Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bourbon's Story

Bourbon, Vito, Majestic and I out at Peterson Pits.
Look at how young they all are!!
Mardi Gras always makes me sentimental because Bourbon came from New Orleans. He was a Hurricane Katrina evacuee and so I named him Bourbon Street Saint to uphold his New Orleans heritage. Plus, he is the color of Bourbon :). Gotta love the red dobermans!!

Humble Beginnings

Well there's nothing really humble about Bourbon, he's a more 'in your face' kind of guy. And although he had a rough start (I mean really, who wants to survive a hurricane when they're only like 4 months old?!?), he has come out of it with flying colors (and attitude!). He managed to survive the hurricane with his original owners, and although I don't know much about their situation, it was told to me that they surrendered him because they couldn't take care of him after the hurricane wiped out everything they owned. They did have another older Doberman, but they thought that since Bourbon was younger he would stand a better change of being adopted so they surrendered him. That's definitely not something you hear every day!

Typical Bourbon, always in your business!
The rescue groups down in New Orleans reached out to people across the US to start farming out some of the animals left homeless. So in November of 2005 (just a few months after the hurricane) a few people from Iowa headed down there with a horse trailer full of empty kennels and brought  back animals to various vet clinics and rescues throughout the state. The vet clinic I work at got quite a few of those animals, including Bourbon and a Shar Pei mix that had recently had puppies. At the time I only had Majestic and was interested in adopting another dog. I headed up to the clinic in December to check out the Shar Pei puppies and instead walked out with Bourbon.

A New Leash On Life

I'm really not sure how that happened; he might have drugged me, or otherwise somehow duped me. Once I got him home (and bathed! Whew, was he stinky!) and met his real personality, I hated him :). Maybe hate is a strong word, but I highly didn't like him and thought about returning him. He was young and energetic and had been in a kennel for months. Needless to say he wanted to run wild at top speed with no manners, which is really hard to accomodate in an apartment. I did the best I could and gradually we came to an understanding - it just took about 4 months!

Then of course I fell in love with his quirky personality, but he still wasn't easy. I tried multiple different things with him - obedience, rally, agility, tracking, the list goes on - but he couldn't handle group classes because of the other dogs and he'd much rather track critters than people :). Luckily, we did manage to pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test in April of 2008. It only took us about 4 tries at the test to pass it! Oh, Bourbon. That introduction to a strange dog would get him every time.
Bourbon rocking his jersey!

One thing that we can do together and try to do it whenever we can is tailgate. Bourbon is actually great at tailgating - mostly because there is enough going on that it keeps him distracted enough that he can't focus on other dogs if we came across them. Plus he gets to rock his ISU jersey with his very own name on it. He loves that jersey - mostly because he knows it means tailgating and that means LOTS of game-day food and attention.

Tables Are Turned

While Bourbon is probably thankful he ended up at my house :), I'm also very thankful that Bourbon was brought into my life. He is the reason I searched out and started volunteering with Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus. I've met tons of the awesomest people through that rescue and I'm proud to call myself one of their volunteers. And while Bourbon is dog-reactive on a leash, he is actually the first dog I introduce any new foster to. He is great with other dogs at home and absolutely loves his role as 'foster-breaker-iner'. (That would be my new word for his title! LOL)

Bourbon and Cash sharing a blanket on the couch

Bourbon and Ice chewing on bones together (this is no longer
allowed in my house but Ice was my first foster!) :)

Bourbon and Shaq snuggling on the couch together
(more like Shaq laying on Bourbon!)

Bourbon also made me a much better dog owner. At that point, I had only had Majestic and Freedom as dogs and they were the 'eager-to-please' type of dogs. They didn't even need much training which didn't prepare me very well for the 'tour-de-force' of Bourbon, LOL. But I got my act together and ended up learning tons about dogs and even started an interest in becoming a dog trainer. So I guess my husband can blame Bourbon for my passion of dog training :).

Bourbon is turning 8 this year (in just a few months) and he has certainly slowed down (thank god!) but he hasn't lost any of his fire. He's still just as spunky and ready to fly off the handle as he was 7 years ago! I had no idea what I was getting into when I brought this monster lover home, but so far I have enjoyed every minute of it (except of course those first few months, but who's counting!).

Hurricane Katrina

Bourbon also sparked an interest in Hurricane Katrina for me. I like to read and watch whatever I can get my hands on about the rescue missions conducted down there after the disaster. I have also joined in our local disaster response team for animals because of it. Just look at everything Bourbon has spurred me to do!

Here are the books and DVDs that I currently have, if there are any that you know about that aren't on my list, please send me information! I would love to add to my collection :)

Dark Water Rising, DVD
Pawprints of Katrina: Pets Save and Lessons Learned, Book
Not Left Behind: Rescuing the Pets of New Orleans, Book

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

(translated: Let the good times roll!)

Bourbon is napping in preparation of his good times! LOL

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