A dog at home

This is Tussah (yes, she’s named after a wild silk).


We are Tussah’s third home that we know about. She was apparently dropped off at a reservoir in North Dakota several years before she joined our household. Someone from our city saw her being abandoned, picked her up, and brought her south to their local humane society. A family came to the society and adopted her. Then those people moved from the foothills, where they apparently let her run free among the snakes and coyotes and mountain lions, into a semi-rural part of town. They apparently couldn’t
keep her contained. They said that when they left her alone she ate a deck and a bunch of trees, and
chewed her way out of a shed as well. She could easily go over a
six-foot fence and had taken to escaping again every time she was brought
back (and, as far as we could tell after a few iterations of this, they immediately put her back into the shed).

The people’s vet, who estimated that she was five or six years old, talked them into "re-homing" her. They had added two small children to their household and didn’t seem to have enough time for the dog (who adored the kids; she still adores kids).

We offered to
foster her while a new home was located. A friend of ours had picked her up a couple of times when
she was loose, and we’d been involved in facilitating the return
process. In fact, after the first pick-up (when she’d been retrieved from much too close to a very busy street) we’d all taken her for a walk in the park with our collection of dogs while we were waiting for a cell-phone call-back from the humane society. It turned out that lots of people in the area had picked her up when she was roaming, and several of them had offered to provide her with a new home.

Our fostering offer came about because we were reasonably certain that she wouldn’t be able to escape from our house while the best new home was located. Our back yard is very dog-secure;
Ariel, our ILP Border collie who came to us as a foundling, had already made sure of that. No one else in the dog’s sphere of influence had that capacity. Because she was obviously a sweet dog, everyone wanted to see her adopted into a home that could keep her under control, instead of being killed because she was loose in traffic. We weren’t in the market for another dog, but we wanted to be sure she was safe during the transition.

All the other prospective homes turned into dead ends; a spot was reserved for her on the long waiting list for the
no-kill shelter.

Tussah does not like to be left alone. She hates thunder and
fireworks. As it turned out, she needs lots of companionship and never to be left without supervision either outside . . . or in a house with any open windows when there’s a likelihood of either a storm or a summer holiday. If someone’s around, she’s just fine (although she’ll plaster herself to a human leg for reassurance whenever anything even might go boom).

After fostering her for several months, we decided that
there wasn’t likely to be another home that would suit this dog better than ours. So we
figured out what her name was (she came to us with a totally inappropriate
name, a heavyweight khaki collar, a beat-up leash, and a plug-in water bowl). We
updated her immunizations (which were expired). We got her a grooming that, among other things, took all the knots out of her tail and turned it into a happily waving plume. We gave her a bright blue collar and matching leash of weights appropriate to her size, an i.d. tag, and a license. And, after a while, we indulged in an anxiety wrap. We got rid of the water bowl because we didn’t need it. Our dogs’
water isn’t at risk of freezing.

We don’t normally allow our dogs on the beds, but Tussah doesn’t abuse the privilege.

So the photo above shows how every morning starts at our house. That’s a tummy rub in progress. Tussah has just rolled over onto her back to help the human hand reach the dog’s whole underside.

We tell ourselves that this ritual must mean that she misses her shed.


5 thoughts on “A dog at home”

  1. Ohhh! She is a brown version of our very own rescue dog – Ben. His fur is just like tussah silk, he is scared of everything including his own shadow and he loooves tummy rubs mornign noon and night. I hope you will all be very happy together
    PS he is an escape artist too 🙂

  2. Hi, Janine: Tussah has been with us for several years. She has her minor inconveniences, like a nose often in places that are awkward (like between human hand and the work it needs to be performing), but we can’t imagine life without her. We *have* had to replace almost all of the window screens and train ourselves NEVER to leave a window open–even 2 inches, even in the summer–when all the humans are going to be gone from the house. Fortunately, our work schedules and locations are such that we don’t often leave all at once.

  3. It sounds like Tussah just needed to find the right humans for her! She looks so happy in that tummy rub photo; so content. That’s what I wish for all dogs–that they find the right safe place for maximum love, security and safety…my dogs are jostling and tussling after a stay at the kennel, but you can just see how glad they are to be home again!

  4. Love the photo – Tussah certainly ended up in the right home! Our Toby [Aussie mix] was picked up roaming in town, and lived at our vet’s office until he came home with us. He’s definitely Velcro-dog whenever it storms, around July 4th, etc, but also loves tummy rubs and sleeps on his back.

  5. Thanks for a wonderful post about your Tussah. SO glad she found you. A troubled and difficult dog couldn’t have found a better home. LOVE the picture – she appears so happy and content.

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