Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today, we heard from vizsla rescue that four vizslas had been found wandering in a desert canyon and needed to be picked up from the shelter. We agreed to help transport them and to foster one of them.

Dennis & Ely
Dennis & Pumpkin

Of the four dogs, the male who became known as Dennis and the female who became known as Pumpkin were in the worst shape. Because of his very poor condition, we decided to foster the male, who we figured would have the hardest time finding a permanent home. He almost immediately came down with kennel cough, and underwent a course of ivermectin to help knock out the demodex mites causing the mange from which, two years later, he has still not fully recovered.

“I can has affection?”

At first this male was believed to be the oldest of the dogs, and in fact, my wife had been calling him “Old Man”; but after our vets examined him, they thought he was probably at most a year or so, mainly based on the good condition of his teeth. (This assessment was corroborated by his behavior once he began to recover his health and his real personality emerged.)  My wife continued to call him “Old Man”, though, until I objected, “He’s 37, he’s not old!” And thereafter “Old Man” became known as “Dennis the Constitutional Peasant”.

Dennis the Constitutional Peasant looking for some lovely filth.

A little over a month after the rescue, Dennis had a meetup with his sister at Fiesta Island, the large off-lead park in San Diego. You can read about this visit here.  The main thing that happened, aside from the reunion shown below, is that as soon as we let him off-lead Dennis took off, escaped the fence, and started running up the road.  We thought he was bolting for freedom, but I quickly found him waiting to be let back into our car in the parking area.  We interpreted this as a “You are NOT dumping me here” moment, and kept him on lead for most of the rest of the visit.

Dennis greets Pumpkin on his first visit to Fiesta Island.

As a foster dog, Dennis had various restrictions. For instance, he wasn’t allowed on the furniture, and he didn’t get to sleep in bed with the humans.

Dennis relaxes with Dada, Tucker, and the late Pooh Bear, on the chaise lounge before its destruction.

Yeah, those restrictions didn’t last very long. By now it was obvious to everyone that Dennis the foster dog wasn’t going anywhere.

The Investigation

Naturally, I was curious as to how four purebred vizslas ended up wandering in a canyon, especially when no one had ever come to the shelter or contacted rescue looking for them. Periodic Google searches never turned up anything, but a few months after we had decided to keep Dennis, I was talking to someone who mentioned that a vizsla breeder in a city near where the dogs were found had passed away not long before. With this lead, I started searching the obituary sections of local newspapers’ web sites for the word “vizsla” and pretty quickly found one, dated a few months before Dennis and his siblings were rescued, which mentioned that the deceased was survived by, in addition to various relatives, their beloved vizslas. The obituary got me a name, and when I searched for that name, I found a web site, part of which was devoted to vizsla breeding. And there were pictures of the breeder’s dogs — lots of them.

Now, Dennis has a few physical peculiarities; he’s a little bit jowly and he toes out slightly, and he has a pretty distinctive look to his eyes and face. I spent some time looking at the dogs in the pictures on the breeder’s site and thought they looked a lot like him, so I formed the conjecture that Dennis and company had once belonged to this breeder. When my wife got home a few hours later, I attempted to show her the site, only to discover that it had been taken down after I found it.

I can’t say for sure where Dennis and his siblings came from; all I have is a theory. But all four dogs have found permanent homes, so for them, the story has a happy ending.  And if that was their breeder whose obituary I found, and who passed away much too young, I can only speculate as to what happened in the months between their death and their dogs’ rescue from the canyon; but I’m sure that somewhere out beyond the Rainbow Bridge they’re playing with the vizslas they used to love, and smiling down at Dennis, Jack, Ely, and Pumpkin.

Now who’s up for a good game of fetch?

49 thoughts on “Two Years Ago Today

  1. Mom is all leaky…

    Fur we all know we LOVE HAPPY tails and tales!

    Happy Sekhond Anniversary of being found!

    PeeEssWoo: Inkhredible transfurmation!


  2. Thank you for sharing that story James. The times that you have mentioned you would one day, I knew that it must be awful. WHY would anyone do this, just because they were to lazy to make a few calls? Do you know what might have happened to the other dogs? You are so good to have taken him and he has given back so much to all of us (thanks to upir stories).

    My constant fear is that something will happen to me and I worry about who will take my dogs and cats. Roscoe would be easy, happy go lucky, small and loves other animals. Daisy not so easy, a pit bull with some dog ageession, lots of orthopedic problems ($$$) and allergies. Also separating them now would devastate them both.

