Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Call and The Calling

It had been a long week, both at work and at the rescue. I was heading back home at the end of Friday, and I had already fielded two calls from work on my cell phone (at least the bluetooth in my car makes that safe and easy). The phone rang again - I did not really want to handle another call but I answered anyway.

"Hello, is this Dave?"
"This is Joe [name changed for privacy]. We adopted Sally [also name changed] a while back, and I called you a few weeks ago about her problems."

My heart sank. I remembered the call. I was dreading THIS call. Joe had called one evening very angry, telling me that this insane puppy just had to go. She was irritating their older dog, She was biting him and his wife. She was eating her own poop. She was out of control, and had to go. We talked for a while - at least he was willing to listen. I gave our 'standard' approach, reminded him that they agreed in the contract to work with us to resolve the problems. I promised to have one of our trainers call him and discuss what was going on. He kept insisting that it was just not going to work, and my wife was getting exasperated just listening to my side of the call. I finally said Fine, bring her to us tomorrow.

Joe called back a couple of hours later, apologized, said they love Sally, but at just at wits end. They were willing to work with us. I told him I would line up help right away. I had our favorite Animal Behaviorist call them.

The Behaviorist called back a couple of days later and said that while the call was short (bad timing, Joe was busy) she thought that they would be able to work things out.

That was a few weeks ago, and I had not heard any more from Joe.

Until this call. Sigh. Here we go...

"Yes, Joe, I do remember you and Sally. So how..."
"I just wanted to call you and tell you how much we LOVE Sally and how grateful we are that you had the patience to work with us. She is a totally different dog now - she and her 'brother' play all the time, they are inseparable and love each other. My wife and I cannot tell you how happy we are with her, we cannot imagine our life without her. She is Daddy's Girl - she goes everywhere I go."

I was speechless. Mostly because I was grinning from ear to ear. "Joe, that makes me so happy to hear! Wow!"

"Dave, I also want to apologize - I was such a jerk when I called..."

"No apology necessary! You did the right thing! Now everyone is happy!"

And so the call went for a good ten minutes. Joe told me that the one thing I had said to him that really stopped him in his tracks and made him think. Apparently I had told him that 90% of the time puppies are out of control it is the owners' fault - because the humans are not in charge, not doing their job, not spending enough time with the pup, not actively managing. He and his wife thought about it, prayed about it, listed to the Behaviorist, did their research, and set out to make their life with Sally work.

They succeeded.

THAT call is one of the reasons we do this. Joe thanked us for being thorough. For asking questions. For making the Home Check. For being there after the adoption to help them to succeed. For being patient when he lost his cool.

If anyone was looking into that silver Genesis Coupe on my way home, I am sure they were wondering why that guy was grinning like such a fool.

Good way to end a long week.

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