When Laurie lost her long-time best friend, an independent terrier mix named Angus, after 16 years she was devastated. Just before COVID-19 hit, she started looking to various rescues for a new dog to share her active lifestyle.
With each application, Laurie took her time to respond, but was inevitably passed over. She has a hard time believing that her age had nothing to do with it. Looking for a dog to go camping and hiking may not be common for a woman in her 70’s, but she knew she wanted a friend who was as spry and capable as herself. “I think there’s an element of seeing…silver hair and feeling…she wants a dog to sit on the couch.”
Laurie turned to Craigslist on a whim. This is where she found Tucker, a five-year-old Brittney (spaniel), an athletic hunting dog who loves people, who was spending most of his time in a pen outside.
When Laurie drove out to the Oregon coast to meet Tucker, he immediately settled in next to her on the couch. She knew she needed a dog who would be friendly to people, including children, and dogs, and because Tucker had been socialized in a family with children, he quickly checked off the boxes on her list.
The family took Laurie and Tucker out for a stroll on the beach, where Laurie noticed he was very interested in anyone he encountered with a ball. When he took off to explore, she voiced some concern, as her Angus had been such an independent dog, he was not safe to be off-leash. But, as predicted by the family, Tucker came bounding back and through a mud puddle. “His face was just full of joy and he was in his element, and I was absolutely in love with him,” Laurie recalls.
She drove home and soon received news that another person was interested in Tucker as a hunting buddy. Laurie was crushed. She had already been passed up by a number of rescues. But Tucker’s life as a hunting buddy was not meant to be, and Laurie soon received word that she could bring him home. Tucker had to be lifted into the car, as he never learned to jump up, but rode shotgun next to Laurie the whole way home. They made a beloved memory that day: “On the drive back home a beautiful rainbow appeared and I felt it was a sign from Angus that he approved.“ She wasn’t looking for a replacement for the dog she had lost, but her heart was ready to love again: “each dog is an individual…he was the perfect dog to come into my life after I lost my beloved [Angus].” She says of losing Angus: “my world was so small, I lost my dog and my world got smaller, and when I got tucker it opened up.”
Laurie’s daughter adopted a puppy during the pandemic who ended up with separation issues. While she was searching for a dog-sitter to help out, Laurie stumbled upon Sniffspot. She used the filters to find their favorite, completely fenced property, which is four acres of woods and grass with a small pond.
When Tucker exits the car, he’s off like a flash to explore the perimeter and in true Brittany style, investigate for birds, cropped tail wagging all the way. “It’s been a real godsend,” Laurie says of their favorite Sniffspot, Run - Sniff - Run in Tualatin, Oregon, which is roughly 20 minutes from their home.
At home, Laurie and Tucker enjoy playing ball in the backyard, and strolls by the river on a 30-foot long line. Their experience with local dog parks has been mixed, as they can have crowded entrances full of other humans who may not be paying close attention to their dogs. After a negative encounter Laurie decided they were not worth the stress for her. Off-leash at the Sniffspot, both she and Tucker can relax. “At the dog park, all I can do is throw a ball…there’s no hunting,” Laurie states, recognizing that her bird dog loves the mental stimulation of looking for birds. Laurie says “I was determined to do right by Tucker, so I have found the perfect way for him to get plenty of exercise safely. We are both hooked because I love the peace and privacy of the property also!”
Laurie’s sister, who sadly passed from cancer, needed her help in December of 2021. For five weeks she was able to reserve their favorite Sniffspot so Tucker could exercise in her absence. Her husband has mobility issues, but the fenced property allowed him to let Tucker play ball, run, and sniff to his heart's content, while he watched from the pavilion. Laurie notes that she is grateful for hosts Lynn and Rick helping her husband get set up at the Sniffspot during that stressful time.
Laurie and Tucker’s favorite Sniffspot has also allowed Laurie to socialize more. The pavilion and seating is great for her friends who are less mobile, and they and their dogs gather in the same spot for an afternoon together. A large gate allows clients to drive right into the property, close the gate, and open their car for their dogs to run free. With Sniffspots, Laurie has found a way to help meet Tucker’s needs as well as the needs of the humans in his life.
Laurie had participated in agility with other dogs, and when she brought Tucker home, she quickly solved the problem of him not being able to jump into the back of the car. He also enjoys time up on the bed and couch cuddling with his people. Laurie’s 50-pound lap dog can now be found enjoying her morning coffee with her. After struggling to find a dog she could share an active life with as a senior, it’s obvious that Laurie and Tucker are a perfect match.“There’s just no way to be sad around him,” she says. In the mud, hunting birds, or cuddled on the couch, he’s right where he needs to be.
Sniffspot is a community marketplace that enables anyone to rent land by-the-hour as a safe and private dog park.
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