Once you hear the story of how we adopted her, I think you'll agree with me that Scarlett was a special gift from God just for our family...for years, I have DREAMED of owning a chocolate lab, but never pursued owning one because I worked all day or lived in a small space, so it just wasn't suitable for a lab.
To preface the story, I NEVER look on the the CAP (an animal shelter here in Houston) website, but on a whim, decided to browse the pictures two Fridays ago. I saw Scarlett's picture on there, and read the write-up that she had been found running along a highway (similar to how our other dog, Jack, was found), and she was in the care of a foster mom. I emailed the foster mom, and we ended up talking on the phone for nearly an hour.
The foster mom, PJ, is a big-time animal lover, and she nursed Scarlett back to health for over a week at the animal hospital, then because she was unable to keep her because she fosters other dogs, she has paid for Scarlett to stay at a really nice open kennel for many months while she looked for a home. PJ said she had been dreaming to find a family like ours - a stay-at-home mom with young kids.
Last weekend, PJ brought Scarlett by to meet us, and she was just as sweet as she is beautiful. She is a smaller lab, only about 50 pounds, and doesn't seem nearly as overwhelming as some labs I know. We all felt the meeting had gone well, but PJ just wanted to talk to some trainers to find out if they could help her with some of her rambunctious behaviors.
Since Scarlett had not lived with a family, PJ agreed to personally pay for an intensive training with a renowned trainer here in Houston. This past week, she went through that training, then the trainer himself came to our house this morning and gave us a firehose training on what to do. A bit overwhelmed, and feeling like we had just brought home a newborn, we began our first day alone with Scarlett.
One of the biggest areas the trainer worked with was teaching her to stay in her kennel and how to walk better on a leash. I wish this guy could move in with us for a while, but even today after just spending a few days with him, her behavior was much better and the tips he gave us are definitely working so far. It reminds me of when we put the girls on a schedule in the hospital - they got them started, then all we had to do was just continue the work once we got home. We are keeping her on a lead at all times right now until she learns to completely control herself, but it will pay off soon enough.
She just wants a home to be loved and cherished, and the fact that she came to us with superlative training (which we didn't have to pay for), and we found out that she was born the same month as the girls, made us want her to be part of the Culbertson family!
The girls already LOVE her and aren't scared of her size at all. Her kennel is in our den, so she'll be part of the action right now while she's being trained.
Already today, she laid down right in front of them and then just licked their hands when they reached out to pet her. She seems to love them as much as they love her!