Today’s guest Schnauzer is Amos, a Miniature Schnauzer that belongs to a little girl called Bennett. Bennett’s mum Kelley has kindly agreed to share her with us today, which explains Amos’ arrival into the family. It’s a really lovely story, which I am not ashamed to admit, bought a tear to my eye (read it, you’ll see why!)
Amos, Bennett and Kelley’s Story:
In 1979, Santa put a note in my stocking telling me that I could go and pick out any puppy that I wanted from the Montgomery County ASPCA. I was so excited. I remember waking up in the morning and had already decided to name my new dog Bentley. As I pulled into the parking lot with my father, I was so excited! As we walked down the long corridor filled with puppies and dogs I kept looking for the right little friend for me. I walked up and down the corridor but was saddened to find that I just didn’t feel a connection with any of the puppies or cute little doggies some wearing pretty little Christmas bows. As we were turning around to leave, I saw a little house on the property at the bottom of the hill and asked the gentleman giving us the tour if there were more dogs in there. He looked at my Dad and then at me and said, “Well yes honey, but those are the dogs that are either sick, or too old or well that no one has picked for a long time.” Without really understanding why I was saying it, I asked the man what was going to happen to the dogs. Sadly, he looked at me and said, “Well unfortunately, we don’t have the room or the food for them all so we have to put them to sleep“.
As memory serves, I was down the hill and heading towards the building before he got out the word sleep with my Dad and the shelter employee following closely behind. As I walked into the little house, it immediately struck me how much different it was from the main house. The dogs were 2 or 3 to the same cage and some coughing, dirty, just a very sad place. As I walked down the hallway, the dogs weren’t peppy and jumping and trying to get attention. It seemed like a lot of them, the poor things, had given that up. Then I saw him. Tucked under a giant doberman and shaking covered in urine was HIM. As I pointed at him and asked the shelter employee to take him for a walk he and my father both tried to discourage me and get me back into the main building. I was told he was 3 maybe 4 years old, had kennel cough, worms…..You name it. I looked at him though and my Dad knowing me (even at 6 years old) knew that I wasn’t going to give it up. Off we went on the leash and it was like new life was brought back into Bentley. I was in love from that very moment. As my Dad filled out the paperwork, I was hugging him (urine covered and all) and I promised him that he was going home! When we got home, my older sisters who were expecting a little puppy were horrified at the shivering mess that I brought in. Even after a bath, he was still terrified and needed a lot of care and hid under my bed for days. After those initial weeks, Bentley proved to be the smartest, best dog that a family could ask for. There never was a more loyal companion and when finally when he was age 21, blind, almost deaf and really unable to walk, I made the difficult decision to put him to sleep. I remember it like it was yesterday and I will miss him forever. He was a big part of my childhood as my sisters were 6/10 and 11 years older than me. We moved around a lot so he was just a constant. I still have his picture hanging on my wall and every now and then I look at the painting and I still feel his presence.
Fast forward to 2010, my daughter Bennett, an only child had been begging for a dog forever. She had heard the tales of Bentley and wanted more than anything to have a “friend” like that. After a lot of consideration, I decided right before Christmas to go back to the same shelter where I got Bentley and see if we could find her a new little pal. As you can see from the picture of her sitting in the little pet bed in her room, the trip to pet smart was hilarious. She was so excited the night before we left that she couldn’t even sleep. We went and visited the shelter and we saw the little fur-ball below. He was shy and not barking like the other dogs and when Bennett went over to him he walked over tentatively and gave her a little kiss and retreated back into his cage. Being an older dog and not a puppy (they estimate 2-3 years old) and a mixed breed (they thought) of unknown descent, he had been overlooked many times. Nevertheless though, this was the Doggy that Bennett chose. I was so proud of her. She was heartbroken when we had to say goodbye to him that day as opposed to the adoption process in 1979, they needed to check references and approve the adoption. In any event, when we got the call approving the adoption, they also had some exciting news for us..Amos (a name she had selected because her cousin had just starred as Amos Hart in his school play of Chicago) was a pure bred Miniature Schnauzer! When they shaved him they couldn’t believe what was underneath all of that ratted fur. It was so bad in fact that they thought he was 1/2 poodle!
The next day, I went to the shelter to pick him up as Bennett was at school so he could be there when she got home. As Amos and I walked down our driveway to meet Bennett, I took a picture and its just one of those moments that you can even even capture it was so fantastic.
After that, we took him to get groomed (he doesn’t LOVE that haha) but as you can see, Bennett had some fun there and was not about to leave her new pup. She even picked out a couple of sweaters for him and a raincoat…so cute.
In the days that pass, Amos gets more and more settled here, loving car rides and even survived a trip to NYC (where I work) and stayed at a hotel for 4 days and was the most popular little guy in the place by the end of the week! The changes that I have seen in my daughter since we have gotten Amos are some slight and some major. She is more responsible and very cognizant that she has this little dog that is hers forever and its brought out a whole new side of her.
I’m so happy that Montgomery County ASPCA doesn’t euthanize anymore but there are so many shelters that do so if I could tell everyone in the world to go and look for that little diamond in the rough I just wish that they could understand that not once but twice we have found GEMS that were discarded by others.
After talking with some people that understand Schnauzers a lot better than myself, they said that at some of the breeding farms for show dogs where they “create” these dogs if they are took small or too big etc deemed untrainable for show then they are discarded to shelters. Just horrible. It became apparent that Amos was more than likely one of these discarded show dogs because he was immediately familiar with his cage that we got for him when we are not home (we found out he has a tendency to be a bit mischievous if we leave because he doesn’t like to be left alone). He was unaware however of simple household items like brooms, televisions, he even barked at my treadmill when I first went on it. As he becomes acclimated however, I just can’t say enough about how wonderful he is. Sweet, an EXCELLENT watch dog and has an instinctive nature about him where he knows just when you are having a bad day and just need a little nuzzle!
Anyway, I am happy to recount my (long) tale because I see so many people getting bred dogs and even when I started talking about getting a dog there were so many people who warned of getting shelter dogs…”you don’t know their history…there is a reason that no one wanted them etc etc” BALONEY!
Puppies are great and everyone loves them and for some families they are right, but for the McGowan family, we tell our story to everyone and send them to the shelter to find little diamonds themselves! Thank you so much for the opportunity to share our story and please feel free to send it along to anyone that you would like!
Would your Schnauzer like to be famous?
Comment below using your real email address and I will contact you within a couple of hours! Any type of Schnauzer can star in my ‘guest’ spot: giant, standard, miniature, white, black, grey…