Roady’s Long, Strange Trip

Lisa Pietsch is the Community Coordinator/Jack of All Trades/Boss of All Bloggers here at Families.com. In a roundabout way, I got to help her find her second dog, Roady.

Aimee: What inspired you to look for a second dog?

Lisa: I had no intention of looking for a second dog. We’d lost a dog (Thor) just a year earlier and he had been very dear to me. I wasn’t at a point where I felt I could bring another dog into our home yet. I found Roady purely by accident. I was reviewing a blog that you had written about Petfinder and had to check the link. Once I got to Petfinder, I thought I’d browse a bit. Two clicks later, I saw Roady and life changed.

Aimee: How did you know you were ready for a second dog?

Lisa: It has always been my experience that the right dog finds me when it is time. My husband has to think about these things, but I always know instantly.

Aimee: What appealed to you about Roady?

Lisa: When we lost Thor, my husband asked me if I wanted to go get a puppy or see what dogs were available at the local shelters. I didn’t need to think about my answer. I said “No. When it is time for us to have another dog, we’ll get a sign. Something about that dog will remind us of Thor and that will be our sign.”

Roady's Petfinder pics on top; Thor and Freya on the bottom.  Photos courtesy of Lisa Pietsch.

When I got to Petfinder, the sign couldn’t have been clearer if it had been a baseball bat over my head! I saw a picture of a dog, also a mutt, that looked almost exactly like Thor. Finding two mixed breed dogs born miles and years apart that look nearly exactly alike is a one-in-a-million shot. As you can see by the photos, there are small differences in the color patters on their foreheads and Thor’s ears are larger, but they look very much alike. The similarity was so stunning to me that I started crying on the spot. I was so upset that I had to call my husband, who was on a military assignment in Colorado, even though it was nearly midnight. When I told my husband about Roady and read him his story, he asked me if I wanted to adopt him. That was when reality struck and I thought about the fact that we lived in Montana, would soon be moving to Colorado and Roady was at a Ridgeback Rescue in Texas! The logistics were a nightmare.

Still, we both felt that we should inquire about Roady.

Once I inquired, I knew we had to find a way to bring him home. He was the dog we’d been looking for. He’d been in and out of shelters all his life. He was headstrong and independent. He was the same kind of tramp our Thor had been and there were similar personality traits that they shared that make most people turn away from and adoption. We knew Roady was for us because we knew how to and missed living with a dog like him.

Aimee: What was the adoption process like for an out-of-state adoption?

Lisa: I saw Roady’s Petfinder page in January 2006 and we finally brought him home on May 18th of 2006.

Our first step was filing an application with Texas Independent Ridgeback Rescue.

The next step involved having a local Ridgeback Rescue representative visit our home to see that we had a proper environment for Roady. This was rather difficult as the nearest representative was in Colorado Springs and we were in Denver. The rep was also on vacation for several weeks. As it turned out, the rep never did find a way to come see us, so I took pictures of our family, including Freya, our German Shepherd, as well as pictures of our yard, fencing and inside of our home. I sent all of these photos to Roy at the Ridgeback Ranch. I’d also spent many hours on the phone with Roy over several months, so he knew that we were serious about adopting Roady. (Roady had spent several years on and off at the ranch and Roy had grown quite attached to him. It was important to Roy that Roady find a forever home and I suppose my earnestness impressed him. I just knew in my gut that we were meant to find Roady and I suppose Roy followed his gut as well and approved the adoption pending our and Freya’s meeting with Roady. Roady would have the final say.

Aimee: What were your favorite moments of the road trip to Texas and back?

Lisa: Well, it was our first overnight trip away from our son, Teddy, so it was nice to be back on the road with my husband. (We’d done a great deal of traveling together before having our son, Teddy.) Freya loves road trips so it was fun to be able to give her a bit of a treat too.

When we arrived at the ranch, Roady was at the groomer’s, so we were a little disappointed but we had a great chat with Roy about Roady’s history and his quirks. It was great to get an idea of what his life had been like before us. I think it also reassured Roy that he’d made the right decision. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when Roady first walked through the door. My husband and I looked at each other and we knew it was fate. This was one cool dog. He checked us out briefly and then moseyed past the water bowl to the toilet bowl and had a good long drink. We both knew he was the dog for us. Oddly enough, he didn’t mind that Freya was in his house. He was too cool for that but boy was Freya excited to see him! She followed him everywhere! We were all very satisfied that it was a good match.

Roy had warned us that Roady was very particular about toys. There were ones he liked and ones he didn’t. Well, we followed our instincts before the trip and picked up two toy geese that honked (instead of squeaked). Thor and Freya always loved them, so we took a chance and bought two for the ride home. When Roady got into the Jeep, he homed in on a goose and it was his! He was very happy to honk it all the way back to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, he was happy to rip the honker out and spread the stuffing all over the floor. Yes, indeed. That was the dog for us!

When we arrived at the hotel, Roady made himself at home on the bed and even tried to snatch some bits from the take-out we’d ordered for dinner. We didn’t mind. Thor had always done that too, so we were ready for it.

Aimee: How do Roady and Freya get along?

Lisa: Whenever we walked them on the trip home, Roady and Freya walked side-by-side like they were meant to be together. There was initially some question as to who would be the dominant dog. Freya wasn’t used to being the Alpha and, from talking with Roy, we knew Roady didn’t have much use for submissive females. We let nature take its course. The first few months were an adjustment. Freya showed some signs of depression but we didn’t know if it was because Roady didn’t play with her or if it was because there was another dog in her home. They eventually decided amongst themselves that Roady would be in charge. Freya seemed to do better after that. After that initial adjustment period, Roady loosened up and started playing with Freya. Once he started playing, Freya was just fine. (She and Thor used to have marathon romping and wrestling sessions all the time. As it turns out, she really missed that.) I caught them playing tag in the back yard one day and knew that everything was going to be fine.

Aimee: How do the dogs interact with your son?

Lisa: From the moment we brought Teddy home from the hospital, he was Freya’s puppy. She was always near him and watched him like a mother hen. Nobody got to Teddy without going through her first.

Roady was amazing – and still is. We were concerned about the fact that Teddy was a toddler still exploring the world, including the eyes, nose, ears and tails of any dog within his reach. Roady was totally cool. No matter what Teddy poked or pulled, Roady wasn’t phased a bit. He’s wonderful with children!

Aimee: Any other secrets you want to spill about Roady?

Lisa: After all those years living in a kennel, Roady loves sleeping on the bed! One major difference between Thor and Roady is that Thor was never a cuddler. Roady likes to spoon.