We added a new member to our family today. This is Ozone, a German Shepherd mix, that we adopted from a local animal rescue mission (Murci’s Mission). We were not able to discover much about Ozone’s history before we adopted him, but from what we were told it was clear that he needed a good home with a loving family. Ozone was found wandering in the wild near Nine Mile Falls in Washington.
While it was impossible to know exactly how long he had been on his own it was clear from the reports that led to his capture that he had been out in the woods for at least three or four weeks. He is an intelligent dog and managed to elude for some time before they were able to finally secure him. It does seem probable that he was abandoned instead of being born in the wild or simply getting lost for a couple of reasons. First, when he was finally captured, he was not afraid of people and was willing to socialize with them. This, along with a rudimentary understanding of the sit command, made it clear that he had past dealings with humans, and someone had made an attempt at basic training with him. Second, Washington State requires that all rescues be held for thirty days an attempt be made to find any previous owners before the pet can be adopted out to a new family. In Ozone’s case that period passed without anyone claiming him and all attempts to locate an owner near Nine Mile Falls resulted in failure. No one came forward claiming that he was their pet, nor did anyone claim that they had seen him around any neighborhoods. It is possible that he wandered away from his family, but it does not seem that they tried very hard to find him if that was the case. Regardless of his background, however, Ozone has a home now and my entire family has fallen for him
In the several hours that he has been in our home he has proven to be intelligent, well-behaved, and friendly to a fault. In his time with the mission he has learned several commands, been trained for leash walking, and, of course, crate commands. I spent most of the afternoon with him and found that he always responds to the word no, comes when called when there are not any substantial distractions, and that he is very well behaved on a leash. That last part was discovered when I took him on a long walk around the neighborhood shortly after he was dropped off. His ability to follow commands, and take walks, is important I suppose but what is more important to me is how friendly and social Ozone has already proven himself to be.
One of the most profound effects of my long stint of home isolation resulting first from our move to Washington, then a substantially tight job market for social studies teachers in the Spokane region exacerbated by a state funding crisis last year, and finally from a global pandemic this year, has been the loneliness. It is not that I am actually alone, after all my husband and son have been here the entire time. They are both employed full time, however, and spend substantial time outside the home while I spend most of my time at home and lacking a social context for most of that time. I have been in need of a companion with whom I could share my time and affection, and who better than a dog to fill that role. It is, after all, the role that they have been playing for ten thousand years.
In short, Ozone and I needed each other. He needed a home where he could be secure, loved, and fully cared for, while I needed a companion to share my days and break the loneliness inherent in my present circumstance. I fully expect that he will bring innumerable benefits to our home and a brightness to my daily life