In May 2012, I decided to start looking for a dog. I have previously had a Giant Schnauzer and a Standard Schnauzer, but for the last 15 years or so, I have lived without a dog. I had no experience on rescue dogs, but decided to try and find one suitable for me. I wanted an adult dog – a puppy would have been too much work for me, living alone… I trained my previous dogs, and competed with the Giant Schnauzerher in obedience and working dog tracking. Now, however, I just wanted to have a nice companion and planned to take it day-by-day and start training her “free-hand,” having fun and doing whatever the dog would enjoy 🙂
I had very clear criteria in mind for this dog: a young adult female dog who is used to being alone and doesn’t have separation anxiety. And who has lived with cats, peacefully 😉 Also, I wanted a dog that doesn’t have a strong hunting drive, to have a safe and comfortable companion for hiking.
I started googling, and went through all young female dogs in all the Finnish rescue organizations I could find. There were a lot of them! Dogs from Spain, Bulgaria, Estonia, Russia… I was surprised to find so many volunteer organisations that arrange new homes for rescue dogs – all these people get my absolute respect! Due to my criteria, I needed to find a dog that has been living with people in normal home conditions. So, I could not consider a dog who has been living in a pound – it would have been too difficult to predict how the dog would adapt. Especially with my cats, I did not want to risk having any big problems!
I was prepared to keep looking as long as it would take, to find a dog that feels just right. However, after only a few days (and hundreds of dogs…), one advert on the web page of Elämä Koirille ry really got my attention: http://www.elamakoirille.fi/index.php?option=com_sobipro&pid=65&sid=591:una&catid=&Itemid=141 . I wrote an email to the contact person who directed me to Una’s current caretaker, Anna. I wrote to her and asked more about Una.
Anna is working at a vet clinic, where people sometimes leave their pets when they don’t want them anymore. Una was left at the clinic in September 2011. They did not even see the people who brought her, just found a dog in the hallway. Una’s weight was 13kg (and now 24kg, and she is pretty slim!). Her nails were about 3-4 cm long – nobody took her for a walk for a very long time, she lived somewhere without food, water and walks… Anna said she can not even imagine how she managed to survive.
All the vets in the clinic made a conclusion that Una’s growth period was not bad at all – she had no rickets (rachitis, riisitauti) at all, her bones were absolutely OK. They think maybe her owner died or something else like that, and Una was left in a bad environment. The vets think Una’s malnutrition period was not very long.
After bathing Una they checked her state of health and made a blood analysis. Everything was quite well. They began feeding her to gain weight. After 1-2 days Una started to drink a lot and to pee a lot, every hour, on the floor. So, they made another blood analysis and found out Addison’s syndrome – the adrenal glands had stopped working. They had to order medicine from Spain! Luckily, they got it and after 2 months of treatment Una’s adrenal glands began to work very well. After this she became quite healthy, and they vaccinated and sterilized her in January.
Anna had been living with Una in the very center of St Petersburg, where the biggest problem is the lack of recreational areas for dogs. Anna has travelled in Finland and said she is doing her best to find a home for Una here, because we have a lot of opportunities for dogs to have a good time!
So, after discussing Una and what kind of life I could give her, I was more than happy to make a decision to adopt her. And, luckily for me, Anna was convinced that Una would be happy with me and I could start preparing for a new family member!