She's a saucy, low-hung pup with a distinct swing to her waddle and for the last week she's had a special glow about her.
If you live in Alameda, and especially if you are on Bay Farm, you likely have seen her escorting us around town. She's Daisy, a 6-year-old rescue dog, who became an Alameda resident in February and has systematically won the hearts of dog lovers on the island ever since.
Now she's become a local celebrity, of sorts, as "Miss August" in a full-color 2013 calendar just published by Golden Gate Basset Rescue, the Northern California repository for wayward hounds in need of homes. (Ordering information can be found here.)
Daisy's back-story reads like a Cinderella tale. She was found at the end of last year, with two other dogs, wandering in traffic in a small Northern California town. Concerned citizens called animal control and the three dogs were rescued from the street and taken to the pound. All three had apparently been negligently let to run loose by their owner.
The other dogs were quickly adopted by loving owners, but Daisy was very ill. She was emaciated, weighing under 40 pounds, and she was full of worms, had kennel cough, suffered with painful foxtails in her ears and had a large bladder stone. She was also in heat and had obviously had puppies in the past. So sick, with no control over her bladder and in need of expensive surgery, she might have been deemed unadoptable and euthanized.
But representatives from Golden Gate Basset Rescue were contacted by the animal shelter and she was given emergency veterinary care by them and placed in the home of loving, experienced foster parents by the rescue group.
Their care of her paid off and six weeks later she was ready for adoption.
Our family found her by chance when we attended a pet adoption fair at the East Bay SPCA/Citizen Canine parking lot where many rescue groups were on hand. (We owned two basset hounds earlier in our marriage who lived to a ripe old age, but they passed away. We were open to getting another hound, but told ourselves we were just "looking," not adopting, that day)
Those plans took a sudden turn, however, when sweet little Daisy arrived on the scene with her foster parents and the vet who had operated on her. She was still somewhat thin, you could see her ribs, and she had fresh stitches the full length of her belly. But she was wearing a pink scarf emblazoned with the words "adopt me" and her sad eyes melted our hearts. She ran immediately over to my husband, jumped up on him in greeting and claimed him as her doggie dad. The deal was sealed.
After completing an on-line application to adopt her, undergoing a home visit by her foster parents to screen us, and working closely with Golden Gate Basset Rescue to make sure her health issues were indeed completely resolved, she was finally ours.
Today she is under the expert care of Dr. Grant and associates at Park Centre Animal Hospital and she has picked up weight on a special prescription diet. You would never recognize her as the thin, forlorn pup abandoned and left to dodge cars less than a year ago.
She now belongs to a doggie play group, attended a round-up with 43 other basset hounds in the Sierra foothills and has a regular following of fans at local businesses and in the neighborhood who look forward to her visits. She spent 4th of July in true Alameda fashion, watching the parade from the sidelines on Grand Street, and she just picked out the Halloween finery she will wear later this month at the local pet costume contest. (Yes, I admit, it's adorable ... she will be a weiner on a bun — what else?)
Every day we say "hot diggity dog" that she came into our lives. Everywhere we go with her we make sure to sing the praises of rescue organizations like Golden Gate Basset Rescue, Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter and the many other groups out there giving dogs a fresh start.
Hand-me-down, rescued, recycled, adopted — whatever you want to call them —I'm convinced love is really lovlier the second time around when you bring a pet in need of a home into your life.
So, be looking for us around town and be sure to stop and say hello to Daisy. She never met a person she didn't like. You'll recognize her by that extra bounce in her step and wiggle in her walk - happy to be alive and finally cherished - a true Alamedan - in her forever home at last.