Sunday, November 06, 2011

It's a Dog's Life

I am an animal lover. I could spend hours at the zoo just staring at all the different animals. Last year Chris and I went to a place called Safari West down in Santa Rosa, California and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Most notably when my neck was nuzzled by a giraffe. A-MAZING! The site of a deer grazing at the side of the road fills me with joy. And I am constantly going "awww" when I see a dog out for a walk with it's owner.

I always wanted a dog growing up. Instead, we had a cat. Don't get me wrong--I loved my cat very much--all 14 years of his life. His name was Sparky, and he was awesome. In fact, after he died I had a hard time sleeping for weeks because I had become so accustomned to his loud purring. He would would sleep on my pillow above my head and he purred like a Harley. But as much as I loved him, I always had that yearning for a dog.
When I met Chris he had told me early on that he could never have a dog because of his allergies. I tried to convince him that some dogs are better for allergies than others, and that even with allergies people generally adjust over time. On July 7th 2002 (our 6 month dating anniversary), Chris wanted to take me to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle. Having lived there his whole life he had somehow never gone up there. Now he was trying to convince his girlfriend that they should. I was DEAD SET against it. As obvious from my previous post about being afraid of heights, going to the top of the Space Needle was pretty much out of the question for me. What made me even more convinced I would not be going up there was the fact that the elevator for the Space Needle is on the OUTSIDE of the building with glass windows that allow you to watch outside as you go up. Not going to happen.
Chris--who REALLY wanted to go--started working his magic trying to convince me to go with him. He finally found my soft spot, and promised me that if we went to the top AND I looked out the whole way up he would get me a puppy someday. Now here was my thought process at the time. I REALLY wanted a dog, but I had also only been dating him for 6 months. As crazy as I was about him, things happen and there was always a chance he would not be around to follow through on his promise. After about an hour of sitting at the bottom and looking up at the giant building I wanted no part of, I had made my decision. Chris and I were a great fit and we really loved each other, I convinced myself that he was the "one" and I would get myself that puppy someday. And so I said yes. I didn't totally live up to my end of the bargain as I only looked outside briefly during the elevator ride, the rest of the time I had my face buried in Chris's chest wishing it was over. Much like my trip to the top of the Columbia Tower last month, it was beautiful (you can go back and read about it HERE in case you missed it). An experience I am glad I had but will likely never do again.

A year and a half later in February 14, 2004 Chris lived up to his end of the deal. He surprised me that morning by telling me we could get a dog and I should start looking for one. We decided almost immediately that we would "rescue" a dog. I went straight to the computer and started my search on I found her almost immdiately. This is the very first picture I saw of her and I was in love from the get go.
Chris--who is not a fan of dogs with bandanas--was a little turned off. After I assured him I didn't think she had picked it out, he softened to her. Those paws, that face and those eyes. I knew she was the one. I immediately called the number for the shelter she was at and was beside myself when I found out she was still there and very much available for adoption. We were unable to go and meet her that day as she was at a shelter in Wenatchee, Washington which was almost 3 hours from us and it was already later in the day. They were closed on Sunday but told us if we wanted to come meet her someone would be in the office and they would let us in. She was not as young as I had originally wanted (she was approx 10 months old) but it didn't matter, I was smitten.

The next morning I was filled with excitement at going to meet MY dog for the very first time. The 3 hour drive was excrutiating, I just wanted to be there already. When we arrived, we were taken back to where all the dogs were. A chorus of barking dogs greeted us as each one of them tried to get our attention. I felt bad for them, knowing very well some of them may not make it out of there, but I had already chosen MY dog. There she was in her little run. Sitting as far away from the door as possible, cowering in the corner and not making a peep. Chris immediately liked the fact that she was not barking like all the other dogs. We were given a leash and directed to a fenced area outside where we could interact with her. As we walked past all the other dogs and even a cat outside, she paid no attention to them. We were thinking how awesome it was that she seemed so unfazed by other animals. We played with her, loved on her and it was confirmed that she was the dog for us. We headed back inside to get the adoption process going. Her adoption fee would be $70, but we were informed we couldn't take her home yet because she needed to be sent to the vet to be spayed. The appointment was set and we were told we could come back and take her home on the 17th.

We made the drive back home and waited eagerly for Tuesday to arrive to head back to get her. Ir was only two days, but for me it seemed like an eternity. On the morning of the 17th the phone rang, and it was the vets office. Immediately our hearts sank thinking something had gone wrong during her surgery. Turned out to tbe the complete opposite. The shelter made a mistake, and she was in fact already spayed. Luckily the vet determined this before they put her under the knife. Excited, we made the 3 hour drive back to Wenatchee to pick her up. She was soooo excited to see us when we got there. The feeling was definitely mutual. We loaded up and off we went with our new dog.

It wasn't till the next day we realized that the calm and scared little dog we had met at the shelter was all a front. She was a smart one and was on her best behaviour so someone would take her home. From early on she was very uptight around other dogs and barked at anything with 4 legs. To this day she has never changed, and believe me we have tried. We have adapted and we know how to deal with her. If she is introduced to a dog properly, the potential is there for a playmate. I even have pictures to prove it.
Leah, Belle and Madison

Belle and Wrigley napping after a hard core wrestling session

Kisses for her friend Canela

Belle and her buddy Titus

For the most part though, we keep her away from other dogs. It is never worth the stress of worrying about her attacking and injuring another dog, or she herself getting hurt. It makes me sad for her sometimes, because I know how much fun she does have when she gets along with another dog. I wish we could take her to open fields and just let her run--something she loves to do--but the risk is always there and it just isn't worth it. She is good with people and kids, so I will take that any day over her being good with other dogs.

Aside from her hatred of other animals, she is a high energy dog who can sometimes be a little much for those who are not dog people. For us, her good qualities outweigh her bad ones. She is a happy, loving dog. She loves to cuddle, give kisses, go for walks, bark at squirrels and go for car rides. She is 8 and a half years old and still acts like a puppy. This makes me very happy. She has been a healthy dog her whole life which is something we are very thankful for. She is a joy in our lives.


Unknown said...

Love the story and the pics!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I love that doggie. If she ever wants to immigrate, please let me know. I'll be her Canadian guardian.

Not gonna lie, I laughed out loud when I read: "Chris--who is not a fan of dogs with bandanas." Seriously? Who has an established opinion on dogs with bandanas? Oh, wait. Chris does. LOL