    Hugs to all the Viscosi’s and their lucky pets!


  3. Thank you for sharing the History of Dennis the Viszla. I had mange when I was a pup, but nothing like that and it got fixed up real quick. That Dennis is one lucky dude. It is heartbreaking to think that the breeder died and her beloved pups somehow wound up in the canyon, but a happy ending, right?


    P.S. Would you be interested in fostering a lab puppy just for like 2 1/2 days?


  4. Oh Dennis, this is the best story ever! You found the best forever home. You sure look great now. And of course you should be able to get on the furniture and sleep in the bed…..isn’t that normal?


  5. What a great story. So glad to read about the history of the great dog you now call Dennis. Funny how life sometimes turns out so well for dogs and humans.


  6. Oh, Dennis, I had no idea! You looked so sad back then. And the story about you heading back to your car was very poignant. I am very happy that your story has a happy ending and you have such a great Forever home now!


  7. I have to admit I cried. I was so touched by the photos. I am so HAPPY that they all have found homes to care for them like they DESERVE to be cared for. I think this was tough for you to share, so thank you.


  8. Such a touching story. Glad you found each other. Without you and your wife Dennis wouldn’t be going on his grand adventures and the World would be poorer for it! Bless


  9. Oh wow, me and mom wuz sad and happee to heer your storee. Most of it was happee cuz you has such a happee middul to your storee. Wut a lucky dawg you is to have finded such a grayt forevur fambily. I is glad I can called you an innernets frend. Gived your hyomans lots of kisses tonite from me and da big dawg k?
    Kisses & snuggles-Buddy Dawg


  10. This is a very good story, Mr. V., and we all love Dennis so much! Thanks for telling us all about it. Its good that you learned what you did, most of us get rescues, they are in a shelter being cared for, and we have no idea what their previous life was like. All Stella knew to do when she came, was to sit when told, no other manners of any kind, a maniac on a leash.Yet when she came in with wet feet, she would let you wipe her feet off one by one with real grace. Who knows where that came from.
    I love this girl more every day though, she is a fast learner, and I hope she has a healthy future to look forward to and Dennis as her friend!

    Jo, Stella’s Mom


  11. aww Dennis you has the most beautifuls story!! No wonder why you loves your momma and dadda and families so very muches!
    How far have you come and how lucky you iz.. just the wonderful parents you has is proof enoughs that someone was watching over you all, and I bets they is very happies 🙂
    big BIg hugs.. in a manly way of course!!


  12. Happy Gotcha Day Dennis! What a wonderful story! I am a rescue dog who was sickly once as well, so your story touches our hearts. mom also says that she loves loves loves your name! It sounds like you are set to have a wonderful life with a wonderful family!
    Hugs and Tails Wags,


  13. Happy gotcha day for Dennis for sure. That is quite a story, it makes us sad to think of what the pups must have gone through but oh so happy to know that Dennis’ saga had such a wonderful outcome.

    Tail wags, the OP Pack


  14. Happy Gotcha Day, Dennis!
    Thanks for sharing your story! I am so happy you found your lovely family! And your siblings have great homes too!
    Kisses and hugs


  15. Hi Dennis
    What a touching story.. somehow it was all fate.. The alien chickens masterminded a great plan to get you your home. I had demodectic mange too… it took a few months to recover and heal but I’ve had no real lasting effects from it. Whew.. It’s too bad nothing can be done about the breeders family.. so strange.




  17. Thanks for sharing Dennis’s story. We are so glad that you were there to help with Dennis and his siblings.
    We hope the others have found such wonderful homes as Dennis.
    You can just see what a happy dog he is now compared to then – OK so you have lost most of your home furnishings along the way but what the heck!
    We love you Dennis – happy Gotcha Day!


  18. “but I quickly found him waiting to be let back into our car in the parking area.” *sniffle, sniffle* I’m so glad this story has such a happy ending. You guys are a beautiful family.


  19. As a family of rescue pups, we salute you! What a wonderful story and so glad that you chose the perfect home, Dennis.

    P.S. – Kodiak shares an age guessing story with you. We still are not sure how old he is, but our vet in examining him on the first visit said he could be anywhere from 1 to 7 – a very wide range. It was hard to tell because the teeth were strong, but worn (could have been chewing on lots of rocks, per the vet). The muscles were strong, but there were clear signs of injury (rambunctious puppy or adult with a history)?

