Back in the 1990s, kalluna and I founded and ran (out of a tiny house, on a tiny shoestring), Pomeranian Rescue in Denver.
And one December 24th, I got a call. Could I go look at a Pomeranian cross who had been in Denver Municipal Shelter for a month, because if I didn’t take him, he’d be euthanized.
I went out there, and what I found was a miniature version of Pippin, a dog kalluna had had before we were married, who still lived with her mother. He had arrived labelled “timid” and was about to be euthanized for being “aggressive”. I didn’t think he was, and well, it was the day before Christmas and I can either take him with me, or let him be killed. What do you think happened?
He went straight from the veterinary hospital to an adoptive family, but his first placement didn’t work out, and he came back to us within a few days. He spent about a month as a foster dog with us. When kalluna took him out into the yard and picked up a stick for him to fetch, he hid. He was maybe 18 months old, but feeling along his body his ribs had been broken multiple times, and his tail had been broken multiple times. And he was such a good dog, despite everything that he had been through. He was well mannered, he was easily housetrained, he would jump from the floor and land and perch parrot-like on your shoulder if you were sitting on the couch. And he wanted his own person, terribly terribly badly.
The right family turned up, and he spent the drive back to the house (all of 45 minutes) on the daughter’s lap. And that was it. She had a shadow, and he had a person.
In the years since then, we’ve brought three dogs into our household, and we’ve been successful in setting the primary bond for the dog the way we wanted each time. And we’ve been careful to follow Romeo’s Rule. “When you’re bringing the dog home, make sure the dog is in the lap of the target person.”