At times during your grooming career you will come across a special person or dog that leaves a lasting impression. Fuji and his owner were the ones that impacted me. While I was still working the front desk I had a chance to bond with the little guy. He was a small little Maltese, and his owner was an elderly lady. She loved him and had a deep connection with the dog because her husband had gotten him for her before he passed away. To me, they both seemed like they needed each other.
Fuji’s owner didn’t drive due to age. So I would have my ride to work stop by her house once a month so that I could give him a ride to the groom shop. When I would arrive at the door I always knew what to expect. His owner would answer the door in a duster gown and Fuji would take off running. Due to her age, she could not chase and find him. I got the pleasure of chasing him down, usually finding him under the night side bed table. On some days she would have friends over playing cards with her and they always made a point to tell me how much they disliked the dog. I didn’t find out why until a few years later.
We received a call at the groom shop from his owner. She was being forced into a nursing home and didn’t have anyone who would take Fuji. She asked me to take him and of course I couldn’t say no. I picked him up that day and brought him home. Then things started going bad. We had never seen any form of aggression from him at the groom shop, but as soon as he realized that my house was now his he changed. He started guarding me, viciously attacking anyone who came near me, including my daughter. It got to the point where I feared that she was going to get bitten badly and Fuji had to go.
He lived the next two years at the groom shop. Over the course of that time a couple other people tried to take him home but got the same results I had. During that time, his owner’s daughter had called us to inform us that his owner had passed. We had always wondered why the family didn’t take him. She answered that question for us. The daughter told us that Fuji had attacked everyone, including his owner. It got to the point that no one would touch him, let alone discipline him. He became the ruler of the home.
Over the years he became a sort of mascot for us. We even got a sign to put on the door that said “Warning: Guard Maltese on Duty”. We had all basically given up hope on ever finding a good home for him, and I think he had given up too. Then one day that all changed. While shopping for fabric at the local store, the owner found Fuji’s savior. She was talking to an employee, who was telling his story of adopting a dog. He was a bachelor, a typical large, manly-man. He went to the shelter to adopt a manly dog, and ended up with a tiny little Maltese. He said that dog had become his best friend. She told him about Fuji. He came by the shop to meet him. What we saw was amazing.
Fuji’s eyes lit up! He was running and playing with the man’s other dog. When the man went to pet him and pick him up, Fuji didn’t bite him. He left that day with his new owner, finally. He has been back a few times to get a haircut, and the new owner calls us sometimes to let us know how he is doing. He hasn’t bitten anyone.
I think, in this case, the dog truly picked the owner. Fuji knew what he wanted, and he found it. I love knowing the fact that he is happy and has a home to call his own. There is an owner out there for every dog, and when you see them meet for the first time it is amazing. I will never forget Fuji, or his original owner. I made a promise to her that he would be taken care of. I am proud to say that I kept my promise.