When I was very young, I was bit in the face by a dog so my parents wanted to ensure that I would never be afraid of them so they always made sure we had dogs in the house. But, being a fearless middle child, that was never going to be an issue. I would "steal" neighbor's pets and sneak them into the house and spend countless hours trying to convince my parents that they were homeless and NEEDED me. My first venture into dealing with rescued dogs was when I adopted a 1 year old Doberman (Alexis) who had been badly abused before finding sanctuary with me. She held no grudges and gave unconditional love for the next 15 years.
I started working at Petco and being around all the different rescue groups put me in contact with a backyard breeder for American Eskimos who was going to cull an entire litter of pups because they weren't the standard for his show dogs. The runt of the litter stole my heart and I ended up finding homes for the entire litter of 10 so I wouldn't feel guilty about saving only one. Maverick went on to become a therapy dog and did several "tours of duty" at an Alzheimer's hospice. Now, at 16 years old, he is deaf, partially blind and a true curmudgeon but still rules the house.
I had been living in an apartment with my 2 best buddies a girl could ever have, Maverick and his "brother", a tabby cat named Sammy that I risked life and limb to rescue from a river bed before he drowned when he was barely a month old, when I decided to buy a house. I knew I was going to need a big yard for the zoo I was planning on having so when I found my perfect house with a huge yard, I thought about the fliers I'd seen about foster homes needed for Saint Bernard's all around the desk of the secretary that works in the front office, Pam Henry. The power of a piece of paper. The slobbery part never seemed attractive to me but I do love big, sturdy dogs so I figured I'd give it a whirl and low-and-behold, every piece of clothing I own can be washed and there is nothing so expensive in my house that can't be replaced.
This fearless middle child has certainly been challenged, loved, protected and entertained by the gentle giants that have passed through my life so far and I can't imagine going through life any other way.