5/1/14|Submitted by Nancy Fortner

Kira's Story

Still mourning for the death of my rat terrier Haddie (a rescue we had for nine years) it was predictable that we would leave the shelter having agreed to adopt another dog.

Kira had been in the shelter for almost two months, but no one wanted this skinny Chihuahua rat terrier mix with the sagging belly. She threw herself into our arms with frantic kisses and nibbles.

It was not affection: it was "get me out of here!'

She had been picked up as a stray along with her six-month-old puppy (who was since also adopted). Apparently she had escaped from a puppy mill.

Our other dog Jaylen is a Decker rat terrier we rescued as an adult. Now he is fifteen years old : blind, deaf, and sometimes incontinent. But he still enjoys life. He has no trouble navigating our small house and yard, enjoys his several daily walks, and he wears a belly band in case of accidents.

Once we got Kira home it became apparent that she had never lived in a house. I had to potty train her, give her some general rules for living in a home environment, and teach her some basic obedience commands.

She quickly became a happy and affectionate member of our family.

One night my husband and I were watching a TV show about an animal shelter while Kira dozed on my lap. Suddenly her ears perked up at the sounds coming from the TV. She laid them back in an awkward position and began softly growling! She was obviously reacting to the distressed barks and whines from the shelter dogs. I asked my husband to turn down the volume, but she remained upset for the duration of the program. My husband commented (only half jokingly) that she would have nightmares that night.

At the conclusion of the show my husband put our two dogs out to potty as a regular pre-bedtime routine. When he lets them in again Kira usually hops onto the couch and waits for my husband to carry her into the bedroom, since my bed is a tall jump for a little dog. But that night Kira stuck close to my ankles, following me into the bedroom. I got into bed and signaled her to "wait" while I got settled. But she would not wait, instead jumping as high onto the bed as she could, needing me to grab her and pull her the rest of the way up. She quickly settled down in her usual spot. It brought tears to my eyes.