side view of Velvet


her early history

INTAKE Posting : spayed Bouvier bitch, about 18 months old

I took Velvet over on 11/09/08, a few days ago, from Dr Jerri Waddington DVM, a friend and fellow rescue person, a vet to whom she was surrendered by a client. The client had bought her over the Internet from a puppy mill (her registration shows kennel names of one of the most notorious puppy mill breeders in MO). Velvet had been a kennel dog for the first 6 months of her life, so she was very timid and shy. The buyer worked with her for 4 months, but became discouraged and therefore offered her to her vet who is an experienced Bouv person. Jerri would have kept her permanently but unfortunately Velvet discovered cat killing, resulting in the deaths of one of Jerri's four cats. We both thought Velvet should be in a catless home.

Velvet is timid with people who are strangers to her. But if a stranger is passive and ignores her, she will soon enough give them a nose nudge from behind. She is apt to duck away from sudden hand movements. But she is a sweet and affectionate dog. She would do well in a home with gentle people who are aware of their own body language and movements. Because young children generally do not have the needed body language awareness , I would not think a home with young children to be appropriate for her : she is gentle but she would be intimidated. It must be a home without any resident cats, preferably also without ferals likely to come into the yard or neighbor's outdoor cats who might come into the yard. I do not place dogs with any history of cat killing into homes with cats because I believe such a dog would always be a risk to any cats.

Velvet is up to date on shots and heartworm prevention. She is apparently a natural spay, ie came to Dr Waddington without ovaries or uterus but also without evidence of prior surgery. She does not come into estrus and cannot get pregnant.

(Later, our private practice vet, Dr Kris Dailey DVM, suggested that Velvet might be some kind of inter-sex. No way to be sure.)

Velvet is about a year and a half old, cropped and docked, black brindle. She is a very nice looking dog, currently in that adolescent stage of having her adult height but not being very filled out.

As of today, 11/15/08, I will want to further evaluate Velvet before I place her. I would entertain contact from adopters who might be interested, but probably won't want to transfer her residence for a while yet.


Update 11/30/08 :

Velvet has made a lot of progress in gaining confidence. She is reasonably trusting of me and she gets along well with my other dogs. I've taken her to the dog park twice now. At first she was very intimidated and stuck to me like glue. But then she started picking out people to approach and be petted by and she started playing cautiously with other dogs.

She will always be on the timid side and that means that her people will have to understand that and accomodate her needs, which includes never being off leash in any situtation in which being scared could put her into danger. She is a very sweet dog and very lovable.

Update 12/23/08 :

Velvet continues to make progress and she is really enjoying life. She plays chase games with some of my dogs and really enjoys doing that. While she is still timid with strange dogs, she does well with familiar ones. She has become trusting with me and enjoys being petted. She is ready for the right adopter.


Update 2/03/09:

Velvet has made a lot of progress in gaining confidence in herself, the environment, and in meeting strangers. We've had a few visitors and I've taken her to the Dog Park and to the Farmers' Market. Each time she has become more and more able to handle the challenges. She has become trusting and affectionate with me. With new strangers, she is able to give partial trust and to accept affection within a short time if the person adjusts their own body language to be passive and non-challenging. She plays well with my dogs and she is happy at home and on walks.

Note : I above gave her age as one and a half, but her registration shows that her birth date was 1/01/07, so she is now two years old.


Adopters note : I do NOT do long distance adoptions and especially not when air travel would be involved.. In addition to the usual reasons, in Velvet's case, she would be terrified by the stress of an airplane ride.

front view of Velvet

a decade later (2019)

her life with me as my own dog

update 3/10/2019

Well , Velvet stayed with me. She was so happy and comfortable here. Our rural environment suits her so well and she is confident in it. She will always be a sensitive soul, timid in any strange situation. So it would have been hard to find the right adoptive home, peaceful environment and patient people.

Velvet swimming in irrigation ditch

Velvet swimming in irrigation ditch, summer 2011
(back in the days when open-ditch irrigation was practiced.)

She's sweet and gentle always.

She gets along with all other dogs because she's always the pack Omega. She has a special relationship with Fox, who is the pack Alpha.

Velvet and Shady playing (Shady is the one with the tail)

Shady (long tail) and Velvet play the wrestling game (January m, 2001)

For several years she was a blood donor in the Community Blood Donor program at the UCD VMTH. She donated 31 times, thus saving at least 31 lives of other dogs. My timid girl has been a hero to other dogs.

She's not very playful at nearly age 13, but she still enjoys her walks, which she can enjoy off-leash because she is reliably obedient.

She often greets me in the morning with a little song, "ger-roo, ger-roo-oooh" while doing her Downward Dog stretch..

It's no wonder that I soon came to love her. She's here to stay.

Velvet portrait on my bed

Velvet , age 12, resting on my bed
(I've let the hair on her ears go fringey because her vet likes that look)

why I will always remember her on Memorial Day

It's so painful to write this. My dear sweet gentle Velvet passed away in the early morning hours of 5/25/2020, Memorial Day. She passed away in the ICU at the UC Davis VMTH, in spite of heroic efforts by everyone, as consequence of what should have been a life-saving surgery.

But here is how I want to remember her :

Here is a link to that same video of Velvet playing with a squeaky ball, having a wonderful time. This is 240 kb, so it won't take very long to load even over dial-up. It will open in a separate window. It has sound, the ball squeaking, so don't play this at the public library . This was taken in October, 2017, so she was almost 11 years old, but still playful. (You may need to download this to your hard drive , then play it in your own video viewing application. On a Mac, Control-click, then save to disk ; on Windows, right-click, then save to disk.)

Velvet's Elegy

Fear no more the heat of the sun,
The long walk's pleasure thus undone.
Fear not the high ranked bitches' wrath,
To touch their toys, to cross their path.
Nothing more can threaten harm,
Nothing more need thee alarm.
You honored me, gave me your trust,
Now, dear sweet girl, you've come to dust.

back to On Her Lost Dogs


site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 1/02/09 revised 2/03/09, 3/10/2019, 7/14/2020
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