I usually post only one picture for the weekly photo challenge, but this week’s challenge warrants more from me. This is a picture of my dog, Asher, on the first day that I adopted him from the weimaraner rescue in Manassas, VA in 2009.
His story is a heart-wrenching one. I don’t know all the details of his life before he came to live with me. He was bred for hunting. His owner – the hunter – died leaving his wife with dogs that were useless to her. After locking the dogs in crates without food or water, she literally put them out with the trash. Ash was rescued in Kentucky along with his sister. They were left outside tied to trashcans for many days, possibly weeks. A concerned neighbor called animal control notifying them that the dogs were tied there and living off of the trash.
Ash was at the rescue for 4 months, one of the longest stays of any dog there. He was an undesirable adoptee – exhibiting overall bad behavior like constant barking, and counter-surfing. Potential owners wanting simply a beautiful pet to add to their home chose to forgo adopting him.
He was 60 lbs when he was rescued and 66 lbs when I took him home. He was not neutered. He knew no basic commands. His muzzle was bloody and raw from self-infliction. He was hitting it repeatedly on the metal door of the crate which he was forced to stay in for hours a day. There were 14 weims at the rescue in a very small enclosure. The noise was enough to drive any person or animal crazy. The caretaker was an amazing woman. She was doing the best she could do for all of these animals. She taught Ash how to sit and was teaching him how to walk on a leash when I got him. She cares about these dogs. I am so incredibly grateful to her for taking Ash in to her home.
The first day he was in my home, he slept for two days straight. In fact, he fell asleep in the car on the 2 hour ride home. There was no more noise. No more crate. I don’t know how old Asher is. His teeth are rotted from malnutrition before the rescue. The vet’s best guess was that he was 2-3 years old in 2009. Most certainly, he does not have a crate. He would become hysterical if I even attempted to put him in one.
After several weeks, he began to heal both physically and mentally. He became a domesticated animal. He started playing with toys and walking on a leash. He was warming up to me. We were starting our new life together. Just a girl and her dog.
The rescue named him Jo Jo. I renamed him Asher. “Asher” means happy. That’s all I wanted for him in his new life with me. Five years later, I would say that I have accomplished that for him. He is now fat and happy. My entire family loves this dog. He’s spoiled with treats and walks and long car rides. He is the center of attention for all of us. When he’s not eating or sleeping, he’s in the kitchen snoopervising (my word) the preparation of every meal.
This is Ash today. He’s manning the kitchen. He’s healthy, happy, and well adjusted. He’s loved completely. What a remarkable difference from his physique 5 years ago, no? I wanted to write this post to encourage all of you to adopt a dog in 2015. Give an animal a NEW life and a NEW home.