Stevie Ray is the baby of the family and was the fourth member to join our pack. Back in 2009 – proud parents of three rescues – we were eager to adopt “just one more”. We thought that the fourth puppy would not complicate our walks twice a day, except to add another leash, and our area had enough space for another rescue to call home. We had not yet realized that as a gang “teenager,” our adopted adoptee had not yet been initiated into the wonders of basic education and would put immediate amortization on this and other plans.
After lengthy investigations, we agreed to adopt from Austin Dog Rescue, a wonderful organization that uses a network of foster homes to help dogs pulled from high-killing shelters. The young dog we came to call Stevie Ray was pulled from a village shelter shortly before the planned euthanasia for what is one of the most easily treated conditions – a case of whooping cough. We immediately fell in love with the sweet, silky puppy, which crawled out of its cage into Melissa’s lap and went home.
An Australian Shepherd / Border Car Mix, Stevie Ray has an all-consuming instinct for shepherding, a high decibel howl that he uses for a variety of situations, a terrifying scream of “prey” (apparently unique to Australians), and a violent case of separation in anxiety. His involvement in a full-package walk immediately led to a prolonged drag over the asphalt and into the bushes and to a spectacular rash on the walker’s path when Stevie Ray saw a rabbit. When he was locked up in the home while the other three were walking, he howled so loudly and pitifully that the only solution was two walks – one for the boys and one for the girls’ dogs.
We were advised to continue his crate training, so on her first day back at work after the adoption, Melissa put Stevie Ray in her kennel in the bedroom, closed the door, and grabbed her keys as she prepared to leave. Stevie Ray immediately started howling, and the other three dogs gathered in front of the door, scratching furiously at the closed door and crying piteously. Finally, almost late for work, Melissa surrendered and opened the bedroom door, unlocked the kennel, and released Stevie from prison, hoping against the hope that she would at least use the dog’s door if she needed a potty in her absence.
When he returned, seven hours later, the house was spotless. Four dogs jumped out of the dog’s door to greet her. The fourth was Stevie Ray – calm, happy, fully trained on a potty – and apparently trained on the “roads of the house” by the other dogs. The kennel was sold on Craigslist two days later.
Now a “young” twelve-year-old senior, Stevie Ray enjoys sitting on Melissa’s lap around a campfire, snuggling in the garden with “his wife-wife” Lulu Bell, playing with “his” Teraband and continuing to rave . His special talents include cleaning empty yogurt containers (plain and organic) until they become flawless and pretend to sneeze on command.