Chester Hampton

Pulled: Sunday, June 26 2011 from Sandy Crest Kennels/Middle Mutts

Adoption commitment: Tuesday June 21, 2011

Scott had to pull Chester Hampton. He had just gotten back from Salkehatchie. I had just gotten back from vacation with my parents and the kids. We were both exhausted, but I had made a commitment to pick him up on the way home.

Hampton thrashed; he screamed (literally); and he bit aggressively (the bite and shake, rather than Cooper’s nips). He was still afraid of us, even after the car ride, even after he was put in a fenced in area. We worried about how we were going to transport him from my parents’ house to ours in Columbia. He had bitten Scott 10+ times already, breaking the skin, and had destroyed a pair of Dad’s welding gloves. And it was Dad who saved the day in the end. He literally lassoed Hampton with a drop cord and got him, somehow, into a pet carrier.

I knew I was making progress with Hampton when, as we neared the end of the drive to Columbia, he didn’t growl at me when I turned around to talk to him. And he finally approached me and let me pet him at the end of the day. By the second, he was transformed. He was jumping into my lap, giving me kisses, following me around everywhere.

He was so friendly and loving with me that I thought I could take him to get him groomed. I carried him in, and he was fine. — until I put him on the metal table. Then, it’s like he was gone. — scared out of his mind. He would have bitten me if I had tried to touch him at that point. Instead, I said, “Okay. Let’s go.” He jumped off the table, followed me to the door, and very gratefully allowed me to pick him up and take him to the car. (Sorry about the drama, Sarah and Susie.)

The same thing happened at the vet. I took him in, he was sitting on my lap, and then I took him back and put him on the metal table. He went into his dark place. He jumped off, hid, snarled and snapped at everyone. I jingled my keys, said “Okay. Let’s go.” Same thing. He followed me to the door, whined for me to pick him up and carry him out. I carried him out to the car, slipped on a muzzle, and took him back in. The ultimate betrayal. /heartbreaking

The vet sedated him so that I could take him to the groomer’s and said that he’d be asleep within 10-15 minutes. I’ve never seen anything like this, but Hampton FOUGHT the sedation. He never went to sleep, even though the drug made him too weak to move. He’d try to lift his head, to look at me, to move closer to me from the passenger side seat. /heartbreaking again

If I didn’t know better, I’d think that Hampton thought he was being put down and was determined *NOT* to die. I was told that both boys had been pulled from the euthanasia room. Maybe that explains Hampton’s fear of metal tables.

I had literally spent half a day cutting out all of the matted hair I could before taking him to the groomer. He was so patient and didn’t even nip me, even when I accidentally nipped him with the scissors. But I needed help. There were still matts, and I knew that he’d have to be shorn completely. Although I miss his long beautiful curls, I’m glad he’s cut short in a way, because the grooming is so traumatic for him. He does look a bit like a drowned rat to me. But, his adoptive mother, Peggy, wrote me to tell me that he’s beautiful. /love

Chesters Gilbert and Hampton were difficult at first, but I’ve never had such devoted and spirited (as in an admirable will to LIVE) little fosters. I adore them.

They remind me of some lines in an article I read, Christie Keith’s “There’s Something About Shelter Dogs.” Keith writes,

“Don’t get me wrong; I’ve loved all my dogs, the ones I brought into this world with my own hands, the ones I plucked out of a wriggling pile at a good breeder, the little one I found running in the road. But there’s something about going to hell and back with a dog that is unlike anything else. You don’t go through that with a dog and not love her.”

Her. Or him. Or them.

Adopted by: Peggy Sudol

Renamed: Romeo, his Middle Mutts name

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