Linda in HR: The Potato Dog Who’s Not Having Any of Your Shenanigans

Sara wasn’t planning on adopting a dog in April of 2018, because she was in the middle of writing her dissertation for her Ph.D. But when she saw “just the saddest little face with the one floppy ear” on a rescue organization’s Facebook page, she knew she had to take the dog home.

The rescue dog had originally been found by Burlington Animal Services on a Friday, but she wouldn’t let anyone touch her, so they called HEART (Heaven & Earth Animal Rescue Team) to see if someone would come to get her. If she hadn’t been collected that day, she would likely have been put down, because Burlington couldn’t take care of her over the weekend.

Luckily, a HEART volunteer was able to pick her up and take her to the vet, where it was discovered that she had a broken pelvis and a pin in one of her back legs from an earlier injury. Not much is known about this dog’s history, but Sara theorizes that she might have belonged to an older person living in a rural area, where it’s common not to spay and neuter. When that person passed on or went into a nursing home, their dog may have been left to fend for herself.

HEART posted about their new resident on Facebook, Sara saw the post, and the rest is history. Soon the little mixed breed (mostly Pekingese and Shih Tzu) was on her way home to Raleigh, NC, where she now lives with Sara and three cats: Patsy, Harper, and Betty.

Before Sara even took her newly adopted dog home, she’d already decided to name her Linda, in keeping with the human names of her other pets. The name was a joke born of a scene from the show “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” in which a character freaks out about someone naming their daughter Linda, saying, “That’s not a baby name! That’s a name for an adult woman who works in human resources and says stuff like, ‘Mondays…'”

But after Sara got the dog home, it became apparent that she was indeed well suited to the title “Linda in HR.” The sassy and expressive little creature likes to get into other people’s business and tell people what they can and cannot do.

“She doesn’t like it when people run, so she has to yell at runners,” Sara explains. “She’s the fun police, and so when other dogs are having fun, Linda runs after them and yells at them for it. She’s just opinionated. She’s a lady with lots of feelings and opinions.”

Linda has basically been a little old lady her entire life. Sara says she’s likely around ten years old now, but she looked like an old dog even when they first met, although the shelter claimed she was around four years old.

“I joke that I’ve been saying she was like 8 or 10 for the entire five years I’ve had her,” Sara laughs.

Part of the reason Linda seemed so old might have been because of her poor health. On top of the old leg injury and fractured pelvis, Sara also later figured out that her pet was suffering from Cushing’s disease, an overproduction of corisol that causes increased appetite, excessive thirst, hair loss, and lethargy, among other symptoms. With treatment, Linda has regained some energy and vitality.

When Sara first brought her home, Linda seemed to be somewhat afraid of humans and worried someone would hurt her again. She’s gotten over that now, but she is still, according to Sara, “not a dog that just likes everybody.” She’s all business, so she’s not going to put up with your shenanigans or readily laugh at your jokes. Luckily, however, she accepts bribes.

“Her favorite things are food,” says Sara.

It might not be surprising to meet a dog that loves food, but this one pretty much ignores anyone who won’t give her a treat, even if they’re her biggest fans. Linda, who is a bit of a local celebrity, loves going on a morning walk with Sara around the shopping area near their home, but it’s not to meet all her adoring fans (although they do occasionally meet some). It’s mostly to make her usual pit stops where she knows there will be food for her — and, of course, to sniff every blade of grass along the way.

“There are a couple of different businesses that keep treats for Linda,” says Sara. “We’ll walk past, and she knows what doors they are, and she’ll run to get there. And then she gets to the door, and she’ll just stand there and stare like, ‘This is my stop.'”

But despite her desire to be left alone and her distaste for any creature having fun or not offering her food, Linda has an amazing loving side too that Sara is so glad she stuck around to see. She says “Morning Linda” in particular, is a little more snuggly and friendly than “Rest of the Day Linda,” and she’ll even play with Sara a little bit.

“She’s just a good little potato dog,” Sara says.

You might think it would be hard to get along with such a particular dog, but Sara thinks its the “little quirks and idiosyncrasies” that make Linda the most loveable. She adores being Linda’s person, particularly because Linda is so picky about who she likes, making it an extra-special and exclusive kind of love.

We hope that Linda’s story can be a reminder of the importance of adopting rescue pets and sticking with them, even if they don’t seem like a great fit at first.

“The thing about rescue in general is that the reward of it isn’t always right up front, you know?” Sara explains. “Linda was pretty closed-off and traumatized when I first got her, and so that really makes it even more beautiful and special that now I know I am her person. I know that she is happy to see me whenever I come home. It’s not always the dogs that are super outgoing at first that end up being really great dogs.”

If you give a rescue pet a chance, you might one day find yourself looking at your pet and thinking, as Sara put it, “How am I this lucky, that you exist and that you’re mine?”

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Elizabeth Morey graduated summa cum laude from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI, where she dual majored in English Literature and Spanish with minors in Writing and Business Administration. She was a member of the school's Insignis Honors Society and the president of the literary honors society Lambda Iota Tau.

Some of Elizabeth's special interests include Spanish and English linguistics, modern grammar and spelling, and journalism. She has been writing professionally for more than five years and specializes in health topics such as breast cancer, autism, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. Apart from her work at GreaterGood, she has also written art and culture articles for the Grand Rapids Magazine.

Elizabeth has lived in the beautiful Great Lakes State for most of her life but also loves to travel. She currently resides a short drive away from the dazzling shores of Lake Michigan with her beloved husband.

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