Our reader rescue story this week was submitted by Emily Turner Marshall. Despite being thrown from a moving vehicle, 8-week-old Boxer-Doberman mix Winslow had a great disposition and was lucky to be saved by a schoolteacher known as the “Dog Rescuer.”
If you’re the pet parent of a rescued dog, we want to share your story, too! For information about submitting your rescue tale, click here.
I am a teacher in an urban school district just outside of Indianapolis, Ind. The zip code in which my school resides is one of the highest for calls to animal control, and therefore I have become the “Dog Rescuer” of the elementary school in which I work. On several occasions I have taken animals from the school to shelters.
Therefore, it was no surprise when, after school one day, a colleague called my classroom and said, “Emily, someone just threw a puppy out of their van. What do you want me to do?”
Without hesitation, I went and got him – this wiry, adorable puppy with the longest nose I’d ever seen. I had two Boxers and was not used to noses that big!
Within five minutes, another colleague and I had taught the puppy to sit in the courtyard, and we watched him as he bolted around in circles. Admittedly, in half an hour, I had already started to form a bond with this little one. Because he was so young, I couldn’t imagine taking him to the shelter.
I drove him, fleas and all, to the nearest pharmacy, bought a collar and some flea meds, and took him home. I knew my boyfriend (now husband, thank goodness!) was not going to be happy. We couldn’t keep him, right? We already had two dogs; there was no room for a third.
When my boyfriend got home, the puppy was scared to death of him. Cowering behind me, he had obviously had a bad experience with someone, not to mention that he had been thrown out of a moving vehicle just an hour earlier.
Knowing it was too late to take him anywhere, we started calling our friends. None of them were prepared to deal with this lively little one.
I called a wonderful local shelter. An employee told me I needed to give the puppy a human name, as this tends to quicken adoptions. I was to keep “Winslow” at my house and submit a picture to the shelter so the adoption process could proceed.
Our other two dogs, who were 2 and 3 years old at the time, liked Winslow enough. They had just found themselves a new playmate, worms and all. That’s right, worms. This was another lovely little surprise from Winslow about four days into his visit with us.
Fast-forward to a week later. On the day Winslow was to leave our house, I woke up sobbing. I just couldn’t let him go. Even the vet had commented on his wonderful disposition and how happy he was. He said he was shocked Winslow was so friendly, considering what he’d been through – there was no way he should be this happy! The vet determined that Winslow was only about 8 weeks old, hardly old enough to be away from his mom, wherever she was.
We still hadn’t come to terms with how we would deal with a third dog, but I couldn’t stand the thought of Winslow not being with us. The next morning, I went to the pet store, bought him a tag and a Halloween costume, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Nearly two years later, he is still here with us. We are one big, three-dog family.
It is difficult to convey in this story the love between one discarded puppy and his new family. Not to discredit our other two dogs, whom I love dearly, but there is a different sort of bond between Winslow and I. It might sound silly, but I can tell he knows.
I know Winslow was mistreated, yet you would never know it by how he acts. He still to this day will not go outside when it rains, and it breaks my heart – and we clean up the mess. He is a cuddler, a $3,000 fence jumper (we bought it because we now had three dogs), a ball lover, a food stealer and a million other good and bad things, but the bottom line is this: He is ours, and I can’t imagine it now to be any other way.
PHOTOS: Emily Turner Marshall