Behind every great dog rescued there is a schnauzer.
Okay what I meant to write is that behind THIS great dog rescue there is a Schnauzer. Yes, it is true that I made the call to bring Tristan into our home and to save him from the shelter. The real story that needs to be told is about the bond between dogs. If the truth be told Tully saved Tristan in so many ways.
First let me clear up a little confusion. Tully came from a double wide trailer in Knoxville Tennessee, he was the cutest thing I had ever seen.
I always had big dogs but I became very smitten with the breed after a elderly schnauzer named Zeke stole my heart many years ago, I have never been quite the same and still miss him terribly. My love of the schnauzer began. Tully needed a playmate so I rescued Maggie from Recycled Doggies and that was to be my dog family. I did not intend to expand my dog family and then sweet Tristan entered the picture. One day my mom informed me that our small town had a two dog per household limit. If I was going to adopt Tristan I wanted to respect the laws and so we decided that my Mom would registar Tully in her name and he would legally be hers but she lives right across the street from me so it works out well, let’s just say Tully is over here a lot visiting and playing with his brother and sister!
Tully is very special to me and he is the lone connection to the person I miss the most in my life. Tully loves to play ball, and I don’t say those words lightly, this dog is crazy about his balls. (Yes, I said it) he will play for hours and never tire. I think my poor mother has been to the chiropractor more than once after an afternoon game of fetch with T-Tull! He has an energy about him and spirit that just makes you smile. He is gentle and easygoing but full of life. When Tristan came home the first night he was wrapped in a sheet as we tried to carry his limp, frightened body up the stairs to the third bedroom, I can’t imagine what Tully and Maggie were thinking I brought home! He stayed in that bedroom for almost two months, he would not venture out and until I knew if Tristan was aggressive I did not feel comfortable letting Tully or Maggie into his bedroom. If you know Schnauzers they talk, they have this very vocal way of telling you just what they think. Tully would go to Tristan’s door an talk to him. Almost as if he were giving him the business to come out of there! I never thought much of it until one day I was in Tristan’s bedroom reading to him and Tully must have escaped the confines of the french doors and made his way upstairs. Tully began his “Awwoooh whooo woooo” talk and I heard a noise coming from Tristan’s crate and it was his tail hitting the side…he was wagging his tail! In that moment it became clear to me that we needed to get Tristan downstairs to be with the schnauzers, to be with me, to be a part of this family.
Saying that and doing that were two different things. Tristan is not a small dog…he THINKS he is Schnauzer, but he is not. He is about 60lbs of non schnauzer girth! First I had to get a harness on him so I could maneuver him around a bit. When I say he can mush himself into a small space, it is unreal how he was able to do this. Heartbreaking when I think what he was hiding from. He did not think the harness was a good idea at all and to try to put a harness on a dog who is just dead weight is like trying to put your bathing suit on when you come out of shower. I spent 30 minutes and I finally got the damn thing on him, I step away from him and turn back, squinting at my work….yep…it was on totally wrong, and he is looking up at me with this look of total disbelief …after all that, I goofed it up! After another attempt or two and finally the harness was on, and my friend Natalie helped get him downstairs (god bless her heart) she had no earthy idea what she was getting into. I think it took about an hour to get him down 12 stairs. I finally was able to get my arms around him and just bear hug carry him down. Safe in his crate, he seemed terrified of his new surroundings.
The first day I did not let the dogs into the area he was in, but the next morning they were able to go visit Tristan while he was in his crate. Tully was amazing, he went right over and laid down just close enough that Tristan could see him and get a good sniff! I decided I would be right there I might as well go ahead and open the door to his crate and see what would happen. Tristan did not move, he would not come out of his crate. I went into the kitchen to get a treat to try to lure him out. When I turned around to head back into the front room I see Tristan still in his crate, and I see Tull sitting right next him inside the crate, booth looking at me like “what?!” one wagging Schnauzer nub, an one big black tail hitting the side of the crate. That was the beginning of the love affair between these two. Slowly Tully has taught Tristan how to be a dog. How to play with toys, how to wrestle, how to take the socks off my feet when I come home from work, how to trust and yes, how to potty outside! Every time Tristan would take a step forward it was only after Tully would have proved to him it was safe. Tully would know when Tristan was terrified, when he was shutting down and would simply go lie down by him, this happened every time without fail. It still happens when Tristan is triggered, when he is pushed a little too far beyond his comfort zone, Tully is right there for his buddy. Tristan is very connected to other dogs, I will write a post in the future about his connection with Journey the other dog that was removed from the same abusive place Tristan came from. Journey and Tristan have their own special bond.
I believe in kismet, in the fate that things that are meant to be can not be kept apart, that people and animals will find their way back to one another if that is where they are meant to be. Tristan was meant to be in our lives, he was meant to show me a new way of understanding, compassion, patience and love. As I finish writing this Tully and Tristan are curled up on the couch together….like they are every night.