Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Reason for Smiling

My story begins about three months ago when I became a foster home for a Chicago-based organization known as One Tail At a Time.  I had always grown up with a dog, and after being an active volunteer for One Tail I began to realize just how much I missed the presence of a canine companion.  So I filled out an application to be a foster mom, and sure enough I was contacted with a dog that seemed to be a good fit.

I met Emmet on June 1, 2010, and I fell in love with him the moment I saw his big floppy ears and that adorable face.  I was greeted with a wagging tail that stood out among his bony body.  Emmet was very thin.  I could see every bone in him as if there were nothing holding him together.  After spending the week getting to know Emmet, I really got an opportunity to understand him, both in terms of his breed but also what made him that special dog for me.  Emmet is a Treeing Walker Coonhound, a breed that I knew little if nothing about.  When I had first heard he was the dog that was going to come live with me, I decided to do some research to see if I could get some insight as to what I could expect.

No matter what I read online or in books, nothing could have prepared me for what to expect with Emmet.  He is a ball of energy.  I was fostering Emmet for about a week when I got news that there was an applicant interested in his adoption.  My world stopped at the thought of having to give up my new best friend, and at that moment I decided to be Emmet’s forever home.

The adoption was finalized on June 9, 2010, when Emmet got his first official collar and tags with his name and address already engraved.  He strutted around the house like he owned the world, and to me he did.  Not only was I able to provide a forever home for Emmet, but he has made my home and my life complete.  He is that joy that I find when nothing seems to go right in a day, he is the reason I break into a smile, and he is the reason I look forward to coming home.  There is never a dull moment with Emmet around.

Looking back on the situation, it breaks my heart to think that Emmet would have been put down.  He came from a high-kill shelter in the Northern Chicago land area, and if it were not for One Tail and their dedication, Emmet would not have had his second chance at life.  He is still a puppy, slowly learning that he is indeed not a lap dog (although he insists that he will fit on your lap), and he is still trying to perfect that Coonhound bay.  There is not a dog in the world that Emmet doesn't leap for joy at the chance to play with, and there isn't a squirrel that he wouldn't love to chase.

Within the first week of adoption, I took him on his first trip to the pet store to pick out his very first toy.  His Coonhound characteristics must have taken over because sure enough he picks out a goose that honks.  He goes through about one a week, but it is all worth it to see him run around the house tossing his goose around.  Just when you think playtime is over, he brings out the tennis ball for you to throw around, or sometimes even your slipper.  One of my fondest moments of playtime with Emmet is when he chases his own tail, and after five minutes of not being able to catch it he sits down and howls at it.  He is indeed a goofball, but he is truly a joy.

I could go on and on with my stories about Emmet and how great a dog he really is, but in order to truly appreciate him and the happiness he brings to me...well you will just have to meet him.  Thank you One Tail At a Time for the bundle of joy and endless laughter you have brought me through my forever companion.

Kathleen Dutton


  1. Kathleen...thank you for giving Emmet the best home imaginable. You are a wonderful volunteer and an amazing dog mom! Anna, One Tail at a Time.

  2. Thanks for rescuing Emmet, Kathleen! You are totally right, he is such a character and that bay will melt your heart!