Rayna 101: Meet Savannah – Our Ridgy Ridgeback Hound Mix

If you follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you probably already know that Christian and I have added a new member to our family. What you may not know is who she is, how by pure chance she found her forever home and what made us fall in love with her. I warn you now, this is going to be a long one.

Her name is Savannah and she is what the vet referred to as a Mississippi Mutt. In actuality, we don’t know exactly what she is but do know that she’s a mix between a Rhodesian Ridgeback, a Coonhound and who knows what else. She’s a mix of awesome. Seriously.

Savannah, the ridgeback hound mix

Before we go any farther, let’s go back a week before finding her. A few days before leaving on our road trip, Christian and I were sitting in his mom’s kitchen discussing getting a dog. We both agreed that we weren’t ready for the responsibility of one and that we weren’t going to go get one. One would find us. They always do, hence our four cats. We discussed that even though we love very large dogs, we’d want them to be big enough to hike long distances, and small enough to travel easily and sleep with us in our tent and car. We’d want one that didn’t shed a lot, so short hair was a must and they had to like cats. Those were our requirements.

Now let’s fast forward to May 14th, 2014. We’re on a road trip and the weather everywhere north of Alabama is disappointingly wet, including all of our favorite climbing destinations. So a few days before we decided to head south to explore Savannah, GA. We had spent the day before running around the city and today was my day, the beach day.

Off we go to the beach and about ten minutes out, I realized that I forgot my athletic shoes. We had planned a beach hike, so I decided we should go back. Then we headed off again but this time we decided to go a different way and that we should stop and get gas. As we pulled up to the gas station I say “Look at that dog”. I pointed to a dog that was walking beside a woman, jumping up as high as her head, trying to get her attention as they both walked across a four lane road. We both assumed it was her dog but as I put gas in, Christian couldn’t help but go say hi. He returns with sad news “That’s not her dog” and then he explained how the dog had followed her husband home, then her to work and she was just going to leave her in the parking lot. We both couldn’t let that happen and we decide to postpone the beach by just a few hours to find a no kill shelter. Apparently those don’t exist  in Savannah and there is also a long list of criteria this pup would have to meet in order to not be put down.

Oh yes, I almost forget. We were also told by another customer at the gas station that this dog had been running across the highway for days and no one helped her. Our hearts sank. We were also told by four different people that it is very common in that part of Savannah for people to breed dogs, sell their puppies and kick the mom dog to the street. And this dog had definitely had puppies. Our hearts sank farther.

So we decided to take her home to Colorado and try to find her a home, or a no kill shelter. But we both knew in our hearts that we had found our dog.

So we stopped at the store and bought her dog food, a bowl, a few toys, some flea killer, more treats that necessary and I named her Savannah. Then we drove to Hilton Head, SC to go to the beach since Savannah, GA does not allow dogs on their beaches.

Look at that smile.

ridgeback hound mix - Savannah dog at the beach in South Carolina
The adventure didn’t end there and still hasn’t. Savannah came with us to Pittsburgh, then to the Red River Gorge to climb before coming to Colorado. She’s now been to seven different states, slept in numerous hotels, tents and in our Sante Fe with us. She’s learned that the cats actually do rule the house and that showing any aggression towards them is a no. She was diagnosed with heart worm, then undiagnosed and determined to be healthy. (update: as of November 2014, our beautiful ridgeback hound mix has been re-diagnosed with heart worm and is currently undergoing treatment). She’s learning that mom and dad dog really will come back, even though she still suffers from anxiety when we leave her alone and searches for Christian every day when he goes to work. She’s learned that she can play with dogs (though she still puts her ridge up and growls, even when she wants to play).  We’ve now had her spayed, chipped and licensed and she’s officially our dog. She has a lot left to learn, like how to walk on a leash without choking herself, that “down” means down whether the grass is wet or not, and that climbing into my lap and chewing on my hair is not the correct way to tell me she needs to go outside.

Christian and I both agree that we didn’t want the responsibility of a dog, we still don’t and that sometimes being a dog owner is a huge pain in the butt. But we also agree that we are so happy that we found her and that we really do love being her owners.  Not only did we find a dog that is the perfect crag dog size, with more energy than either one of us have (combined) with short hair and a good temperament towards kitties, we found one that truly appreciates that we saved her, that looks at us every day with big brown eyes and a goofy smile that says “I love you and I’m happy”, and one that makes us laugh and brings us adventure on a daily basis.

We love you, Savannah and we’re not going anywhere. We are “your people”.

More Photos 🙂

Savannah, our ridgeback hound mix

First Family Photo at Scott’s Bluff National Monument, Nebraska

Ridgeback hound mix chewing on a chalk bag

Savannah stealing our chalk bag while bouldering at Three Sisters.

Savannah's, our ridgeback hound mix

Savannah’s ridge while she’s playing with another dog. I tell people she’s socially inept. We’re working on it 🙂

Savannah, our ridgeback hound mix, cuddling in the car

Savannah sleeping on my shoulder on a road trip. We usually keep her on a seat belt but sometimes we let her come up front to cuddle.

ridgeback hound mix, Savannah dog

Savannah. 🙂

Did you save your dog? Feel free to leave your story in the comments below. 🙂