Red Rover Deweese

Red Rover's Story

The amazing Red Rover Deweese started his journey at the Southside Animal Shelter in Indianapolis and came to live with Lisa Deweese in May of 2007. Following is the story of his first two days home.

Red Rover in 2010

"Red" was first spotted at the "Pet Fest" (at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds) on May 6, 2007. He was in a crate, as were about a hundred other dogs in the building. Lisa noticed him because of his German Shepherd Dog looks and calm demeanor. His home was the Southside Animal Shelter. Red gave Lisa kisses, just like her previous dog, Jake, used to do. Red was taken out of his crate and Lisa spent a couple minutes with him. She talked with the gal in charge of the shelter, Rosie. Lisa moved on to look at other dogs that afternoon, but the dog named Red stuck in her mind.

The next weekend Lisa, Marg and Bear piled in the car for a trip down to Southside to see Red again. He was playing in a larged fenced area with a few other dogs when they arrived. He was nervous as the worker brought him out of the run. Lisa, Marg and Bear walked around the property with Red. Red seemed very nervous, but very sweet. He and Bear got along great. Lisa decided that this was the dog for her. After a little negotiation it was decided that she would pick Red up in a week, on the 18th. Lisa was going to be on vacation the following week, and she thought this would be a good time to welcome Red into her life.

Lisa left work on Friday and drove down to pick up Red, the dog soon to be known as Red Rover. Following is Lisa's account of the first couple of days they spent together.



I pulled into the Southside Animal Shelter on Edgewood around 3:45 Friday, in hand a collar with a shiny new Red Rover DeWeese tag, and leash. I had jotted a couple of questions down - what does Red like and dislike, do you have his vet records; that list along with my adoption fee check, clipped together with a pen for any other notes I might need to make were in my hand.

Red and Rosie at the Southside Animal Shelter


And, I also had my camera. The paperwork took a bit. All of the women that make this shelter click were busily engaged in their tasks, focused and serious. One woman carrying a towering bundle of neatly folded towels, blankets and rugs proudly announced the laundry was caught up. I rubbed on a sweet kitty with a cast in the top crate of a column as Robin filled in the various forms' blanks. Will Red be an inside or outside dog - he'll be in my bed…I mean inside. Do you have a fenced yard or not - not…he'll be walked every day. On and on. Rosie pulled in to the drive with vet records in hand for all of previous weekend's PetFest attendees, of which Red's was one.

Robin completed the paperwork with the specific dates of shots and neutering. I was presented with the adoption paperwork and two vet folders - one for Red, one for 'Slugo' (his puppyhood name).

It was now time to retrieve Red for the journey to his new home. He was poised in front of a doghouse along the side property line, a respite from his shelter pack, maybe a thoughtful strategy for the impending transition. Rosie took the collar and leash from me and walked across the yard. Red greeted her happily and together they returned to the area near my car. I wanted a photo of Red with one of his caretakers, and Rosie obliged.

We were ready for Red to get in the car but he fearfully resisted. Rosie and Robin picked him up in tandem and pushed him into the crate in the back seat. He stood inside in an unconfident, rounded stance. I got the air conditioning blowing and pulled away.

On the drive I tried to give Red lots of encouraging words incorporating his name a lot. He remained in an anxious trance despite all attempts to calm and assure him. The trip around 465 seemed to take forever. Traffic was horrendous and very stressful. I imagined how Red must have felt...where am I going now, what is next in this life of mine.

Finally in the driveway Red on leash unloaded like a bullet. There was thick drool and foam all over his mouth. I tried to assure him and welcome him to his new house. The kitties couldn't believe it. We made three clockwise trips around my house. Red was extremely curious and sniffed like crazy, occasionally leaning against the leash to reach the rest of an area he needed to more fully sniff.

Each pass around Pie and Luna watched more and more intently with owl-like control. After the 3rd loop Red and I 'made it' past the cats and headed into the house. Red remained on leash and we made several passes through the house. Red's tail was long and low as was his head as he sniffed everything he could.

During one pass he sniffed under one of the side chairs on the sun porch and there was a fast hiss and snap (it was Pie) that must have connected with Red's nose. He didn't yelp or make any sound, only dashed around behind me. I didn't find any blood and tried to comfort this shy dog.

After about the 3rd pass inside the house I changed out of my work clothes, sat down on the floor in the second bedroom and leaned against the red chair. Red nuzzled on me and snuggled up next to my leg. We sat there a while. I petted and assured him this was his home.

  Red Rover Deweese

We moved out to the living room. Red climbed onto his new dog bed and lay down. We hung out there, again me petting him and trying to assure him the best I could.

