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Rescue Puppy Makes Great Companion

Plymouth Patch editor shares experience with Homeward Bound Rescue League dog.

I knew when I moved to Plymouth Township that my proximity to the I-275 Bikeway would be beneficial to me.

Well, it certainly wasn't for my love of cycling.

I took my 15-speed mountain bike that I've owned since fifth grade (in an embarrassingly 1990s-style array of purples and blues) out on the path near Ann Arbor Trail on Friday afternoon. In addition to being in no shape to bike seriously, I also fought a loose chain and walked most of the way back. 

Well, so much for that.

Before I continue my story, I'll provide some insight into the life of a Patch editor.

Being a completely mobile news source, Patch editors work out of home (or on the go) rather than at a permanent office. So my "office" is adjacent to my kitchen and down the hall from my bedroom. Sometimes when I post things I'm still wearing pajamas.

It's a very efficient way to work, but part of me misses having daily interactions and companionship. I've had a pet turtle for more than two years, but he doesn't provide much in the way of interaction and camaraderie. 

I've always wanted a dog. I grew up with dogs in my life, and I'm pretty sure I'm my parents' Golden Retriever's hero. Or at least I am whenever I walk through their front door while visiting — until the next visitor comes along, anyway.

This was the first place I've lived beside my parents' house where dogs have been allowed, so I moved in fully intending to get a dog once I get settled in.

After retreating to my apartment the evening after the bicycle trip from Hell, I started to research dogs available in the area.

I saw a pair of 13-week-old all-black Golden Retriever mix siblings — Sammy and Digz — who were great-looking puppies. I decided to inquire about Sammy (he appeared to me to have more Golden Retriever in him) and I received a prompt reply letting me know that the group was exhibiting its dogs in Canton the next day.

I showed up the following afternoon and the first pen I saw was the one with Sammy and Digz. I immediately fell in love. Both dogs were incredibly approachable and compassionate. Digz was the more energetic of the two, while Sammy quietly drew attention. 

I walked Sammy around the parking lot and he responded very well to being on a leash. I asked some questions and called my parents to see what puppy supplies (crates, etc.) they still had available.

Then I decided to go for it. 

The way Homeward Bound Animal Rescue works is potential adopters fill out an application that vets their experience with animals, what type of living arrangements will be offered and other pertinent questions for placing a pet. Then the candidate fosters the dog for a week before adopting. They are only on the hook for buying the dog food for the fostering period. If it's a good match, then the adoption process gets finalized the following week.

Every dog I grew up with was a purebred from a breeder. I always admired the efforts of rescue organizations, however, and had planned to try a shelter first whenever it was time for me to get a dog.

I am in the middle of my foster period with Sammy and everything is going great. He has a very colorful personality that didn't come out as much when he was in the shadow of his brother at the adoption exhibit. 

Because I live in an apartment — albeit one with plenty of green space — I am making sure he gets ample exercise. Whenever it's time for him to do his business — or whenever we just need to get a breath of fresh air — we head out to the I-275 Bikeway, where miles of uninterrupted walking paths await. 

Sammy has gotten into such a routine with his walking several times per day that he'll lead the way to the trail and back to the door of the apartment. 

Assuming everything goes well the rest of the week and with the adoption process, I'm sure those of you who frequent downtown (or the bike paths) will catch a glimpse of Sammy. Not only will he keep me company while I work from home, be he will accompany me, when appropriate, when I head into town and work remotely from , for instance. 

With Sammy I've found a companion, friend and a reason to return to the I-275 Bikeway. 

Sandi June 08, 2011 at 03:59 PM
He is so adorable! I had a black lab once and he was a great dog!
John McKay (Editor) June 08, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Thanks! Surprisingly, there's no black lab in him -- he's Golden Retriever and German Shepherd. He's definitely an anomaly, as he looks JUST like one. I've once had a black lab, though, and she was a great, great dog. As were the goldens I've had growing up.
Donna Pawlowski June 09, 2011 at 04:12 AM
Sammy is adorable, John. When you come in to do the press book next week, bring Sammy in. I keep treats in my desk drawer for special visitors like Sammy.

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