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