In 2009, when my heart dog Chester was just two years old, he began hosting other dogs at our house. They were homeless and they needed our help. Some needed treatment for mange or heartworm. Some needed surgery. Most were scared and underweight from past mistreatment and neglect. Tippie, a tiny beagle mix with heartworm, was his first guest. Achilles had three legs and the fastest run in Hopkins. Sherlock had major orthopedic surgery and returned to our house a second time after his adopters returned him to the rescue. Chester coaxed a very fearful Moe out from under the deck after half a day. Watson, a basset puppy, was his protege and happily took Chester's howling lessons before being adopted by a lovely family on a farm with young kids and horses. Hercules was like a taller brother. Bruegger, a "bagel"--half beagle and half basset hound--was sweet and adopted by a teacher in Minneapolis.
Chester was a true gentleman, showing his guests where the water and food bowls were, the best spots to sniff in the yard, and how to sit and look forlorn right next to the shelf where the treats were, which of course was the best way to score one. (Scroll through the pictures to see Chester with some of his guests through the years!)
After several more guests (including siblings Bernie and Sunny) a very underweight basset girl named Coco arrived in rescue. She was fearful and walked right next to the walls, as if she was afraid she might be struck at any moment. It was clear she'd recently given birth--she still had milk. But she was sweet, and not afraid of Chester, and let Chester rest his chin on her back. Chester fell in love. We welcomed Coco into our family less than two weeks later and they have been inseparable ever since.
Two months ago, we found cancer in Chester's mouth. He was treated with surgery, but at 14, we did not want to put him through chemo, so part of it is still there. He is extremely arthritic. He can't walk around the block anymore. I often carry him to the mailbox or the fire hydrant so he can get a good sniff. When we walk, he rides in a wagon and we lift him out at the good spots.
The weekend of June 5-6, Chester will be riding around the neighborhood with Coco by his side to raise money for more homeless animals get a second chance at the life they deserve. Secondhand Hounds was built on $5, $10, and $20 donations, and we humbly ask you to consider a donation in celebration of Chester and the rescue dogs he's hosted over the years. Let's keep this good thing rolling.