BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
ESRA’s special “Bonded Pairs”
In 2009 among the almost 1800 fortunate Springer Spaniels rehomed by ESRA were about sixty Springers lucky enough to not only find new love and stability in their lives but also were able to bring along their very own special “security blankets” to their new Forever Homes.
These are the dogs that come to ESRA in what we call “bonded pairs.” In some cases, they are a mother or father with their offspring, sometimes two littermates—either puppies, teenagers, or even seniors— and occasionally they are simply long- or even short-term companions with no blood relation at all but with a well-established bond through their shared life experiences. These are dogs who, even though they may be otherwise well socialized, have come to depend on each other as a survival technique. They seem to rely on one another for their social cues, for confidence building in new situations, and for stress relief from any uncomfortable predicament they may find.
We ’re not talking about simply any two dogs who have come into the ESRA program together, despite the fact that they may be connected by blood or previous family situation. Two such dogs may very well be placed in separate homes so that they may both become “the best dogs they can be” out from the shadow of perhaps one of them that is more dominant. With a bonded pair, it would be possible to place the “alpha dog” in a single home, but the left-behind “beta dog” would have a difficult transition to a new environment. A truly “bonded pair” honestly has a visible cadence that seems to control their every move and their every response to their environment. They deserve to be kept together. Just look at the young boys, California's Buster and Brownie, in this photograph posed in almost identical stances, with the same head cock, completely in tune with one another waiting to see what is coming their way! This is a true bonded pair!
ESRA makes every attempt possible to place these special pairs together in homes where the importance of their devotion to each other is clearly understood. Reports from most of ESRA's regional coordinators seem to suggest that although some potential adopters may come to visit with the idea of taking only one of our special wards home with them, when they witness the unique interaction between two dogs who have this special kind of bond, they very often go home with both of them. Almost as a reward, these special duos seem to provide unique benefits to those who make them a part of their family:
- First, there is that undeniable realization that you have brought not just one, but two dogs, baffled and confused by an unexpected turn in the world they previously knew, to a safe, secure, loving home. What a feeling!
- Second, the adjustment into their new environment is eased simply by the fact that these dogs still have each other. Sleeping together in a whole new world is still sleeping together! Security trumps fear in so many cases!
- Third, having a built-in companion and playmate provides stimulation that reduces boredom, destructive behavior and potential separation anxiety which allows the family the confidence to be away from home while at work or for the day.
Adopting a bonded pair is not the answer for every home, but it's the perfect answer for many. We hope you'll enjoy reading just a few brief stories about some of our recent bonded pair adoptions.
Abby and Chet—happily at home in Florida
Abby and Chet, a beautiful mother and son pair, began their lives together in a mid-west kennel around lots of other dogs but with little human interaction. Their transition to a new home life and learning new social skills was made bearable by what Abby herself— she apparently is quite gifted and articulate — said in her ESRA introductory bio:
“The best thing about all this is that I got to bring my three year old son Chet with me. I am so attached to him that the nice people at ESRA are trying to find us a home together. I do my best to keep him clean and he protects me. We are looking for a Forever Home where Chet and I can stay together.”
ESRA was able to fulfill Abby's dream and today they are happily living together in Florida.
Rem and Lexi — little pups — big devotion!
Just look at these eager faces! Who could resist those puppy smiles?
Not yet one year old, this brother-sister pair found the perfect Forever Family to enjoy their antics and take care of their continued training. Little Lexus is a bit timid and lets her big brother Remington run the show, but they are both full of energy and love. They are a happy, healthy pair and will bring great joy to their lucky new family!
Duke and Earl—living the good life in California
The early days of Duke and Earl, looking here like a pair of matched bookends, are a mystery — they were simply dropped on the doorstep of a kind dog lover who asked ESRA to find them a home. It is assumed they are brothers, about two years old, and according to their ESRA introductory bio, “charming, delightful, comical, and heartwarming are the best words to describe these two loving souls.” They were not “world savvy” however, as they appeared to be frightened by almost everything new that they encountered, including stuffed toys on a shelf! Watching them explore and master their new secure world and teaching them what is expected of well-behaved Springers was first the joy of their foster parents. Today it is their new Forever Family delighting in their companionship, described as “like Double Mint gum — double the pleasure, double the fun!”
Little Sam and Abby—siblings who need each other more than most
Little puppies Sam and Abby were found as strays on the North Carolina coast. Brought into ESRA's care, it was discovered that they both suffered from Onset Juvenile Cataracts and would eventually lose their sight. At the time, young Sam's eyesight had already deteriorated to the point that he relied on Abby as his “guide dog” so the need to find them a home together was even more important.
Could ESRA rise to the challenge of placing not just a bonded pair, but a bonded pair with special needs? Yes, we could and little Sam and Abby are today growing up together in the clean fresh air of the North Carolina mountains!
Amber and Sophie—together forever
These two little girls, who we think are sisters, are the quintessential “bonded pair.” Their introductory ESRA bio read like this: They are like a couple skating in the Olympics together. They know each other's every move and are in absolute tandem while playing. When they run in the yard together, they turn, split to an outward circle and then meet up together at the end of the run—thrilled to be together again!
These little beauties didn't wait long for their Forever Home and now spend their days frolicking in the Florida sunshine!
Arizona's Emilee and Brooke—wondering who rescued who?
These two little sisters got left behind when their home was foreclosed and the family moved on without them. Their first stroke of luck was being taken in by an ESRA foster family. Then along came a guy whose life was also in a bit of disarray after the loss of his beloved Springer Spaniel. He came to ESRA to start the hunt for his “new best friend.” Quite by chance, he ended up with two! Here is what Emilee's and Brooke's new dad has to say about his find: “I got lucky. These two girls have rescued me. I have never known such adoration in my life. They try to out maneuver each other to get close to me." Seems this Forever Family can definitely be called “a bonded trio!”
Ohio's April Shower Springers include these two inseparable sisters
Roxy and Dixie had lost their family and their home but ESRA promised them that they would not lose each other! Petite little Springers, only two years old, they have now found a lucky new family to share their double dose of Springer love!
Huntley and Brinkley — no surprise they are bonded with names like that!
Found as Ohio strays with no names, these two young little boys have shown such a connection to one another in ESRA's foster care that they have been given the names of two men whose names together are iconic. They have different personalities, but make a good team and have found a home who will love them both!
Sherlock and Austin — each other's everything!
Life is looking up for this pair of handsome half brothers. They've lived together all their lives but their lives until now have not been what a Springer should expect to live. Little human contact outdoors, or stuffed together in a crate indoors and left alone for hours. The “together” part was the only piece of that life that was acceptable for them. Now they will have the togetherness in a home where joy abounds for them so their little wiggly rear ends will get lots of exercise!
Janis and Ella — two little girls wanting a home together!
Janis and Ella are just two years old but have already been moved more times than most in a lifetime! They are devoted to one another. They're both a little shy, but now that they have found the security and love they need in their new Forever Home, they are blossoming!