Here is a long-overdue update on Vanilla Bean!
First, though, I have to tell my little story: I fell in love with Vanilla
Bean when she first came up for adoption. I lived with her on my screen
saver at work for two weeks as I thought, "should I or shouldn't I?" It had
been over a year since my Sweetie Belle had been put down, the rehab was
done on our house and... it was time. And then she got adopted! Oh No! I
secretly moped for 2 weeks and then moved on... and we adopted Cleveland.
had Cleve for a few weeks when Vanilla Bean was suddenly back on the web
site! I told Michael it was serendipity... she was meant to be with us! I
sent my application that day.
When she first came to us off the plane she was one little bundle of energy!
We had adopted Cleveland from a small rescue in Howell, Michigan, and we
were unprepared for the chaos x2 that ensued. Cleveland is a very laid
back Walker, low key and eager to please. We initially thought they may have
tranquilized him for the ride, but it just ended up being his personality.
Beaner, on the other hand, was everything Cleveland wasn't. She was
healthy... Cleve had every worm you could think of and giardia on top
Bean came with no manners what-so-ever and it didn't take long to learn that
she counter surfed, had the typical hound nose for the garbage can and
wasn't house broken. Slowly but surely all of the throw rugs in the house
disappeared to the dump. We had to gate off the newly carpeted upstairs and
she wasn't allowed to be left alone to roam the house. Her favorite things
and our biggest challenges were keeping her out of the cats littler box and
food (moved to the basement), off the kitchen table (small mousetraps proved
useful), off the furniture (a spray bottle filled with water is always
within reach) and keeping her from peeing whenever she felt like it. ALWAYS
hyper-vigilant to every little move, sound, door squeak or bump in the
night... which our 2 cats provided daily for her. We could never get her to
just "lay down and relax". That's why the one picture I am sending of the
two of them asleep on the floor is so precious!
But in typical hound fashion, she was so lovable and energetic and starved
for attention that it really was a matter of teaching her the "boundaries"
and having lots of patience. Nothing less and nothing more.
I am happy to report that Bean and Cleveland graduated from puppy obedience
school at the end of May! Although food driven to the extreme (no surprise
to us hound lovers) during class, she surprised everyone by being a quick
learner and a perfect miss manners as long as you kept her attention. She is
very smart and a quick learner with anything that involves treats! She now
knows "leave it", "with me" and "go lay down" and although she may not
actually like to DO those things, she will. She especially loves her treats
and Cleveland is no match for this queen of the roost. She will sneak, grab
or just plain take anything she wants that he has and he politely lets her.
The only thing he won't let her have is his cuddle spot on the living room
floor with Michael every night.
She may have more than just Walker in her as she is especially fixated on
any kind of birds she happens to spot. She has treed more than one squirrel
in the yard and can jump 4 feet in the air if she wants that bee or fly bad
enough. We call her our little Mexican Jumping Bean! Their daily trips to
our local dog park are heralded by blasting their arrival and now most folks
know them by name. Bean tries to out run all the dogs but hasn't been able
to beat the giant Labradoodle or Jay, the Grayhound. But she tries!
It has been a long road but she appears to accept the idea that she isn't
going anywhere - finally! She's so funny to watch and so opposite Cleveland
in personality that it's a constant source of joy to just hang out with the
two of them. Every morning after breakfast they have a wrestle play period
that sounds a lot like thundering paws in our small Cape. I think the
neighbors are used to seeing me in my bathrobe now with two hounds in tow,
and although I have had Walkers almost my whole adult life, I have finally
figured out to buy my toys at the dollar store. How DO they fit ALL that
white stuff in those small spaces? Michael teases me that PetSmart called
and my loan has been approved. But I am so much happier with a dog(s) in my
life than without and I wouldn't trade either of them for anything. Michael
made an interesting comment the other day while we were at the dog park:
With all these dogs together, you'de think there would be more problems? I
responded that it usually isn't the dogs that create the problems, but the
We are putting in a fence soon, and a storm door with a pet door in it. It
will be nice to see them get to go outdoors without having to be on a leash.
I sold my Camry and bought a crew cab truck so I could tote these wild
children to and fro. And now that they are finally settled in, I look
forward to being able to foster more dogs for the AB&TCR - something we had
to halt for a time so Beaner could have undivided attention.
My heart breaks for every new dog I see on the web site and I look often.
It's sort of a hobby and a mini mind break to jump on and see how busy Jayne
and Molly have been finding homes for all these cuties. I often copy the web
addresses and paste them into e-mails to send to friends if a pic is
particularly funny or just too cute for words. I work in organ donation,
where bad things happen to good people all the time. At the end of a case,
with the meaning of quality of life fully and clearly in focus, I am forever
grateful to come home to Beaner and Cleve where I get lots of love and
attention tenfold back!
Barbara & Michael