Meet Stitch Monster | Denver Dog Photography

Christian and I use to joke that it wasn’t up to us if we wanted another dog, it was up to Savannah. You’d hear us say, “when we find the right dog we’ll know because we’ll find Savannah curled up sleeping with them”. We could safely say this because, well…. Savannah is an introvert and so she’s not a big fan of other dogs, so that would never happen. No problem right… right?

Savannah and Stitch Monster Sleeping Together by Dog Photographer Rayna McGinnis
Savannah and Stitch wrapped up in each other.

Well… crap….

Over the last few years, we’ve been a foster family for Life is Better Rescue. Levi (Stitch) was our fourth foster from them. Each of the other fosters were older, about 9 months to 2 years, and we preferred it that way. I’m the opposite of most people. I love dogs, puppies are.. eh. I mean, they’re cute, but they’re also terrorists. If you say otherwise, you either have never had a puppy or it’s been long enough that you’ve forgotten. I was certain of that before adopting Stitch, and now I’m even more certain. Anyways, one of the lovely ladies at Life is Better sent me a message one night and asked if I’d consider fostering him. She knew how much I LOVED black mouth curs and she showed me a photo of his sweet face. I, of course, said yes, noting that we could only keep him for ten days because we were leaving town the following weekend. They agreed and we picked him up. I mean, how could you say no to this face?

denver dog photography - black mouth cur
Stitch sleeping under my chair after we brought him home.

I’m not going to lie, he was a nightmare. I mean, most fosters are. They’re usually dogs who have been abandoned by their owners, or worse, never had owners to begin with. All of ours have had issues, but we’ve helped them work through it. That’s what makes fostering so rewarding, and why we’ve continued to do it.

But Stitch was the worst. He refused to sleep in his crate, crying endlessly, he was reverse house trained and his separation anxiety was the worst case I’ve ever experienced. Yet, at the same time, he was sweet, and cuddly, and so kind to Savannah. He squirmed himself right into our hearts. Two days before we were set to leave for our trip, I broke down. He was amazing, and everything we’d had talked about wanting in a Savannah companion, and he was right there. We both knew he was going to grow up to be an awesome dog, and that any one who ended up with him would be lucky, but more than anything, we hated the idea of those people being anyone but us. So we caved. We foster failed.

We named him Stitch for a few reasons. It was between that and Ohana. Both are from Lilo and Stitch. Stitch is an adorable monster, who can destroy a city in a matter of minutes, but you still feel the need to wrap him up in your arms, then love and protect him. Ohana went with it, because we didn’t really want another dog, nor did we want a puppy, and it was about the worst time ever to adopt a dog. But we also knew that another dog like him was unlikely to come along. By adding Stitch to our family, we were breaking our perfect circle. In the words of Lilo, “Ohana means family, and family means no body gets left behind. This is my family. I found it all on my own. It’s little, and broken, but still good. Yeah – still good.”. It turned out to be the best name ever for him.

Stitch immediately became a part of our family, having a great first road trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park and finding all of his favorite places to ride in the car.

stitch riding in the car with Denver Dog phtographer, rayna mcginnis
Cuddling is Stitch’s favorite thing.

He and Savannah quickly became the best of friends, which is still impossible to believe. They share toys, food, beds and even us. Stitch respects Savannah’s boundaries and has brought out patience in her we didn’t even know existed. She’s been walking around with her Savannah puppy smile for over a month now. We hadn’t seen that in years.

Savannah and Stitch playing at a dog park together.

But he also pulled a major bait and switch on us. About ten days after adopting him, he finally started to get comfortable with us. Our sweet, cuddly dog turned into a barking machine. His zoomies came out, with him terrorizing the cats and us numerous times a day. He began to explore more, he started to “challenge” us when we’d ask him to do things like go to his crate (see photo below) and he essentially became a teenager. I cried, I went through cases of wine, and the one time when he got zoomies at 2 am in the middle of a Walmart parking lot outside of Toledo Ohio, insisted on nipping me while I carried him to the car, threw his water dish (that was full of water) all over our bed  and then spun in circles between our blankets while we tried to sleep, I threatened to put him outside with a sign that said “free to anyone who will take me”. I wouldn’t have done it, and unfortunately, he knew that. But I threatened.

Now it’s been a little over two months since we brought him home. He’s definitely still a terrorist, but he’s training with Noble Beast Dog Training (they have the best dog trainers, ever) a few times a week and he’s making great strides in his training. He knows a ton of commands, has started to learn how to self sooth and we can take him almost anywhere. I took him to Michael’s with me last week and he just laid down on the floor next to me while I took fifteen minutes to pick out a new planner. Not a peep, though there were a few tail wags.

And don’t get me wrong, he’s still a puppy. He still questions our training, gets into things and this dog will eat ANYTHING. But he’s really smart and we know in time he’ll get there.

Stitch monster with Denver dog trainer rayna mcginnis
Stitch apparently likes sour dough bread, digging in my garden and letting me know that when I say “go to your room”, I need to specify I mean INSIDE of it.

In the mean time, I’ve found a solution to my frustration. Okay, you’re right two solutions. One, red wine, obviously. But two, a bow tie. Because you just can’t stay mad at an adorable puppy wearing a bow tie. #bestideaever


black mouth cur wearing a bow tie

Welcome to the family, Stitch Monster. We love everything about you and our hearts have grown at least two times as big since we adopted you. Most of all, we love how quickly you fell into our adventurous life and brought out the best in our Savannah Dog. We look forward to the next 12-16 years with you by our side! <3

Mason family with black mouth cur dogs

Follow Savannah and Stitch on Instagram! 

Rayna is a Colorado Elopement Photographer, but she LOVES dogs and also offers Denver Dog Photography. Contact her directly for details about that!