Kara N. had just moved 1,000 miles from home with her husband Adam to Fort Walton Beach, Florida for his first duty station in the United States Air Force. “We had always planned on getting a dog for ourselves since we didn’t have any family around, and kids aren’t a viable option with my ongoing health complications. A dog seemed like our perfect solution.
After a brief and disappointing attempt to purchase a pup through a pet store, we decided to search for a shelter dog. At the first shelter, we found a cute Basenji-Corgi mix named Hercules. We talked it over and thought that he may have been the right fit for us, but when we went to play with him one on one, there really wasn’t any kind of a connection. We so badly wanted a dog and were so wrapped up in how cute he was that we applied for him anyway. Due to the private adoption agency’s draconian pet adoption policy, our application for Hercules was denied. In retrospect it was a blessing, because if we couldn’t connect with him there, it would have been such a long road to integrate him into our family.
After that, I went online to our local PAWS website. The first face I saw was Bandit’s, and I will never forget this, because as horrible as it sounds, I thought he was so creepy and immediately thought NO WAY! The pink eye-lid that he has completely grossed me out and I wanted nothing to do with him! I kept looking on the site and found a few other dogs I thought were cute. Later that day I met my husband at the shelter, and of course the very first dog he spotted was Bandit. “No way” I exclaimed, and encouraged him to keep looking at other dogs. He just nodded and gave me an “mmmhhhmm” and I kept going, thinking Adam was with me. NOPE! He was just standing in front of Bandit’s kennel staring and laughing at him.
I tried to call him down the aisle, when he interrupted me to ask the tech what he needed to do to see the dog. I rolled my eyes and went along with it. I must admit, I did think the dog was cute but I wanted to keep my distance. When we met Bandit in the little room, my husband fell head over heels in love with the him. I was ready to see some other dogs when Adam let out a huge laugh. He was rubbing Bandit’s belly, and when he stopped Bandit started “dancing!” He was begging for more belly rubs! It was pretty darn cute. So, again — without asking me — Adam went ahead and asked how we could take Bandit home. We filled out our paperwork, paid his fee, and began the week’s wait for him to be neutered before he could come home to us.
The day he was ready to be released, I went alone to pick Bandit up from PAWS. When I got there, I had asked what kind of a home he had come from. As new dog owners, we didn’t think to ask that when we first met him. They had no idea, because one morning when staff arrived to open the shelter, there was Bandit tied to the front door. Although I wasn’t really a dog person and I REALLY wasn’t a Bandit person, after hearing the sad story about how he was just left, I didn’t know what to do with the guy! I was sympathetic to his plight but also kind of leery, because I didn’t know if his previous owners just dropped him off because he was a problem dog.
I brought him to our apartment then laid down in the living room on the floor and let him explore alone. He ran from room to room for about ten minutes, then came to lie down next to me and rested his head completely flat on my shoulder. That was all it took — I was his! That little sucker won my heart then and there!
She is mine and I am hers.
From then on, Bandit and I were inseparable. The only times I really left the house were to go to dialysis treatments three times a week, so we had a lot of time together. We’d go for walks and spent a lot of time at our favorite activity, watching television together. He became my little side-kick!
One thing Adam and I noticed right away is that we didn’t have to train Bandit at all. He stays right around us and could even be off-leash. He is an amazingly well behaved dog (except when those pesky squirrels invade his kingdom!), so we were shocked that someone didn’t want him. We also noticed that he had no idea how to play with anything. We had bought him all sorts of toys, and his Grandma Susie works at a kennel in Illinois, so although he got more toys in the mail, he didn’t know what to do with them. He would look at them and walk away. Finally, Grandma Susie sent him a Kong Wubba in the mail, and he LOVED it! We got to teach him how to play and now, well let’s just say the word “Wubba” in our house equals toy. He has a few stuffed animals that he’s stolen from me from time to time, but ultimately he loves his Wubbas and goes through one every few months!
King of Wubbaville!
When we got Bandit, I had yet to be diagnosed with epilepsy. A few months after I was diagnosed, I had a horrible seizure and fell down three flights of stairs while taking Bandit out for his walk. I was knocked unconscious from the fall, and Bandit somehow got his leash from my hand and ran off to find someone to help. He ended up convincing a neighbor to come with him, where they found me and were able to call 911. Bandit saved the day!
Since then, if I am going to seize or have had a seizure that day, Bandit does not leave my side. He is amazing. If I am sick and in bed, he is there with me. There have even been times when Adam has had to pry him away from the bed so he can at least get outside to use the bathroom. He is truly my guardian! I’ve since had my doctors declare him a “therapy animal”, so he can live with us wherever we decide to live from here on out. It’s one of the biggest blessings in the world to know wherever we go, he can go too.
When Bandit isn’t busy saving the day, he LOVES belly rubs! I’ve seen dogs that are all about belly rubs, but Bandit makes this an art-form! He can be laying on the couch and if you so much as make eye-contact with him, he’ll roll over just a teeny-tiny little bit and show his belly for a rub. If you look away, he’ll lay back down. So we’ll play a game where we look at him and then look away, look at him and then look away, and it is the funniest thing! Each and every time he will roll over with just a glance!
Bandit also adores in the recliner with his Daddy. When we bought new furniture we were really set on keeping him off of it, but that lasted all of two minutes! I get sent text messages all the time of photos where Adam is confined to the recliner and trapped there “under Corgi orders!” As much as he loves being outside, I really think he’s more of a couch potato.
Now that’s a LOVE seat.
When he is outside, Bandit is definitely King of the place. Our community doesn’t allow pets, but because he’s a therapy animal Bandit is allowed to stay. Everyone knows him and all the little old ladies living nearby just love to shower him with belly rubs and treats! He is a spoiled little guy, but with a face like that how could you not love him?
So that’s the story of Bandit, our little Corgi-Boy whom we love with all our hearts. We can’t imagine what life would be like without him now! We are moving shortly to another station and hopefully we’ll be have a yard for him to run around in. Perhaps we’ll even get him a brother or sister Corgi to add to the family!”