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Lulu's New Beginnings

Dear Pet Pro Life,

My new Mom, Mildred, came to you looking to adopt a dog for her husband to play with and to help overcome her fear of animals. She adopted me three months ago , and she seems to have experienced great joy and happiness from having adopted me. My new Mom sent an email to Pet Pro Life. It said:

I'm not at all the person you first met. LuLu filled a void in our lives that brought greater meaning to our relationship and daily life. The experience of adopting a pet was enhanced by the requirements of your organization. As I meet other pet owners, I realize that I was lucky to find LuLu at Pet Pro Life because not all adoption groups have the same requirements you do.

One of the facts that enhanced our experience was that we were advised to read about LuLu's breed before we even took her home. Since then I've read six books, including a dog treat cook-book and tens of articles, from taking care of my dog to finding events and activities that we can participate in. I wish all dog owners would read at least one book about their dog's breed, even if it is a mix. This helped me understand LuLu, and it helped a lot in communicating with her. Once I understood her signals, I was able to minimize accidents and misbehaviors. Most of the problems I hear people complain about relate to misunderstandings between them and their dog. Some of their interactions with their dogs "invite" them to misbehave and later get punished. For example, they feed them from the table and then complain when the dog begs for food when there are guests at the table. That doesn't make much sense.

Mike also requested that we keep LuLu for a week before deciding to adopt her. Dogs are true to themselves, so in one week you can definitely tell whether you like the dog or not. I'm so glad we had LuLu for that first week because I learned about my fears, and she learned about my fear toward her too. In the beginning I was afraid to play any games that might make her growl, but during that week she taught me how to play tug-of-war. I also noticed that she was more gentle with me than with my husband.

I also experienced her love for me one time when I was sad because I was afraid of her barking and it made me cry. Her reaction was to come to me and lick my tears. That completely won my heart and drove away any fear I had of her.

Now we growl at each other louder and louder as we play tug-of-war. When she barks, I talk to her, because I know that's her way of communicating, and I bathe and groom her, including brushing her teeth.

The last step was to take a training class with LuLu. When we first brought LuLu home, we saw how smart she was and that she knew more than we did. We enrolled in the training class, not just because it was a requirement of the adoption, but to learn everything LuLu knew. LuLu and I went together to register for the intermediate training since she was already puppy-trained. We went to every class together, and we enjoyed ourselves so much that we immediately signed up for the advanced class. This gave us the opportunity to make new friends, and LuLu was the best "stay-dog" in the entire class. Everyone who goes through these classes has a happy relationship with his or her dog because they see how their dogs learn to obey.

Getting along with your pet makes all the difference in the world. Taking the training classes helped me understand LuLu better, and I believe she understands me better too. I wish all pet adoption organizations had this requirement; it's worth every penny of the tuition.

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My Mom and I are two peas in a pod. We get along so well, and she's doing things she never thought she would. She kisses me every day; and I even pushed her to pet a pit bull for the first time in her life.

We have pet gatherings in our front garden every week with neighbors that my Mom had never talked to before. She has met more people in the last three months than she did since moving to the Los Angeles area. She doesn't seem to be as afraid of dogs as she used to be. I taught her to understand them better. Both my Mom and I were blessed to have met each other and Pet Pro Life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Your friend,