Shelter dogs and strays.
Spridget showed up as a couple of months old puppy. She was small (about 15-20 ponds), golden/red, with pointy ears. She was very shy at first, but later decided I was her person. She moved with me twice, but unfortunately died from a blunt force injury (probably a horse kick) when she was a couple of years old. (Spridget, a combination of Sprite and Midget, is slang for the Austin Healy Sprite and MG Midget, which were essentially the same car.)
I went tot the local SPCA/County shelter, and got a male red and white (probably) American Foxhound I named Ariel Red Hunter (named after a 1930s to 1950s motorcycle). You wouldn’t believe how many people were sure Ariel must be a female. Aside from a tendency to wander, he was a very good dog. Even when he became quote elderly (he was old enough to get a driving license) the other dogs recognized him as the alpha dog. When he was 6 or 7 year old, he and two other dogs managed to get into some radiator antifreeze, which is highly toxic. We got them to the vet, not knowing what was wrong with them. They only had two doses of the antidote, which were given to the other two dogs, who were showing more severe symptoms. They gave Ariel IV Vodka, while we went the rounds of all the other (emergency and regular) vet to get more doses of the proper antidote. The ethylene glycol kills by binding with something (I forget what) to form large calcium oxalate crystals which tear apart the kidneys. But the “something” would rather bind with (ethanol) alcohol than the ethylene glycol, delaying the toxic reaction. By the time for the next dose of antidote, we had collected 3 more doses. Ariel was definitely drunk, but he recovered with no long term problems.
A few years later my husband adopted an Australian Shepherd cross from the same shelter. Unlike a full Aussie he had a magnificent fluffy tail. He was about a year old when we got him. I remember that, due to the shelter schedule rules, he had to be picked up on one specific day. My husband couldn’t get off work that day, AND there was a snowstorm. I remember driving VERY CAREFULLY down the narrow back road, with several inches of snow (not yet plowed), and more coming down. But I got there and brought him home. We called him Britten, after a New Zealand racing motorcycle. Unfortunately, he was the first one to get into the antifreeze. We called the vet’s overnight number with his symptoms (excessive urination and lack of coordination) and were told it was probably a UTI and to bring him in the next morning. By then the two other dogs were showing symptoms, so we took them all in. But the overnight delay proved fatal for Britten as the antidote was not in time to prevent irreparable kidney damage. (The third dog, who was my sister’s dog, recovered without further complications.)
Tim then adopted a (just weaned) Aussie cross from a shelter in Maryland. The mother dog had been found at the side of a road with a litter of puppies, all with mange and fleas. When Tim brought him home, Dante had a very pointy nose, very little hair, and a completely bare tail. I rudely said that, with his pointy nose and bare tail, he looked more like a 'possum than a puppy. But he grew a very healthy coat, and was then quite handsome.
After that we started fostering for a different local SPCA (not affiliated with a county shelter) and had a couple of “foster fails”. The SPCA had taken in a pregnant shepherd cross. When she had her puppies were born, they all looked quite different from each other. When the were separated from their mother we fostered “Bert”. He was a complete “Heinz 57 varieties” mix. His head and ears looked roughly like a German shepherd, but he had a very deep body and shortish legs. He had a short, brown and white coat like hound. He was a bit shy, but he got along well with us and our dogs. Tim took him to obedience class and he came in first at the test at the end of the classes. But when we took him to the adoption days he would hide under our chair, and not interact with anyone. We took videos of him playing with us at home, and showed them at the adoption day. But still he didn’t get adopted. So we adopted him and changed his name to Frodo, because he was short and funny looking. We eventually lost him to jaw cancer.
We fostered a black lab/chow called Anabelle that Tim as very attached to, and we probably would have adopted. But he developed (kidney?) cancer, when blind, and died in a matter of a month or so. Tim was so heartbroken he didn’t want to foster any more, but they talked us into fostering Lisa, a white Jindo (taken form a situation where she was chained outside without sufficient shelter or water). “She is small and she is pretty, she will be adopted quickly, and you won’t have time to get attached.” Well, she DID get adopted. But she was very protective of the wife and daughter, to the extent of trying to keep the husband away from them, so she was returned. And didn’t get adopted again. She clearly preferred me to Tim, she would run to me when I called, but she would try to hide when Tim called her, but she was never the least bit mean toward him. And before too long she had bonded to him as well. At that point we decided it would be hard on her to be taken somewhere else, so we adopted her, and kept her name.
When my father died in 2008 we took in his, then 4yo, Samoyed, Terry, and had her into old age.
After Terry, and the other “shelter” dogs died, in 2019, we adopted another dog from the SPCA/county shelter. This was a (estimated 9 yo) red Shiba Inu named Kitsune, which is Japanese for “red fox”. She was picked up as a stray, with a bad skin condition, but had cleary been used for breeding. They were able to find out where she came form, but the original owners didn’t want her back, claiming she was “dog aggressive”. We nicknamed her “Mrs. Grumps”, as she will sometimes growl and snarl at our other (non shelter) dog, but she has not been actually aggressive. She tries to hump our (shelter) indoor/outdoor cat (who uses the extra large dog door), but he doesn’t seem to mind.