My husband and I came to the Animal Humane Society one morning to meet a different dog, but a young fellow with bright eyes, big ears, long legs, and a big wagging tail caught our attention. When the volunteer brought him out to the "get to know each other" area, we were impressed by his happy demeanor and interest in people, and were reassured by his paperwork, which indicated he was also good with other dogs. My husband, although new to dogs, said this is the one we should take home, and I totally agreed. So we did. Initially called Peanut by the shelter, our nieces met him and promptly renamed him Bandit.
The Animal Humane Society had received Bandit from an overcrowded shelter in Atlanta, Georgia. They knew little about him, other than that he was an approximately 1-year-old, sixteen-pound Terrier mix. Our vet said that based on his thin hair, deep chest, and haunches, he would guess he must be part Italian Greyhound/Whippet; people who meet him often also wonder if he is part Basenji.
I had waited many years to adopt a dog, making sure we had a good lifestyle and home for a dog. We now have a house, fenced-in backyard with dog-friendly parks nearby, plenty of family and friends nearby to provide companionship and occasional dog-sitting, and I work from home most of the time. Bandit has definitely been worth the wait. Who knew we would end up with a charming fellow filled with smarts, joy, curiosity, humor, and a love of people and other dogs? Our friends call us up just to see him, and he eagerly enjoys spending time with them (especially his best buddy, our 11-year-old nephew).
An adolescent, Bandit is a bundle of energy as well, but thanks to the great training support we signed up for from the Animal Humane Society, we have learned how to channel his energies in really positive ways. Attending training sessions almost weekly, he has already passed his Level 1 class and is far into Level 2. We plan for him to get his AKC Canine Good Citizen certification and then take him to agility training classes after that to provide an outlet for his natural jumping and running talents. He wasn't housetrained when we came home, but our trainer gave us a great hint: reward his house training successes immediately with extra-special treats (e.g., pieces of cheese or sausages). He figured it all out quickly and has been accident-free for many weeks. Bandit also loves to chew, and is very good at it. Thanks to the elk and deer antlers recommended by the pet store, along with many string toys and treat-filled Kongs, he has given up chewing all blankets and furniture (although he still thinks socks and shoes are fair game!).
We also make sure Bandit gets plenty of exercise - and in return, he makes sure we get plenty too. On warm days (he's not a winter dog), he takes me on 4-5 mile long walks/runs. His thin coat and almost-bare feet make winter miserable for him, even with coats. So to ensure he still gets plenty of exercise, we regularly take him to doggy day care and dog playgroups (the Animal Humane Society's Saturday morning session is a total hit), in addition to providing plenty of playtime and training sessions in the house.
We found our dream dog thanks to the Animal Humane Society. We look forward to the many years ahead with our bundle of joy, Bandit.
Jon and Ann P.