Bug’s story is one of hope, determination, and lots of love from a whole lot of people!
Bug’s adventures started early January 2013 when Sue and I agreed to help transport a pup. That along with his mom and litter mates had been saved from the shelter. While the little guy was cute as could be, we felt our house was full with the 3 dogs we had and that the foster home he was destined for would find him a wonderful permanent home. Although he only stayed with us 1 night, we knew we were playing a small role in helping him get a start on a new life. In the world of rescue, every little bit helps, and we’d done what we could for this little guy.
Fast forward a month or so, and Sue learned that our “one night stand” had become seriously ill, and was going to need heart surgery. Bug suffered from Persistent Right Aortic Arch which caused constriction of his esophagus, leading to starvation; without surgery, he was going to die. Fortunately for him, he was in the care of San Diego based Labradors and Friends who agreed to pay for the surgery needed to save his life. Recovery was going to require full time care which included feeding a liquid gruel mix 6 times a day, followed by holding him upright for 15-30 minutes after every meal, and ensuring he received the necessary medications. We (well one of us…Sue) immediately raised a hand and said we can do that! What “we” didn’t realize at the time was just how involved we would become.
Puppies are wonderful, funny, silly, loving, playful, exciting creatures. They are also noisy, needy, naughty, and when severely sick can be a full time job!!! Being a foster means that you accept the responsibility to not just feed and keep a dog while waiting for their permanent home but that you agree to help them to become a well behaved adoptable dog. For us, knowing all Bug had been through in just his short life, we knew we had to give him all we could, and so our adventure began…
While there is a lot of hard work in raising a puppy, we can both say wholeheartedly that the reward for all the late night whining, stinky canned food, and puppy pee on the floor, were lots of puppy kisses, snuggles after feedings, and watching a very tiny, very sick puppy thrive. The little guy (a lab/boxer/staffie mix) who we took in at 2 months old weighing a mere 6 pounds, whose first collar was small enough to fit a cat, and who we had to buy clothes to keep warm, has with lots of time, effort and love, grown into a thriving little man who loves people, dogs, exploring the world, chicken treats, oh and his new pack. That’s right, while rescue groups need people who can foster and let go, we are not those people. With our heads held high – we will say “we are foster failures!”
As Bug began to grow and become healthier, we continued with basic training, started physical conditioning, and drive building. Losing almost 8 months of his puppy foundation time to recovery, Bug didn’t have any natural drive to play, tug, or retrieve; all things we had to learn to teach him.
As Bug was growing, his brother Oliver, our lab was just getting started in the sport of Dock Diving. As fate has its ways, Sue and Oliver’s time on the dock lead us to meet Lise and Scott, who in turn changed our lives. Knowing Bug and I would be traveling with Sue and Oliver to events, I thought it would be fun to get Bug jumping. Well let me tell you, in the beginning, bug didn’t think it would be as fun to jump as I did, and being a terrier he let me and everybody else know how he felt about it, while stubbornly standing and barking at the end of the dock! Knowing I needed help, we reached out to Lise for guidance, and got so much more than we bargained for. She helped with basic drive training, along with confidence building, and eventually jumping!!! While it took months to get him to jump confidently, we spent the time training and now he jumps like a pro!
Since we started training with Lise and Scott, Bug has earned an invite to the DockDogs World Championships 3 years in a row, twice in the novice division and once in the junior division. In 2015 we finished 2nd place in the novice division World Championship finals! Each year working with Lise, he has gained confidence and is jumping bigger and bigger. While Bug may not be the biggest jumper out there, only averaging 14-16’ , I can say when he jumps, he gives it all he has. He loves running up the dock, swinging and tugging his toy, and most of all jumping in a warm pool with the SoCal sun shining!
In addition to his Dock Diving career, Bug is also working on his MACH agility title, has earned a first level CA-lure coursing title, has a novice trick dog title, and has recently started training in K9 Sent Nose Work with Sue.
I can’t say enough about how thankful we are to have Lise and Scott helping us with our training. We are proud to have had Team 2nd Chance Bug selected to be sponsored by Agape Ranch Dog Sports….2017 is going to be a GREAT year for DaBug!