The Joy of Smooching

Posted: May 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
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 By Jennifer Muryn, Associate Dean, School of Business. 

My first posted blog was titled, “How I Met My First Canine Love” and I admit that my first canine love had some ups and downs.  Correction: continues to have ups and downs.  We’re working it out.  And by that, I mean he gets his way- and I modify my life completely.

Allow me to explain.

Duke, my half-German Shepard, quarter German-Shorthaired Pointer, quarter Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon (yes, he was saliva-DNA tested!), looks like a black lab but is anything but, and loves summer.  Specifically the plethora of water options available to lunge at.  From barking at me while washing my car, to barking at the neighbor kids with squirt guns and slip-and-slides, to barking to get access to the garden hose or sprinkler … well, I’m sort of losing my mind, truth be told.  We won’t even go into winter and shoveling.  That truly is another story that involves expensive window replacements.  Ah, but the windows now look amazing.  Again, another story.

Duke is a canine handful.  And I love him.  While losing my mind.

This story is about my second canine love.

ImageA little background: I serve as the president of the board of directors for the South Suburban Humane Society, located in Chicago Heights.  Over the last five years I have had some involvement with this 40-plus year privately funded organization, including fund-raising (at this point many of you are having flashbacks to me cajoling money out of you, Mr. David Pyle, I hope you are reading this!) and operations, including working at off-site animal adoption events.  I volunteered at such an adoption December 3rd of 2010 and was asked if I wanted to handle (hold and tell people about) Smoochie or Rocco.  I smiled when I heard the name choices.  “I’ll take Smoochie, of course!”  The name made me smile and I noticed what a friendly, approachable dog this was (as soooo many of them actually are, including Rocco).  I’m competitive and figured he’d be adopted straightaway and that I’d be able to work with another dog that day, placing someone else in a FURever home.  Pun intended.

He wasn’t.

December 3rd, 2010, outside of the PetCo in Tinley Park there were few people who had any interest in stopping and looking at dogs up for adoption.  It was the start of winter, cold with no snow, and as anyone from the mid-west can attest to, we start comparing the new weather to whatever we experienced the week before.  If this same weather was in place in March we’d all be talking of the coming of Spring.

After three hours of walking, playing and talking up Smoochie, while he was on leash with me, I had to take a biologically necessary break.  I asked someone else to hold Smoochie’s leash while I popped into PetCo.  During the three hours I was with Smoochie, talking him up, him getting petted and not much more, and basically ignoring me, the second I handed over the leash he started whimpering for me.  These were the first sounds he made – and the seeming first awareness he made that I, Jennifer, was at the end of the leash.  Smoochie emitted a high-pitched “hmmm, hmmm , hmmm”.  Re-imagine this as high pitched as possible.

He sounded just like Duke, when Duke knows he can get something and wants to manipulate my mind.  Like water hosed at him.  Or ice tossed his way for catching.  Or a piece of my gourmet, 10-year-aged Asiago cheese.  Or – well, the list is infinite.  And through reinforcement he has learned whimpering pays off big time.

I took my necessary biological break and then returned to handle Smoochie.  The volunteer event was wrapping up.  No one expressed anything resembling a lead on Smoochie.  I was shocked no one seemed to share my amusement at his name or with his gentle persona.  My competitive spirit of having a 100% placement rate (based on two prior dogs!) was crushed, balanced by my growing fondness of this dog.  He had been at the shelter for 6-weeks, a second returned trip.  He was 11-months old and had been in two homes already, mine would be the third.

He came home with me as a foster dog.  And never left.  I’m a terrible foster dog mama.  ImageAnd I am okay with that.

We assume much about shelter dogs: there is something wrong with “them”.  I’ve learned that people take advantage of those who have no voice, assuming no one will ever know their story.  I’ve learned firsthand, through this affable and gentle creature, that love comes in many forms.  Maybe we should be open to it when it presents itself.

I’ve learned The Joy of Smooching.

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Comments
  1. Kristi says:

    Love this Jennifer!!!!! I ended up with my second rescue pup in a similar way 🙂

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