The story of Doug

January 4, 2016


My dog Doug

He followed my husband home one steamy hot July morning. There were plenty of other people out walking or jogging, but for some reason, this dog wanted to come home with my hubs. I was still lounging in bed about 7am, when I heard the front door open and my husband say, “Boys! Look what I have!” And then, I heard the dreaded phrase every Mother fears . . . “Oh Daddy! Can we keep him?”

That was my cue to scream, “NO!” before I even knew what it was they were wanting to keep, I jumped from bed I tore down the hallway to discover the skinniest, long legged Dachshund I had ever seen.

Doug in the kayak

He was pitiful. Ribs sticking out through his rough fur. The pads of his feet were torn and raw, and the worst thing, there was duct tape stuck around his bony belly where someone had tried to tape him to something.

Our Beagle Lois Lane sniffed the commoner hello, then left him alone, not interested in becoming friends. The long legged dog ate a full bowl of food, drank a full bowl of water, then collapsed on the family room rug. He stayed in that spot for over 24 hours and slept. We woke him and had to carry him outside, but when we brought him back, he collapsed again in the same spot.

Doug and Lois Lane
Car buddies.

That first night, I awoke and thought, “What are we doing letting a strange animal inside the house? He could wake up and eat the faces off my children!” I got up and tip-toed into the family room, where the dog slowly lifted his head. He looked at me with the saddest, sweetest face, almost as if he’d been crying.  I knew then, we had an understanding between us. I would let him stay, and he would never eat my children.

Fairhope Dog ParkDoug was the fastest, happiest dog at the Fairhope Dog park. He grew strong and healthy and loved Lois the Beagle and she tolerated him. The boys insisted on naming him Doug (Dug) after the talking dog in the movie, “UP,” which is a great movie if you haven’t seen it. The name choice caused all sorts of problems with the friends and family we have named Doug and Douglas. We always tell them our dog is extremely handsome, and that makes them feel better.

Fairhope Dog Park - Leslie Anne TarabellaHe was very popular and turned into a sweetheart of a guy. Doug was nervous around loud noises, but most dogs are.

Doug in the car - Leslie Anne TarabellaHere’s Doug all dressed up on his way to Grandmother’s house for Christmas.

Leslie Anne Tarabella Over the years, Doug has let us know how much he appreciates us adopting him. Whoever hurt him when he was a pup left scars and bad memories. He’s still scared of thunder, wind, guitars, sizzling bacon, out of control screaming children (but they bug the stew out of me too) and candles, but who knows what horrors he experienced before he moved in with us? Poor guy!

Leslie Anne Tarabella, Doug, Joe and Lois LaneAnd although this photo looks like Doug really is eating my son who fell asleep on the floor, he’s only snuggling and guarding his little boy. Through DNA testing my husband insisted on getting (YOU DID WHAT? IT COST HOW MUCH?) we discovered Doug’s father was a Vizsla and his mother was (get this . . .) half Dachshund and half Lab. Yikes. So, I was correct in saying he looked like a long-legged dachshund. 

Fairhope Dogs - Doug TarabellaDoug has turned into a fine dog who adores my husband and boys and loves me because I feed him. His best friend is Lois Lane.

Doug and Bob

And that’s the story of Doug.

  • JUst hoped over from Southern Hospitality to read about Doug, with my rescue Dachshund, Rosie, and rescue Bagel (Bassett Beagle), Buddy snuggled in my lap. I instantly got all teary because Doug looks just like our most beloved dog ever who has gone to his Great Reward. What an amazing and joyful story. I am signing up for your blog and getting your new book for sure! Have a wonderful day and stay warm!

    • Hi Roxanne, so glad you found the blog and am so sorry about your sweet dog. Doug is a handsome dog that everyone loves, so I can see how you’d miss your loyal friend. Thanks for signing up for the blog and hope you are also warm and toasty on this freezing cold day!

  • I am sitting here after reading this, just a heart full of mushy goo for Doug and for your family for making him part of you. One dog at a time, as the saying goes, and thank God for a good home for Doug. He has the sweetest eyes.

    We’ve had dogs that just walked up the driveway, skin and bones, and they have been blessings each one.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      What smart pups you have. Doug is known for his looks, not brains! I’ll have to take a look at your doggy-bloggy soon!

  • Ralph Thayer says:

    I like Dug and was present when he went off on the Animal Control lady. Not his proudest moment but for all that he had his good moments. My only regret is that he caused Bob to leave early before we had solved all the world’s problems from the bench in the Dog Park.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Yes, Bob misses the dog park more than Doug. We may have to give it a try again, since Doug has been reformed.

  • You’ve mentioned Doug many times with such a mysterious tone that I’ll admit I’ve been insanely curious to see what this “trouble-maker” was really all about. He looks like such a cutie! I’m so glad you revealed him and his story. Thanks!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      After he got over his anger issues, the naughtiest thing Doug does is to sleep all day on my bed. Always on my side, and always on my pillow! It drives me crazy! I’ll close the door and he knows how to push it open. But these days, that’s as bad as he gets.

  • I love Doug…especially his name. What a great dog! Lucky you.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      The name can be a problem sometimes. He ran away from me once on Valentine’s day right in the middle of downtown, and I realized I was running down the street yelling, “Doug! Come back to me right now! Doug! Come back!” People thought my true love had ditched me.

