Blue is a clown, a private detective, a night watchman, a backseat driver, a supervisor of fun and games, inquisitive, and affectionate. He can perform leaps and whirls like a pro and is nicknamed “Mr. Pogo Stick Dog” by my daughter, Jen. He awakens with a twinkle in his eye and the day just gets better after that.
But maybe I’d better start at the beginning…A little over a year ago, my aging terrier mix Zapper’s health began to deteriorate rapidly. I could not imagine “home” without him. But knowing that his days with me were coming to an end, I began to think about bringing another dog into my life. I loved the Wheaten part of Zapper’s personality…his clownishness, forever-young energy and naïve sweetness and devotion and I had researched the breed and knew that a new dog would have to be a wheaten….and probably another rescue dog, as Zapper had been.
Someone told me that there was a Wheaten Terrier rescue website. As I read through the stories of Wheatens there who had been placed for adoption, my hopes rose. I called Gwen Arthur, the founder of Wheatens in Need (WIN) in Houston, Texas, and filled out an application. We talked about the unique needs– health, grooming, personality energy level, etc. of Wheaten Terriers.
She told me about a young male Wheaten who was being fostered in Long Island (Calverton, New York) by Joyce Rienzo, and gave me her phone number. Blue had been in Joyce’s care for six weeks and she was falling in love with him, but knew he needed to move on to a permanent home. I wanted him… but he was 1500 miles away. I didn’t know how I would get him to Minnesota… a phone call back to Gwen who said, “This is where I go to work”….I watched in amazement as the emails flew and within days, Gwen arranged for a network of Wheaten lovers strung out from Calverton New York to Wisconsin…all willing to drive a “leg” of Blue’s journey from Joyce to me. There was going to be a Blue Boy WURL.
Someone wisely suggested that Joyce get a disposable camera and that they photograph at each stop along the journey. That allowed us to post a web page of the journey involving so many caring People. The rest is history. Click the map for the WURL story! Now back to Blue’s life now. We have had Blue for 5 months and we think he has settled in quite well as the photos below demonstrate. This is the first Christmas that my daughter, Angie, has not had her Zapper dog at her side since she was ten years old. He died on September 20, 2001 which was a couple of weeks after this picture was taken.
Christmas morning, I peaked into her bedroom door to find that Blue had chosen her bed (instead of his usual spot at the foot of mine), and he was curled up beside her with her arm flung across his back. Zapper would approve… My daughter Tracee and her fiancé, Matt have known Blue slightly longer than I. They moved from Minnesota to New York a year and a half ago. When I found out about Blue, they drove out to Long Island and visit Blue’s foster mother Joyce Rienzo, and Blue. They sent pictures back within an hour. It was love at first sight. This picture was taken when Tracee and Matt were home in Minnesota recently….Blue getting a few strokes out of them lying around before breakfast! When they are home, Blue sticks to Angie and her boyfriend Brad like glue.
They are always good for board games…. Blue using his brown eyes to coax us to play. “Let’s play a friendly game of “throw the dinosaur!”” Brad and Blue both lying on their backs watching movies. They’re enjoying the funny parts of a good movie… Blue begging treats from the kitchen counter….or maybe just getting a back rub with stocking feet… He patiently waits on the bottom step every evening while I work on the computer…this picture was taken “as I type.” I think he was “born to be a Minnesotan”….loves the snow, and is ready to go out no matter how cold….though some trips out are shorter than others! I want to say that Joyce Rienzo’s experience with dogs (and animals in general) and the six weeks of foster care she gave Blue was absolutely invaluable to him.
I believe that the time she (and others who foster these wonderful dogs) invests in them helps to shorten the list of “unknowns’ for those of us who adopt them. I knew about Blue’s personality, his likes and dislikes, things that scared him, and his bad habits (the list was short!) and his strong points. Blue and I have finished 8 weeks of basic obedience training and are going to look into some agility training in spring. We’re students of the Nothing In Life Is Free program which makes him “perform” a bit to earn what he wants and likes—-and he’s eating it up, so to speak!
Considering that the only obedience training he had had prior to that in his 1 ½ years of life was with Joyce, he is doing wonderfully. Is he perfect? No! Does he occasionally revert back to peeing outside his crate? Yep. But very seldom—maybe three times since he’s been with me. Are there days when he acts like he never learned even one obedience command? You bet. (Is he a wheaten?) But the little Irish guy has wormed his way into my heart and he is “my” dog! In 5 months, Blue has truly become a member of the family and its hard to remember life without him! I cannot thank everyone involved in Wheaten in Need enough.
One could say that these People truly love their dogs, and the breed —and that would be motivation enough. But when I see all the faces of the “Blue Boy WURL”, it seems to me that it is so much more than that….it is People caring about other People. They truly do “lend a hand.” Thank you everyone! Sincerely, Lois Wolf and the dog named BlueThanks to all the super WIN WURL volunteers for another stellar job. WIN volunteers WURLed Blue Boy from Joyce Rienzo’s Foster home in Calverton, NY to Cold Spring, MN. A three day WURL with overnights in Pittsburgh and with Tina Thomas in Illinois.