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Dogs Giving Thanks

We're spending the holiday with dear friends this year, so I'd like to tell you about their very thankful dogs, Roberto and Bernie. I used to call Roberto, "The Luckiest Dog in the World" - until they got Bernie. You be the judge.



Handsome dog, no?

About five years ago, Jim and Lisa were vacationing in Mexico when Roberto, a Lab-Terrier-who knows what mix, came up to them on the beach. He was nothing but skin, bones and scabs: He was allergic to sand fleas and had scratched all his hair off. One hip was out of its socket, so his right leg was dragging. He couldn't get food because of how he looked: everyone shunned him - except Jim and Lisa. They took him to the vet, got him treatment and stayed in touch. Even the new and improved Roberto couldn't find a home, so Jim and Lisa arranged for him to fly back to the U.S. (he couldn't go unaccompanied, but they could only find someone to take him part of the way, so Lisa drove hours to meet him, where they stayed a night in a hotel before driving back) and adopted him. (If anyone calls immigration on them, you'll answer to me!)

Roberto quickly became the leader of their pack of four dogs (the two cats, not so much). And, I quickly discovered you can take the dog out of Latin America, but you can't take the Latin out of the dog. He has this way of sitting in front of you, flopping his head back and looking at you with those big, brown eyes that make you want to... well, buy him a plane ticket and run away with him. Perhaps that's why, when not calling him "The Luckiest Dog in the World," I call him, "The DILF."


You've probably gotten the impression by now that Jim and Lisa are softies when it comes to animals. It's no wonder, then, that they've volunteered for years at Best Friends as well as their local Humane Society. The latter is where they met Bernie.


Two years ago, Jim had seen Bernie, a Chow mix, come and go over several months. When Bernie came back to the Humane Society for the fourth time, the staff said he was now considered unadoptable: he jumped fences and tore up houses when left alone during the day. They were told by management to euthanize him - immediately. But, the staff knew he was a sweetheart of a dog who had simply never been taught proper manners and refused to put him down. They just weren't sure how long they could hold out. So, Jim asked if he could foster Bernie, to train him and turn him into an adoptable dog. It took months of painstaking work at home and on leash for hours every day. Jim fully intended this to be a temporary arrangement - at the time he and Lisa had Roberto and another large dog, as well as a cat. But, when no one stepped forward to give Bernie a fifth try, he stayed in the home he'd already found. (Which, seeing him with Jim and Lisa during the "foster care" stage, Tim and I figured would be the outcome.)

Bernie is a sweetheart of a dog, curious like a cat. He loves staring out the window, watching the world go by, pondering perhaps, on how lucky he is.

Maybe it's not quite a daring, cross-border rescue, or a last minute stay of execution, but what are you thankful for?

Comments (7)

annette baesel:

I'm sure I'd really like your friends Jim and Lisa! I'm thankful there are people like them who love animals and make the effort! As they say in Australia "goodonya"!


Hi Doreen,
Thanks for commenting on our blog! I have sent you an email, Thought I would just let you know here too, you said this is the best place to reach you.
Best Wishes and Happy Thanksgiving
look forward to hearing from you


If I dress as a dog and hang around your friend's house looking mopey, you think they'd take me in? I need some lovin'.


There's a real good chance, Robin, but be prepared to get "fixed," as well.

Cute dog! If he was a cat Theodora & Josephine (my cats!) might have said "Do you want to date, handsome?" But as he's a dog, they just say "Have a good life, lucky fella!"

Those are some really handsome pooches, I must say. Thanks for sharing their stories with us.

Great dog stories, Doreen. I want a Roberto of my very own. Although I think I'd draw the line at the DILF thang. Couldn't we just be good friends?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 27, 2008 2:37 PM.

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