    After much debate, our vet just looked up at us and said, “Whatever his chronological age, he sure has a lot of puppy between the ears.” Enough said.


  20. Dennis landed in Heaven, just ask him. About the car thing – when I have to go out of town my dogs will often stay with my son and his family (fenced yard) and if they get the chance to be free in the yard the first thing they do is go sit by my car (I’ll leave it there instead of in a lot). Jeff said that they would sit there all day and night just waiting for me to open the door to take them home☺ I bet Dennis feels the same way.


  21. Grate story!! Good ending!! Ekselent karakter developmint!! A well formed plot without obveeus holes. Now if you jest add a compelling tale bout yer favrite toy I thinks it will be a bestseller. Start thinking bout wich celebritee you want to play yerself in the made fer TV moovee!!

    Yer pal Dozer


  22. Hi Dennis the Viszla Dog,

    That was a very good story. I am a rescue too and these forever homes are such a good thing.

    You asked about the program I attended to rid myself of my destructive techniques. I do not have a card but it was a 12 Step Program for Training Your Human. Step 1 is to get your human to admit they are powerless over entropy in the universe and therefore what’s a little destruction when you think about all that?



  23. Happy belated Gotcha Day, Dennis! We’re so glad you found such a great home. You don’t even look like the same dawg any more. We can’t believe how happy you look in your pictures now.

    Your pal,


  24. Oh, what a lovely story! I’m so pleased to know more about you, Dennis – I never realised you had such an interesting (and sad) past! I really wonder what happened to make you & your siblings end up in the desert like that but as you say, the important thing is the happy ending.

    That picture of you all snuggled up together on the sofa is just so gorgeous!!

    Honey the Great Dane
    ps. we’re being naughty coz my human isn’t really supposed to be typing much yet but we just can’t resist commenting on our favourite blogs! 🙂


  25. Thanks for Dennis’ story James. Great to learn more about him. Lost canyon mutt becomes super blogging dog & world/sace/time travelling adventurer. Who’d have ever thunk it

    Dennis had various restrictions. For instance, he wasn’t allowed on the furniture, and he didn’t get to sleep in bed with the humans.

    I found this statement very hard to believe!!!!


  26. Wow. What a story. I am glad they were found and were placed in good homes. My Charlie dog is a rescue pup. I’m not sure how old he is but I got him when he was about 20 lbs (he’s now about 125) and the only thing on his folder from the rescue shelter said “Where Found: Trash”. I can’t believe someone would throw out a puppy and I don’t know if he has/had siblings. I am just glad we got him. He’s got so much love.


  27. What a wonderful story… it has left me teary eyed… but with a warm feeling inside. Thank God for all of you.. who rescued these beautiful babies! Dennis is one lucky pooch!


  28. I’m the one that picked up the dogs from the Lake Elsinore shelter. They sure were all a sorry sight. Out of the 4 dogs I was most concerned with “Jack”, ( I named after pirate Captain Jack because he had one eye that was partially deformed and sunken). He was very shy and was the lowest in the pack heirachy. He also was the skinniest. Jack had the mange that all the dogs had. Three were picked up right away to new homes or fosters but I gave Jack to my father who is an expert with vizslas and is retired and has a lot of time. I have to say, it took a while but Jack (now named Scooter) is just a shadow of his former self. He slowy came out of his shell and is now trusting, fun and a healthy weight. I don’t know if he would have done so good in another home. My father decided to keep Scooter and they are a great pair. It is a happy ending for all the dogs.


  29. I hadn’t read about your rescue before, Dennis. Thank your Dada for sharing it with us. My miniature pinscher is a rescue also. When we moved, I flew him with me to our new town a few weeks before the actual move. The day I started packing up the temporary apartment to move to the house, he was distraught. I think he believed he was being left behind again. I felt bad, but there was no way to tell him it was okay and he was coming with.

    I once saw a quote that said that for a rescue dog, everyday is Christmas. And I think that’s true.



  30. Mee-you Dennis an Pappaw what a story!! Pappaw yur ALOT like LadyMum. Shee snoopss all over thee Inntynet to get inn fo about fingss. Shee finkss you were on thee rite track an that iss why thee site dissappeered!
    Wee are so happy that Ely, Pumpkin, Jack an Dennis found new fur efurr homess….
    Yur thee bestest!!!!
    ***Hi5-sss*** Siddhartha Henry =^,.^=


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