Saturday, January 17, 2009

ASPCA Success Story of the Week: Mr. Big


The small furry personality at the Ontario, OR, shelter who went home with Sondra Westendorf carried more than his weight in chutzpah. After the two-year-old Yorkshire terrier charmed his mom with a single kiss on their first meeting, he immediately assumed his throne at home.

“Oh, Peter was comfortable with me from day one,” Sondra recalls. “He just decided that he should join me in my recliner and took up his position.”

That was eleven years ago, and Peter turned out to be a pretty particular pooch. “We have all sorts of dog toys, but I could never get him to play with any of them,” says Sondra. Instead, he gained quite a reputation as his mom’s sidekick at work, sitting alongside her when she drove an 18-wheeler.

Sondra remembers, “He loved riding with me and would guard my truck, even from the mechanics, who always seemed to appreciate that my little dog had no problem taking on big jobs.”

At home, too, Peter has a big way of getting his point across. “He stands in front of me and gives a woof,” says Sondra, “and it’s my task to figure out what he needs. I ask him if he wants to go outside and if he doesn't, he just stares at me while I ask another question like, ‘Do you want a treat?’ If I guess correctly, he barks again. That’s how it works around here.”

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