Canine Therapy


Since Penny got here last Thursday night, something was set off in me. When we decided to foster for the rescue I knew that I wanted to do this to help pull dogs out of shelters and save lives of innocent animals who were cast out for whatever reason. It made me feel good.

Our first foster, Gigi, was a labrador/beagle mix with a fiery temper, some mild food aggression and lots of poor puppy behavior, but I loved her. I overlooked a lot of her bad behavior because I was just excited to have a puppy in the house. Though she was 16 weeks old and suffered a lot in the first few months of her life, I got attached and then the more and more I started to realize that if she stayed, I would not be able to foster more dogs, a foster at any time would bring the total up to three. Robert and I knew we wanted to keep fostering to get dogs out of animal control and into homes. We’ve donated a little money here and there where we can to the rescue and promoted it on facebook etc. (www.stlpetrescue.com) because we’ve never really donated to organizations because we were never really passionate about anything. Though I adored Gigi and her playful puppy attitude, she was overwhelming for me and refused most of my attempts at training of any kind. She yeowled all night long, jumped on the kids (in play) and would follow behind my pee-happy dachshund and would pee in the spots he’d go when we would forget to put his diaper back on. I, sadly, decided not to adopt her and felt like I kept having to convince Robert that I could ‘fix’ her. It just wasn’t right for all of us. Gigi ultimately got adopted by the man who adopted her littermate which made me feel good! I nuzzled her face and off she went. 😦

Enter foster #2. She had an ID # and no name, a belly full of tape and round worms and a heart of gold.

The first night we brought her home she cuddled with us on the couch, a little doped from the drugs given at the vet and I decided to start pitching names to my husband, rescue says you can name them something original if you foster it and it does not already have a name. We looked her over and she has a very pretty coppery colored brindle pattern and golden brown eyes. I said “Penny” and we simultaneously agreed that that was going to be her name.

Penny, being larger than my smallest child who is 2, doesn’t jump on the kids, or adults. Even if you pat your legs, she won’t jump up on you. I knew what type of dog she was before we even got her so I started spending hours and hours pouring over youtube videos and literature on how to train dogs and temperament ratings and clicker training and the best type of treats. You name it, I was researching it.

I took Penny to PetCo, against my better judgment, without a crate. To my surprise she calmly rode in the passenger seat without a peep. Once we traversed the automatic doors (which she was NOT keen on, took a little coaxing) I got a clicker and training treats that came highly recommended for large breed dogs. Oh, and a new collar, the bows were ripped off of the old collar – night number one. We came home and we have been trying now for a few hours or more a day since Friday night. I’ve found that my seasonal depression is not as bad as usual… I’m occupied, doing something that gives me satisfaction like a hobby. Penny has mastered ‘down’ and no longer needs the clicker or the treat for the command – in one day. She is a master at ‘sit’. She caught on to ‘shake’, outrageously fast. Penny is a boxer/great dane (possibly great dane, she is very tall – or she could be boxer/lab but she is definitely Boxer something, only time will tell) and she is ridiculously smart. I love big dogs, the dachshund is sweet and cuddly but he was poorly raised and pees where he wants when he wants, he was a rescue as well. The mini-dachshund, Badger, has to wear a diaper.  

Penny will nuzzle your nose, she will put her chin on your shoulder and she also puts to shame the term ‘sawing logs’ – this dog snores like a chainsaw is ripping through the kitchen. Why the kitchen, you ask? Well, she likes to sleep right under the kitchen table at my feet when I’m on the laptop. I told Robert that my main goal was to rescue dogs and now I’ve fallen in love. Penny has found her forever home, assuming she doesn’t make some drastic change in the next four days. Robert said we would give the rescue our final answer and the adoption fee after one week. Robert who needed no convincing and I think he kind of enjoys me getting involved in something and really enjoying it (i.e. seeing me in my element with a camera in my hand and now, learning to train the dog).

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