  • Theresa Orrell says:

    What a wonderful story and wonderful family to have patience with Doug! I too have a story of a dog. After losing my beautiful 14 yr. old Golden Retriever back in August, my daughter saw a golden mix on the Mobile County Animal Shelter website. I wasent ready to get another dog (this was October), but went to see him anyway. I left thinking of all the reasons not to get him, not knowiwng what he had been through, was he trained, etc. But something in me couldn’t leave him. I went back the morning he was available, first in line, and adopted him. It truly is as if someone sent him to me to relief my grief from my other dog. You see, I got him when my last child left home for college and I was truly alone since my husband had passed away. He was my companion for that long. Anyway, this little dog is smaller than my previous dog, 2 yrs old, trained to be in the house and gentle with the grandchildren. They all love him. I look at him every day and ask him where he came from. How could someone leave him outside to stray. He is the perfect dog. Someone was looking down on me I am sure!

    • Leslie Anne says:


      That is a sweet-sweet, wonderful story! I hope you named that dear dog “Angel.”
      Thanks for sharing your experience. Maybe it will move someone else to go take a look at the shelter for a pup.

  • I love this story. Doug is a very handsome fella with the most gorgeous eyes. Rescues are the best.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      You can tell a lot about a man and a dog by looking in their eyes. Thanks Sylvia!

  • This heart warming story with a happy (tail wagging) ending belongs in a book!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Nice thought, but Doug can’t read or write. Thanks anyway.

  • What a sweet, sweet story. Doug was sure lucky to find himself in such a loving and protective home.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      And we were lucky to have him accept our invitation to stay.

  • Well, I love Doug already and am so happy that he landed in a soft spot! Happy New Year!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh yes, he’s got it good!

  • We’ve celebrated Elvis’ birthday every year since January 8, 2006, when our little Elvis (Drew) was born. As we waited for his arrival we and other prospective grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and many friends, gathered at the hospital, could be heard singing a tune or three. We will celebrate Mr. Man’s and E’s birthdays this coming Sunday at Drew’s choice of restaurant…Red Robin…yum! I believe Elvis would like that choice.

    As for pups, Miss Molly had an adverse reaction to the word No! when she first arrived. She still doesn’t like it much, 13 years later. Makes us wonder.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Happy Birthday to your Drew, who I’m sure is a cute lil’ hunk of burnin’ love!

  • Thought I was the only one who still (privately) celebrated Elvis’s birthday. It helps that he shared the day with my paternal grandma, so I always remember hers, too, and that’s my ancestral tribute. I am always a sucker for stories like this, since the only dog-love of my life was also a rescue. He had about eight good years with me/us, and he hated the sound of Volkswagens and motorcycles. He also hated Pedigree canned dog food. I can’t bear the idea of another dog because I can’t take the pain of losing another one.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      When Mabel died, she was 14 years old and it broke my heart. Lois was just a few years old, and she followed me around the house for months because the Vet said she missed Mabel so much and thought of her as a mother figure. So, when Doug showed up, even though she didn’t like the alpha male situation, Lois perked up a bit and eventually warmed up to him.

      I can’t believe I’ve never named a hound Elvis. I’m sure no one has ever thought of that!

  • Great photos, beautiful story with a happy ending.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Love happy endings!

  • Your best post ever, imo. I’m a sucker for a hound dog and this story tugged at my heartstrings. I’m so glad you shared Doug’s story and these great photos. 🙂

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Lorraine. You and I can speak dog language (and Cinderella!).

  • I’m at the office trying to quietly read email’s I should be saving for when I’m home and on my own time, and I busted out laughing at the description of all the things that poor Doug has been through. You are a great puppy momma and I’m sure he is very grateful you chose to let him stay. Your also a very funny writer.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks so much Barrie. Now, get back to work!

  • A tear and then laugh out loud. Great story – well written.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I’ve only written this as a blog post. If I shape it up here and there, maybe I can get a newspaper article out of it! Thanks.

  • What a sweet story. What’s the kennel name and #? I wanna give them a piece of my mind. I was going to take Chow to a “trainer” when we first got him. I went and met the guy. He told me that the dog lives with him for 3 weeks. He scared the #@%^ out of me. I grabbed Chow and made a get away. Doug is so lucky to have a wonderful family like yours.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I don’t know if it was the kennel, or another dog at the kennel who talked ugly words to him, but we’ll never know, will we? When we lived in Marietta, GA, we left our dog (Mabel, may she rest in peace) at a vet’s office we thought was totally safe. We were shocked when we turned on the TV and saw the Veterinarian being arrested for HITTING DOGS WITH A SHOVEL!!!! I was beside myself with guilt for leaving sweet Mabel there! She was our first dog ever and even though we don’t think it the Vet treated Mabel that way, it still broke our hearts!
      I wish dogs could talk.

  • That is such a sweet and sad story! Bless the poor little guy, no telling how he was treated to make him the way he was! I’m so happy he followed your husband home and you came around and let all the guys keep him. Looks like he made a happy addition to your little family. Bless you for keeping him Leslie Anne………..

    • Leslie Anne says:

      How could I say no to a face like that? (and the dog’s pretty cute too!)

  • Rescues are the best companions to be found. I am so very glad you said yes to Doug. We have two rescue companions and have had many more in the past. Every day I try my best to be the person my dogs think I am. I cannot imagine my life without them. DOUG DID GOOD. He trusted his instincts with your husband. He knows good people when he sees them.
    God Bless!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Sometimes, it really does seem like Doug is looking at us and saying, “Thank you!!!”

      Thanks for reading and the nice comment. Dog people are good people.

  • Well, I think Doug is absolutely adorable. I am a sucker for most all dogs.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      He’s a charmer, for sure.

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