Mary and Bruce Peterson adopted Anna, whose sister, Jenny, was the Petersons’ dog until she had to be put down last year.
Jenny, a 9-year-old miniature dachshund belonging to Bruce and Mary Peterson of Waukesha, died in March 2011.
Last week, the Petersons got Jenny’s sister, Anna. She had been turned over to a vet by an elderly woman who couldn’t care for her anymore.
With the original breeder of the dogs acting as a middleman, Bruce drove to the veterinary clinic and got Anna on the day she was scheduled to be euthanized.
“When the doctor entered the room with the dog, I thought I was seeing things. She looked just like Jenny. I was overloaded with a ton of emotions,” Bruce told me.
The story starts June 21, 2001, when Jenny and Anna and a few more littermates were born to a dachshund owned by breeders Pat and Carol Tesar in Edgerton. The Petersons, who then lived in Kenosha, took Jenny home in September just days before Sept. 11, and a couple from Lake Mills took Anna.
The Tesars, who have since retired from the breeding business, have stayed in touch with many people who have purchased their puppies over the years. This month, they stopped in to see the woman who originally took Anna.
She is now 82, and her husband died two years ago. He had been very attached to Anna, but the wife had difficulty connecting to the dog after her husband’s death. On more than one occasion, most recently on July 8, Anna bit the woman.
The woman told the Tesars she planned to take the dog to the Waterloo Veterinary Clinic. She had become afraid of Anna and was worried the dog would bite someone else.
Barb Smith, a vet at Waterloo, said the law required the dog to be quarantined 10 days after the bite. She held the dog at the clinic.
In the meantime, Pat Tesar contacted Barb to say he had spoken to the dog’s owner, “and if we can find Anna a good home, she’d be happier with that than putting her down.”
Pat went to his records and started contacting the people who had taken the other puppies from the same litter a decade earlier. Bruce Peterson sounded interested in possibly taking Anna. He and Mary loved Jenny and miss her but had not yet bought a new dog.
“We do not have children, so our Jenny was the next best thing. We had her for almost 10 years until she developed some back issues” that left her in severe pain and with her rear legs all but paralyzed, Bruce said. “In March of 2011 we did the humane thing and relieved her of her suffering.”
Home, sweet home
The minute he looked into the eyes of Jenny’s sister Anna, Bruce knew she was coming home with him. The clinic lent him a dog carrier for the ride home from Waterloo. Bruce called Mary on the way home to tell her they were dog owners again.
Anna immediately warmed to her new owners and their home and backyard. The biting stopped. Bruce took Jenny’s collar, which had been in a place of honor in the house along with a tin containing Jenny’s ashes, and he put it on Anna. He retrieved Jenny’s doggy bed, pillow, blanket, bowls and favorite toys from storage. They belong to Anna now.
Anna has most of Jenny’s chocolate brown and tan coloring and her mannerisms, though she does sleep later in the morning. Jenny was insistent about going outside before dawn. The neighbors noticed the new dog and got an eerie feeling that Jenny had returned.
“I said to my neighbor that you don’t get too many opportunities to get your dog back. That’s what it feels like,” Bruce said.
Jenny died too young, he said, “and for us, it’s like we get to finish what we started out doing.”
Call Jim Stingl at (414) 224-2017 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org