The Name Game
Written by Alice Egoyan (CA, U.S.A.)
Published on: August 18th, 2012
Tiki? Lucky? Kiki? TIKO? What is your name? And you are a boy right? I looked at the paperwork the shelter worker gave me with utter confusion. The only consistent information present was that this little dog was 7 years old, weighed 17 lbs., and was a Pomeranian/Sheltie mix. At least, that was their best guess. The bridge of his muzzle looked very Sheltie-like, and he definitely had the Pom's plumed tail. I had found his video online and brought our 13 year old American Eskimo dog, Lily, with me to meet him. He paid attention to everyone except us at first. People came in and out of the room, some with dogs—most at which he barked or growled. I held Lily tightly next to me. If I saw no sign they were going to get along, then I absolutely couldn't take this dog home with me.
We hadn't planned on adopting a senior dog. Initially, we had actually been searching for puppies. I had always wished I knew Lily when she was a puppy, and we had enough time to care for and train one. But things had changed in the 11 years since Lily joined my family. I found few puppies online from reputable breeders and talked with several workers at rescue shelters. They informed me of the sad statistics. I had been clueless until that moment about how many dogs were left without homes. So after many, many conversations and searching online through Petfinder.com, I finally found a dog that seemed a good match for us. In his video, Pachi dodged a ball thrown at him and desperately avoided a kiddie pool filled with water. When his head was scratched, he had the biggest sweetest smile and his ears—they were big and more expressive than any dog's ears I'd ever seen! He was constantly moving them as though trying to hear everything going on in a 5 mile radius all at once.
In person, Pachi's behavior defied his actual age. He's a lot like Lily in that he has a young spirit: not quite as much energy as a puppy, but a lot more than an older dog. So when he came prancing into the waiting room at the shelter, I couldn't help but smile. As I held onto Lily beside me, one of the shelter workers called him over to us. He warmed up to me after just a few minutes and didn't bark or growl at Lily even once. It wasn't love at first sight, but they were respectful of each others' space. I sighed with relief, because mixed in with my apprehension and attempt to be as objective as possible, my heart was telling me I'd found my baby boy.
I finished filling out the paperwork, Pachi got a dose of flea killer, and they found a leash for me to take him home on. Originally he had ended up at the SPCA as a stray. then he was adopted from the shelter and the people kept him for four years. They returned him because supposedly they were "unable" to care for him any longer. Even though they said he'd been an indoor dog, his physical state said something different: numerous flea bites, rashes, matted fur...all the signs of being neglected. He had only been back at the shelter for a few months when I found him. What happened to him made me angry, but I was grateful that the former owners had at least brought him to a no-kill shelter rather than abandoning him on the street.
We tried calling him Tiki for awhile. We also called him Lucky, but neither us nor our vet considered the name 'Lucky' to be very, well, lucky. Because Pachi was my boyfriend and I's first dog together, I left the naming up to him. He picked the name Kenpachi after a character in the anime 'Bleach'. On the show, Kenpachi laments over not having a name of his own. Though I questioned my boyfriend's logic, the abbreviated name 'Pachi' [pah-chee], really seemed to fit the little guy. He lacked a real identity after being brought in from the street, rescued, and then returned.
I took him to be groomed the day after I brought him home. When I went to pick him up afterward, I watched the smiling groomer bring my baby boy out with bows by his ears. Obviously his identity problems were going to take some work! More seriously, examinations by our vets revealed a dog who was horrified if you touched his paws or back legs. There was a large burn mark on his backside and his dental problems were severe. Pachi had to have 8 teeth pulled that were already loose or decayed beyond saving. He probably never had chew toys or bones to chew, definitely no visit to the doggy dentist. His breath was bad and if we let it go any longer then the decay would've posed a danger to his overall health. So he might have less teeth now, but we can enjoy all his sweet little kisses.
Pachi loves laps, laying with his back legs stretched out behind him and his front paws crossed. He's a cuddler and he'll walk on his hind legs for treats. My boyfriend calls his begging stance the “meerkat” pose since he brings his paws close to his body and stands upright. He also taught him to “stand and spin”, which came to him naturally being a spunky little dog. So far, he's graduated from a 'Shy Dog' course aimed at helping him with his fearful aggression issues. In a mere 10 months, he's come a long way. Like so many dogs that got a rough start in life, Pachi deserved a loving family, a name, and a good home. So little dude, you got it. Forever.Will You Help Rescue Others? You'll LOVE Our Work! Before: scheduled for euthanasia at the pound. After: His new family has a huge backyard!