Growing Family Gallery — we proudly introduce Archie — RESCUE #6

First, let me say that Archie is NOT a Springer Spaniel! Testing positive for heartworm, he was pulled as a stray by a well-meaning ESRA representative in January 2013 from a high-kill shelter which means he surely wouldn't have lasted long had she left him there. I'll never know if she truly thought he was a Springer or if she knew he wasn't but wasn't willing to leave him behind. It doesn't matter, since he is an official adopted member of my family anyway, but I would have been happier had he been a Springer, since I am a bona fide Springer nut.

Not everyone needs a dog like Archie! He is a dog that would qualify for this descriptive behavioral term — he's a "When Pigs Fly dog." These are dogs that, by nature, don't share the Springer trait of "I'll do anything you want if you'll just love me." Most of the time, Archie has his own agenda and complies with my wishes only if it suits him.

One major reason behind my needing to be relieved of the ESRA state Coordinator position that I held until mid-October 2014 was to free up some time to do some serious training work with my little incorrigible Archie. Don't get me wrong, he's not a bad dog — he's just a little stubborn and willful, very unlike a Springer Spaniel. In addition to being a "When Pigs Fly dog" he qualifies for many clichéd similes — he is:

One important thing to know about Archie is that he is "a resource guarder." Lots of dogs develop this habit, specially strays, and it is a behavior that can be successfully managed but never ignored — not for one second! Archie's original very dog-savvy ESRA foster mom had quickly identified his guarding skills and developed a strict protocol for managing his environment to keep his potentially aggressive behavior at bay. One hapless occasion, however, Archie got the upper hand (literally) which ended with the decision that he would not be a suitable candidate for an ESRA adoptive home. Understanding that his positive qualities far outweighed his one serious negative one, I chose to adopt him myself rather than choose an alternative fate. I have never regretted that decision, but I surely recognize that I always need to stay on my toes and any visitor to the King household needs to understand and comply with our very important Archie rules!

I love this little boy but I will admit that I dream of the day when he "gets it" and can be trusted not to be considered a menace by anyone.

One "interim" side note to add to Archie's rescue history:

Realizing from the get-go that Archie would be a "challenge" after the foster home incident that had brought him to my house, another reputable rescue organization agreed to take over his care and rehoming. I personally drove him 4 hours north to his new caretaker and thanked her for her willingness to see the good in the little guy. Imagine my surprise three days later to get a phone call from a total stranger asking if I knew how to contact the owner of the little black and white dog wearing a "hot pepper dog collar" — just another proof that registered microchips are invaluable and get the job done! Unbeknownst to his new caretaker, Archie had escaped while she was at work and was picked up by a good Samaritan 25 miles down the road heading south on the highway! I got back in my car, drove back to Virginia, thanked the nice family for "rescuing" him once again, and brought him home. This time I filed official adoption papers and bestowed "King" on him as his last name — "last" both literally and figuratively.

Assigned birthdate: 12/10/2009