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A Most Joyful Post

I wanted to wait until a month had passed before sharing our good news (which some of you already know) but we have a new addition to our family!

IMG_0385Meet JASPER!

He’s a Standard Poodle, a rescue, his background is sketchy but what we know is that he was with a breeder who may not have been as kind to him as they should have. He’s 3 years old, and when we first met him before Christmas he was calm but a little uneasy, he had kind eyes, but he wasn’t connecting in a joyful way with Gerry or myself.

IMG_0288I saw him on a rescue website, and on a fluke his foster mom happened to be in our neighborhood the day before we left for Southern CA and brought him by. We had to make our decision kind of quickly, I think I was more definite than Gerry was (although he wasn’t against the adoption, just not as certain as I was)

Jasper’s foster mom told us that he had been a bit nervous, had a few peeing accidents when he was scared or startled, and of course that was a concern. He even had a little ‘doggie-depends’ contraption to wear when I picked him up from the foster home on 1/4/13.

IMG_0346But what really sold me on Jasper were his eyes. He had incredibly kind and empathetic eyes. I feel that you can tell a lot from an animal if you listen with your heart (that sentence was a little maudlin, I apologize) and Jasper – who was called Chase by his foster family – seemed like a dog in search of someone to trust.

The kids reacted differently; Hannah was pretty upset that she learned about the possible adoption when I facebooked about it (totally understandable) and Max was neutral about the possibility.

IMG_0400During our 2 weeks away we discussed the dog a lot, and one thing that made the kids feel more engaged with the process was renaming him. Hannah hated the name Chase for some reason, we all have likes and dislikes that are hard to explain. Max suggested Jasper, and we all liked it. I felt it was close enough to Chase that it wouldn’t be too confusing, and as far as we knew he’d only been “Chase” for a few months.

I picked up Jasper alone, so it would be a calm situation. When I got home we realized that Jasper was scared of tall men and growled at Max when he first met him. It took about a week, but slowly Jasper and Max befriended each other (Max became “Mr. Walk” and “Mr. Food”, and that helped Jasper trust him).

IMG_0001 Hannah didn’t immediately bond with Jasper, I think she still felt a bit alienated from him because the process happened outside of her time at home, but slowly she, too, has come around and is loving Jasper.

The cats weren’t thrilled after having the run of the house for a few months, but it only took Ginger a little over a week to climb into bed and sleep next to Jasper. Nitro is longer coming around, but she’s definitely not afraid of him, and he’s not bothering her, so the path ahead looks clear.

IMG_2040Jasper is trusting us so much now, loving us, really becoming one of the family. One of the great joys of this dog is actually SEEING how his love for his new family is growing; it’s both touching and delightful. We are VERY lucky!

My friend London came over and Jasper fell head-over-heels in love with her! He wouldn’t get off her lap, just loving her, acting like a tiny poodle instead of a huge Standard. He also loves my friend Kathleen, he acts so excited and happy when she comes over. Loving our friends is a huge mark in Jasper’s favor!

We took Jasper to the vet and she gave him a clean bill of health. He was only fixed over New Year’s holiday, so he has a LOT more muscle mass than our last poodle, who was fixed as a pup.

He’s an unusual silvery-grey color with brown marks, really quite beautiful. His eyes are so soulful, he speaks volumes when he looks at us. We’ve trained him to do some small, silly tricks and also some helpful stuff like HEEL and STAY. He’s GREAT on walks, and never pulls when walking over ice (which is very important for both Gerry and I).

Obviously he loves this corner of the sofa...

Obviously he loves this corner of the sofa…

We took him for a family trip to our local dog run at Battle Creek Park and he was SO HAPPY! That really was a momentous event for all of us, it sealed the deal – emotionally – for both kids, and was the most joyful we’d seen our previously sad pup. We all felt very lucky to be part of that day, when Jasper let loose and showed how much he loves us.

So welcome to Jasper, our new love.

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19 thoughts on “A Most Joyful Post

  1. Mercedes

    His eyes ARE amazing. As a rescue-dog owner, I agree that you can tell a lot from a dog’s eyes. It sounds like Jasper is making great progress settling into his new safe space.

  2. NancyB

    Congratulations on the newest member of the family! It’s funny who they become attracted to and who they don’t . What do they “see”?

    Our dog Wally (chi/rat terrier) is still warming up to me after 6 months but I have faith!

  3. Helen Maciejewski

    Hooray! Hooray! People who adopt rescue dogs get a special place in heaven! Lucky people and lucky dog!!

  4. Debra

    Our Sparky is also a rescue. I wanted to name him Lexie because he was found on the subway ( get that Annie?). These dogs are grateful. Sparky had a couple of accidents which upset me more than hubby and son. You are trained owners and Jasper is so lucky to have you.
    He really does have gorgeous eyes! Maybe a tall man was cruel to him and so he reacted to Max with fear? Sparky is afraid of rolled up newspapers. They do remember. It seems he came along at exactly the right time for your family.

  5. Leslie

    I’d wondered how things were coming with the new dog and am so glad to see everything’s working out well. Adopting a rescue or a stray is always a blessing. May you all have happy years together and may Jasper never need those doggie depends!

  6. Karen

    Jasper really does beautiful sad eyes. With all the love he’s receiving those sad eyes will be joyful eyes soon. All of our dogs have come from rescues, and they have all been fantastic pets.

  7. Robin

    Mazel tov on the new addition. Isn’t amazing how dogs find the right owners? We got our moyen poodle (bigger than a miniature but smaller than a standard) from a family who gave him up when he was 8 months old. He was kept in a crate most of the time. I,who never ever had a dog, brought him into our house and welcomed him verbally. I sat on the couch, he jumped on my lap and we sat there for a long time. I think he knew he was “home”. I can’t imagine our lives without him. All that stuff they say about how dogs only bring joy to our lives is so true.

    Poodles rule! (and they are so smart!)

  8. Elizabeth

    Welcome, Jasper!

    Poodles are incredibly intelligent. My friend has one that is trained as her service dog- my friend is diabetic and Elsie (the dog) senses, by smell, when her blood sugar is going wonky, and alerts her by nudging her or pawing her. It’s amazing to watch.

    What kind eyes! Jasper, I sense a lot of treats in your future!!!!

  9. Gillian

    Jasper looks great! But do you & Gerry have cleats? Mine live on my dog walking boots for weeks at a time.

  10. Paula F

    Welcome Jaspar! What a great face! I’m so glad to hear that he is settling in well. It is such a joy to see a dog or cat adjust to a new home over that first year.

  11. susanc

    Jasper has gorgeous eyes! He is beautiful and it is so wonderful that you “found” each other! How great to see how love is making him calm and loving and really settling in! Congratulations! I love Standard Poodles ~ they are very smart!

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