Marg and Bear-Bear arrived with dinner around 8. She called and suggested I bring Red out for the greeting. Yes it was a wise suggestion as Red proceeded to sprinkle everywhere while getting reacquainted with Marg and Bear since the shelter visit a week before.

All went well - Bear only had to grunt once for Red to back off. The whole first evening Red's attitude was demure and his carriage matched. He remained on the leash and with me wherever I went. He did not touch his puppy dinner.

Red Rover and Bear on the couch  

After our dinner when all of us were in the living room, Red and Bear arranged themselves on the couch and collapsed into sleep, providing several photo opportunities. 'Last outs' was successful. The night-night crating was resisted by Red, but not long after loading up Red was sound asleep.

Red and Bear, his first night home.   Such a big day.  Who wouldn't be exhausted?

Red Rover Comes Into Himself - Day Two

Red Rover stirred as soon as we did in the morning. I opened the crate door and he shot out. Bear and Red Rover shared the back yard morning potty then came in for breakfast and the 'cat can' (the almost empty Friskies can after dividing between the three cat stations each morning). There's now a line up of 3 for the morning 'cat can' ritual. The pecking order was properly followed. Red also was interested in some of his puppy dinner-breakfast. After dog breakfast we all went back to bed. This time Red laid on his pillow on my side of the bed (on leash so I knew if he tried to roam). He happily stretched out and slept another 2 hours. This was a big day for Red Rover. He learned to be patient for the breakfast dishes. He learned more about stuffed animal toys. He spent less time in the house on his leash and received a little more independence 'moving about the cabin.'

A morning stroll around the yard yielded a nice visit with the 2-year-old neighbor twins. Red Rover was a star gentle boy.

A car trip to meet Grandpa was a stressful lesson. After two attempts to get Red Rover to load in the car, he was taken for a calming lap around the house before being wrapped in a towel and picked up. I held him as I sat down into the back seat and he remained very nervous the whole one-mile trip. Grandpa made over him and Red Rover took Bear's lead in enjoying the front yard. We loaded up in the car again from Grandma and Grandpa's house, back to home base. Red Rover's first social car trip complete.

Next we leashed both dogs and walked downtown to Main Street for the annual Country Market art fair. Red Rover has lots to learn about walking on a leash. He weaved in front of us back and forth.

Bear, as always, was quite the attraction, and Red Rover seemed to warm up to the attention. Lots of adults, kids and dogs socialized with them.

  when Red first came home.

To home base again after the market and we had a little lunch and rest on the screened porch. Both dogs lounged enjoying the solitude after the crowds.

Red Rover Deweese, second day home.  

For an entire day Red had not made a noise. He didn't squeal when he was swiped by Pie. He didn't growl or cry when Eddie the dog snarled at him as we returned home from the market. Not one peep.

As we are lunching on the porch we hear Zig the Mig (neighbor dog) out squeaking and yapping. All of a sudden these two loud barks came from in front of us - it was Red Rover! He barked a couple of more times to prove he could do it. Marg and I sat looking at each other in surprise.

Now another car training trip, this time to the dog store. For this trip, we once again wrapped Red Rover in a towel to which he was much less resistant. Once at the dog store he seemed to take much pleasure in Grandmother Bear showing him the ropes. His sniffer was going like crazy again. Okay, this Red Rover is a smart one. We finished at the dog store and Marg said, let's see if we can get him to hop in the car. Sure enough he did! And fairly confidently sat between Bear barking out the window and me at the other window, definitely more engaged.

At some point this day Marg noticed that Red Rover's tail was curly! So for the rest of the day we watched his tail. When he got nervous, his tail would droop. When he reverted to his new confident dog self, Red's tail would curl back up! More photo opportunities, a nap, some people and dog dinner. Again Red Rover did not eat. We lounged with popcorn while watching the Adoption Dog video presented by the shelter.

Another 'this Red Rover is a smart dog' moment. At the dog store both Bear and Red got a chew bone. At one point Red left his in his crate. While we were all taking our afternoon nap Red started pacing a bit so Marg says to him - Red go get your chew- chew.

He looked at Marg, turned and went back to his crate, retrieved the bone from inside, and returned to his dog pillow where he happily chewed away.


  Red Rover and his Chew-Chew.

Red and I eventually called last outs and went back to bed. Crating was much smoother.

He did not like when I turned on the ceiling fan! He started running in circles in the crate. The fan didn't stay on.

Update - Even three years later he still keeps a wary eye on ceiling fans.