“Happy Tails” The Dog Swap

By now many of you have come to know my dog Niki. You know her because she is the “Seniors for Seniors” spokesdog for “pit bulls.”  You might also know that Niki is not a “pit bull” but a Husky/Lab cross. For those of you who have not heard the story of how Niki became a “significantly similar” dog and subject to BSL restrictions, it can be found here: Still Think your Labrador Retriever is safe? Think Again!

Today we are going to go back further into Niki’s life. Back to how it all began. THIS is Niki’s “Happy Tail.”

Niki at 10 weeks two weeks after we brought her home.

I was perusing the “free to good home” ads on kijiji. Free to good home ads always disturb me. It is dangerous to offer an animal for free on the internet, you never know who might answer your ad or where your animals might end up! When I see them I usually call and offer to help the person place their pet properly. I explain why it is not a good idea to give your pet away to the first person who comes along, and try to encourage the pet owner to be more responsible in their rehoming efforts. Sometimes I get told to mind my own business, but mostly people appreciate the help I offer.

It was a cold day in October, a couple of days before the thanksgiving weekend when I found the ad. It said “8 week old Lab/Husky pup, FREE TO GOOD HOME. I had just lost my Husky/Lab cross Gabrielle a couple of months before, and I was missing her greatly. I had not even begun to think about getting another dog, the pain of Gabrielle’s passing was still fresh in my mind. Something about the ad made me pick up the phone and call.

I asked the person who answered the phone why they were giving the puppy away. “I rescued her, I got her two weeks ago, and she was so cute I couldn’t resist taking her home.” came the answer. “But I have a medical condition, and I have realized that this dog is going to be too much for me to handle. What I really want is an older small breed dog. I made a very big mistake taking on this puppy.” said the voice on the other end of the phone.

The seed of an idea began to take root in my brain. I had recently taken in a five year old Jack Russell named Brody. Brody was a mild mannered intelligent little dog who just needed a dedicated owner to spend her days with. This woman had a dog that was too much for her to handle, but she was a dog lover and really wanted a dog in her life. She wasn’t throwing the puppy away, she had made a mistake, and wanted to correct it by finding the pup a good home while she was still young enough to bond with her new family. She was human, we all make mistakes.

“What if I could give you the little dog you are wishing for?” I asked her.

“Why would you give me your dog,” she asked. I explained what I do, and that Brody was in fact looking for a home of her own. I explained that I was interested in Niki because of her breed mix, and told her all about the dog I had lost a couple of months before. We arranged to meet with her that evening at her home, and would bring Brody along to see how things went. I would do my home assessment during the meeting, and I had already checked references. It was decided that Brody could stay with this woman IF she passed the housing assessment and Brody took to her.

All afternoon I waited on pins and needles. Evening came and it was time to meet Niki. We packed Brody and her belongings (just in case) into the car and headed for Elmvale, about a twenty minute drive outside of Barrie.

The apartment was tiny, and the little black puppy was full of energy. When we entered the apartment she stopped in her tracks peeking out at us from under a piece of newspaper that was covering the floor in case of accidents. She bounded across the floor and jumped on my legs. I put Brody on the floor and picked up the puppy. As soon as I held her I knew that I was going to take her home, I knew that I would keep her for my own.

In the meantime while I cuddled with the puppy, Brody had found her way into the woman’s lap and was happily enduring a belly rub. I looked around. The apartment was clean, it was more than adequate for Brody, and with references checked and paperwork signed Brody had found a forever home.

It came time to leave and the woman put a homemade harness on Niki, and clipped on a small leash. Off we went headed for home. We had parked two or three blocks away from the woman’s apartment, and had a bit of a walk to the car Niki trotted along beside me on her leash. When we reached the car and I bent down to pick up the puppy I realized that her harness had actually broken sometime during the walk to the car. She could have gotten loose and run off, but she had stayed right beside me all the way to the car. I took it as a sign that she was meant to be my dog.

Niki now.

That was seven years ago, and Niki is still with me. She has become the dog who trains other dogs, but more than that she has become my constant companion, and life without her just wouldn’t be the same! I will never forget that rescue, it was the one that saved not one, but TWO dogs and gave them their forever homes.

Until Next Time Remember,




2 thoughts on ““Happy Tails” The Dog Swap

  1. What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing it! I have a blond Husky Coonhound cross who looks NOTHING like a am/staff but I have had people tell me she is and that she should be muzzled!!! My pups haratage is very clear to me as I met her parents. Her mother was a pure bred, papered, shown Red Tick Coonhound. Her father was a spunky Siberian pup that consequently hopped over the fence and got her preggers. Both dogs were papered so her pedigree is 100%.

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