Thursday, July 2, 2009

Notes from the Past

Let me start out by playing the blog game that Anna from Pooches for Peace tagged us to play in. We were supposed to find the 6th picture in the 6th folder in our computer's pictures section and tell the story behind it.

I had to use my Photobucket. I tried using my PC's picture folder, but the picture had nothing to do with dogs so I decided against it. It was of my friends and me at a park last summer.

Here's what I came up with. It is a picture of a little lady Doberman who was out on a joyride at the park in May when I went to volunteer at the agility trial. She ran the most ridiculous zoomies I have ever seen. Since the entrants had to begin warming up their dogs, I offered to walk around and look for her owner. Sure enough, I stumbled upon a house on a neighboring street with the door open, and opted to ring the bell. It was her owner - who said this was not the first time the dog's gotten out, and that it was her kids' fault for leaving the door open.


Thanks for letting us play! I know we're supposed to tag people, but if you haven't played and feel like you want to, consider yourselves tagged. You have to find the 6th picture in the 6th folder of wherever, and tell the story behind it.

Anyway, now back to my Marge.

Sue from the Portuguese Water Blog asked how much I knew about Marge's previous life before I got her.

Marge is originally from Ellijay, Georgia. After speaking with one of her original rescuers, Linda, from the now-closed Noah's bArk Pet Rescue, just after we brought her home, I found out some things about her.

Her and her mother and littermates (there were 7 pups in total) were brought to the Cherokee Country Animal Shelter when the pups were just days old. The rescue, Noah's bArk, pulled the lot of them from there. One puppy and the mother found homes in Georgia. Apparently, they had "Beginner Obedience" training, but I'm not sure how extensive that was.

Their bio (which I have, it came in my adoption folder) states that they were born on June 28, 2007. They were raised, supposedly, around people and other animals; however, if I remember correctly, Linda openly admitted to my father over the phone that the puppies were not well-socialized with men. If I'm not mistaken, Linda told me directly that her husband was gravely ill at the time the pups were with her, so I am wondering if extra measures were taken to keep them away from him - hence making men scary, because the pups could only see him, but weren't allowed to interact.

Another rescue, Homeward Bound, took the six remaining pups into their care when Linda herself became very ill. I have been trying to contact them for a while, but my e-mails have gone unanswered - they either don't remember the pups, don't check their e-mail, or don't want to be bothered.

I did get to speak with someone from the rescue, a member nice enough to answer the questions that I posted to their Facebook group. Though she didn't remember the litter of pups explicitly, she did tell me the following:

"Often, the President of our group transports many dogs (sometimes 60+) from Georgia to a rescue agency in the northern States. We do this because Georgia has a serious pet over-population problem. Most Animal Control facilities are high kill shelters, and even the best behaved dogs have trouble finding homes. Even adopting out puppies can be difficult. In the north, the population problem isn't as severe, and the dogs have a much better chance.

We get the dogs from different places. Sometimes we send up our own dogs if they are having trouble getting adopted, or we take dogs from other groups. Usually though, the dogs are pulled from different Animal Control facilities before they are euthanized. That's usually the case with litters of puppies. Your dog was probably in a high kill shelter and had limited days.

The dogs are transported on a bus lined with dog crates. It's usually about a 14 hour journey.

Since we transport so many dogs, its hard to keep track of them specifically. I'm sorry I can't tell you more, but I hope I provided some of the information you were looking for."

She wound up at the shelter I used to volunteer at (it, too, closed, but the rescue itself is still in existence as a foster network) circa June 21, 2008. I have a copy of the paper that signed the dogs over. I remember them coming late in the night -- apparently, they were supposed to be taken somewhere in New Jersey (I believe a Petsmart?) but that particular place had no room for them. It does get kind of fuzzy at this point.

But, that's basically what I know about Marge's early life. Though her father may have very well been a feral dog, I truly believe her fear problems are mostly environmental - or, at least, her environment was not conducive to the formation of a well-socialized animal. She was practically born into the shelter system.. I think I'd be afraid of people after that, too. Especially after a 14 hour bus ride up North. All I can think is if there were so many dogs in that vehicle, I highly doubt they were even given a break halfway. It was probably awful - but, necessary, of course, to save them.

Brittany from Stella & Roo's Blog asked where Marge got her name from.

I actually didn't pick the name Marge for Marge. She came with the name. If I had to guess, the rescuers at Noah's bArk were the ones who originally chose it. She is named after Marge Simpson, since the litter followed a Simpsons theme - with Lisa, Bart, and Homer as names as well. But I usually ignore that, as I'm not really a Simpsons fan.

We originally had plans to change the name, and I contemplated a good bunch of names before Marge actually got to my house - Maggie, Maddie, Misty, Miley. Maggie was the frontrunner since it was so similar. There was also the idea of simply calling her "Margie" to somehow spice up "Marge" a little bit.

But, true to my nature as an awful chooser of names (I can never make a decision, hence Layla the cat still being Layla ten years later), we realized pretty quickly that the name Marge was going to stay. We tried out Margie in the beginning (and my neighbors and Grandmother still call her that) but it never stuck appreciably.

I like the name Marge. (I was actually just telling this to my Agility instructor on Tuesday.. she, too, was wondering where the name came from.) I think it is unique and cute in its own way. I think it fits her.. she just doesn't seem like a Blackie or Maggie or Princess or Roxy, etc. She's just Marge. It brings a smile to my face every time I say it.


Sue July 2, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

Poor little girl. It sounds like she never got the cuddling and love that a puppy needs in order to learn to relax and trust. Also the bus trip probably coincided with one of the natural fear periods that puppies experience during their development.

Shelter workers do their best, but they are under heavy stress and can sometimes speak or act in a manner that would frighten a young pup that has never known a loving home.

I'd say Marge is one very lucky dog to have found someone so concerned about her outlook on life. Keep up the good work.

Martha July 2, 2009 at 7:50 PM  

There is always so much guesswork with a rescue dog. So many things that they are frightened off and react too that you dont understand.
Endless patience is required and there are days when you think you are right back where you started.
I am glad Marge has you now - it will eventually fall into place.
Funny thing about the name - with both of ours the only thing they came with was their names.
Not even a collar. I would have picked different names to Martha & Bailey but it seemed like the only thing they had - so we left them!
There are just so many dogs out there in rescues needing homes.
Keep up the good work.

Astrid Keel July 2, 2009 at 8:39 PM  

I thought you named Marge after Marge Simpson! :) good thing that dear Marge has you now in her life. :)

Rufus and Indie July 2, 2009 at 10:14 PM  

They couldn't pick a better name! Simpsons rock!
Poor puppies...that's not an easy way to start their lives!
Rufus and Indie

StellaStar July 6, 2009 at 10:21 PM  

Thanks! The Simpsons is Andy's favorite TV show, so I was wondering if it had anything to do with them.

I didn't know how bad the animal overpopulation problem was in the south. If it's worse than up here in the north, there are TONS of animals in trouble :( Glad Marge made it to your home & heart!

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