walks through the woods and fields surrounding our home and is making progress in learning short leash walking through public areas.

Ginny is learning to cope (a hiss and a swat when needed) with when she feels Rosie is becoming overly intrusive and Ginny is mastering how to move safely through spaces where Rosie is present; Rosie is accepting with regret and deference that Ginny is not eager to play, but is a regular part of her world at home. We may soon invite Rosie into some of Ginny’s “safe spaces.”

Drawing on our basic obedience training strategies, David is gradually increasing the number of public meetings and places where we can take Rosie. Her gentleness, placid disposition, and delight in receiving affection from those she meets – more than our skill at training — have been the keys to her successfully entering those spaces.

Rosie is the perfect dog for us. She brings laughter and joy into our lives daily.

Ollie #2

This is Emily Ryan, today is Olli’s Gotcha Day! I don’t remember if we sent in a success story so I am updating you guys now.

To start off it has been a wonderful year having Olli a part of the family! He has grown so much since joining the family. When we got him a big concern was his separation anxiety but trying some things out with him we realized that he didn’t really have the separation anxiety that we were told about. He certainly didn’t want us to leave and he gets into things from time to time if we haven’t secured everything, but that happened with our other dog, Milo. We can now leave the house for up to 4 hours (someone is always at the house so he isn’t alone for more than that) and come back to a dog happy to see us.

Olli still gets really excited when someone comes to the door so, we have to put him in the crate so he doesn’t charge the door. And speaking of the crate, we put him in it for training in the beginning and now he goes into the crate and can stay in there for a while without problems. Although he really only goes in the crate if he is wet or someone is coming over or we have someone coming to do some work.

Another thing about Olli, when he came to us we noticed if you stood over him while he was groggy or deeply asleep he would start growling. That was concerning at first but we realized that he just didn’t like being disturbed when in those states. He never does anything, just growls and comes to you like he is sorry he is growling. So, we have learned to either wake him up with loud noises or come down to his level and he is ok. And now he only does a little growling like that from time to time.

Also, when Olli came to us he was crazy about food and a little territorial when it came to someone getting close to him when he was eating. But since we found the right food, we found that his overall mood has changed and he doesn’t act so crazy around food. He now waits without constantly drooling when we give him food and he doesn’t growl when we are near him while he eating.

One of the greatest things that we had to get used to again when Olli came, was having a dog with a lot of energy. So, we have taken him out a lot to the dog park and on lots of hikes. This year alone he has gotten 1 or 2 hikes a week and going to the dog park, besides the usual morning walk he gets around the neighborhood. And around 7 months I took Olli on a hike and tried letting him run free. I was a little apprehensive but even though Olli took off running he came back after two calls and if he got far ahead and couldn’t see me he would come back. When we run into people he always stops and is a little unsure but will come after the two calls. So, now when we go on hikes we always let him run free and we also know the trails that are less hiked.

Oh and we have this one set of trails that go around a huge lake and Olli loves going in a little bit for a swim. He is always so excited to go on these hikes now and whether we hike for 1-3 hours, Olli comes home exhausted, and then the next day he is still so tired. We say it’s his recovery day because runs so much on the hikes.

One thing we think that helped Olli with his transition into our home was our other dog, Milo. Olli fit right in with him and they became buddies right away. After a while, Dad would joke and say “Milo must think Olli is his child”. This was because he would bark for us to come if Olli was outside and wanted to come in, if Olli was distressed because he couldn’t get at his ball, and if Olli heard something outside. Milo being an old dog and having bad back legs, we feel having Olli kept him going.

Sadly, though we lost Milo on New Year’s Day. He was a valiant dog all the way to the end—strong, brave, happy. When we lost Milo we weren’t sure what Olli would do. He didn’t seem all that upset that Milo was gone but he did go right to Milo’s bed to sleep on. We thought Olli might be upset that first night but he slept like a log. And when we left him alone for the first time since Milo was gone, we were surprised to come home to a dog that was just waking up from a long nap. He didn’t go crazy! Well, he didn’t do anything to the house.

When we first had Olli he would always get after my dad in the morning when he would wake up (my dad gets up around 6 or 6:30 every morning). Olli would need to go outside and then come in and want food right away and then would follow dad around the kitchen and bring him toys to play with. Now Olli is so comfortable that when my dad wakes up he will look at him and stay in bed until he hears the door open to go outside or food being made in the kitchen. Especially if he went on a hike the day before. And because of this, sometimes he even eats breakfast late. My dad says his mornings are more relaxed now. But he loves taking Olli out on his morning walk.

We, love having Olli a part of the family even if he is a bit stubborn and won’t listen to us all the time when we tell him to go away hahaha. It is so nice having another companion again to go on hikes with! We can’t wait to take him on bigger hikes up north on a vacation or to the beach! But we are waiting for him to be even more comfortable being left alone in a new place because we don’t want him destroying an AirBnB we would rent.

We are so happy that we found Brookline and chose Olli! He has overcome a lot in this first year with us and now can’t see a life without him!


It has been our great pleasure to be Jedd’s Forever Family since Halloween

Jedd was rescued from a breeder farm in Ohio when he was a year old. When Jedd’s new owner couldn’t afford the expensive surgery to correct his cleft palate, she surrendered him to Brookline Labrador Retriever Rescue, which secured a surgical fix for Jedd.

By the time we became Jedd’s forever family, he had healed and his palate was perfect (it’s kind of cute because sometimes it looks like he has a bit of an underbite). Because he didn’t get all of the nourishment he needed as a puppy, Jedd’s a little undersized for a Lab. That’s okay with us—we call him “fun-sized.”

Jedd has quickly become one of the pack. Within a week or so, he learned how to get along with our three cats. Now he and Joey the cat celebrate meal time by dancing around and playfully swatting at one another. It almost looks like they’re high-fiving one another. Jedd also loves hanging out with my dad while he feeds the horses that live in our barn. Sure, Jedd has a few quirks like munching on dry leaves like they’re potato chips and eating deer poop, but I guess we all have our idiosyncrasies.

The fact that we have found yet another rescue dog who’s such an awesome family pet says to me that it isn’t luck—rescue dogs are just really great dogs whose previous living situations were not the right fit for one reason or another.
I expect all of our dogs will be rescue dogs. We feel really great about having given perfectly good dogs in need of a new home a second (or third or fourth) chance. As they say, adopting one dog will not change the world, but it does change the world for that one dog.

Thanks again for connecting us with such a terrific dog!
Joanne McHugh