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Rugby's Rescue

     I hope that breeders of all breeds read this page.  As it turned out,
Rugby was "the pick" of a Champion sired litter.  The owner was a retired
judge and former Borzoi breeder. This story could happen to any puppy, 
from any litter.  If you say that this could never happen to one of your 
puppies, please read on.

     I received a call that there was a stray dog at a residents home.
When I arrived, I was shocked to see a young Borzoi.  As skinny as these
dogs are, this one was even thinner.  He was elusive, but seemed to trust
the home owner's son.  I sat next to the boy, and after about an hour
of handfeeding him, I managed to get a leash on him.  Almost immediately,
the dog began to scream,and I do mean scream.  He flipped over and over
as though he were being hurt.  I have learned this ploy, over the years,
and simply stood my ground.  I held firmly to the leash, and talked to 
him to calm him down.  After just a few minutes, he did calm down.  He 
would not walk on the leash, but I was able to pick him up, and carry him 
to the van.

     I placed an ad under the "Lost and Found" section of the local paper. 
The ad read, "Male Borzoi, tri-colored".  He had a very nice rolled leather 
collar on, but not one tag to identify him.  It was obvious, to even me,
that this dog was from a well bred litter.  I contacted a friend of mine who
knew someone with a Borzoi.  She came to look at the dog and said exactly 
what I had, that this was a well bred dog.  Actually, the dog was a puppy.
I had estimated his age at about 8 months old.  Turned out he was only 
6 months.  When word got out about this puppy I had all kinds of "doggy" 
people down at the shelter.  I was concerned about the motivations of 
those coming to look, so when no one claimed him, I adopted him.  

     I took him to my vet's before bringing him home.  He was loaded with
worms.  Other then that,he was in fine health.  At this time I only owned
a female Bernese Mountain Dog, and they got along just fine.  About a month
after bringing him home, I received a call at the shelter.  A woman 
claiming to be this puppies breeder said that she had heard about this puppy
through the grapevine.  I had named the dog Rugby.  She described him to a
"T". What I found out later was that most Borzoi breeders remove the front 
dewclaws. This puppy still had his.  Someone who had seen Rugby at the 
shelter noticed this and knew that this breeder left the dewclaws on.  I do
not remember this breeders name, only that she lived in New York.  The 
puppies sire was a Champion from a well known Borzoi breeder.  The man who
she had given this puppy to was an old friend. This man, she said, was a 
retired judge and used to breed Borzois.  Her first Borzoi had come from 
this man's kennel and she was now giving him back the "pick" puppy of her 
litter.  She kept in constant contact with this man, after the puppy went 
to live with him.  She had even spoken to him just a week before Christmas 
and had asked how the puppy was. He never mentioned that his puppy was
missing.  By this time, I had had the pup in the kennel for over 2 weeks.
This man just lived a few miles away from my shelter in the next town over.
He never called any of the local shelters,nor did he think to check the ads
in the paper.  I never found out how he actually lost this pup.  The breeder
was just very happy that I had kept the dog, and cared enough to search for
the original owner.  I did tell the breeder that I would not give this dog
-back to the man.  She not only agreed with me, but she gave me the AKC
registration papers on this pup, and sent me photos of the sire.  Rugby was
never shown, although I had been told by Borzoi breeders that he could
easily have finished his Championship.  He was instead a house dog and lived
a long life.  If it were not for the amount of time that their coats require
to keep them looking their best, I might have gotten another one. His 
personality is different from the "working" breeds I so love,
but it was unique.

     As I stated earlier, this is a true rescue story of a 6 month old
Borzoi from a top breeder. The new owner was a well respected "Borzoi"
person.  This man never made any attempt to find his puppy, and worse,
never told the breeder when he spoke to her.  I wonder what he would 
have eventually told her, had she not heard this story from another 
breeder.  It is difficult for any breeder to know that the new homes 
where their puppies are going are going to be in their best interest. 
Please keep in touch with the new owners.  Share with them your wisdom,
and offer them support at any time in the dogs life.  Remember, you are
responsible for this new life.  

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