Friday, November 15, 2013

How I Met My Doggie

When Chris and I first started dating back in 2002 and he informed me he was allergic to dogs, I will admit I hesitated a little. I love animals, specifically dogs. When I was growing up I never had a dog. In fact, I had a cat. Yes, I was a cat person. In his defense, Sparky was a pretty awesome cat. From the day we got him when I was 7, he was my buddy until he died 13 years later. After he died, I had trouble sleeping for a few weeks because I was so used to his loud purr. He would sleep above my head on my pillow and his purr was loud like a Harley Davidson. I miss him. But, I digress.

When Chris said he was allergic to dogs, my heart sank. Lucky for him, I kept dating him in spite of this revelation. On our 6 month (dating) anniversary, we were hanging out in Seattle when he asked me if I wanted to go up in the Space Needle with him. Instantly, my answer was no. For those of you who know me, you know that two of my least favorite things are elevators and heights. Put a glass elevator on the OUTSIDE of a building, and the chances of getting me in it are pretty slim. After trying all he could think of to convince me, he had what may have been the smartest and greatest idea in his life. He said that if I went to the top of the Space Needle with him, he would get me a puppy. I was skeptical at first--was he just saying whatever I wanted to hear so I would go up with him? He swore to me he was being serious, and so after about an hour--probably more like a half hour, but my gosh it seemed like three--of fighting internally with myself I decided to go for it. The elevator ride was TERRIBLE! I didn't look outside and fought panic and tears all the way up. I will admit, the view from the top was amazing but once we were back on solid ground I couldn't have been more relieved.

A year and half or so later in February 2004--Valentine's Day to be specific--Chris woke me up by telling me it was time to look for a dog. I was beside myself with excitement! We had decided when we got a dog it would be a rescue, so I immediately was out of bed and on the computer searching through dogs on Petfinder. I didn't take me long before I came across this picture. These were the first pictures I ever saw of Belle, and I was in love at first sight. Seriously, look at that face and those eyes!
I immediately told Chris that she was the one, so he asked me if I was sure and I said YES! She had been found wandering the streets of Wenatchee, Washington with no collar or microchip. It was as if she had run away or been left behind, but we'll never know. They estimated her at about 10 months old. Her adoption fee was $75, so Chris and I agreed we would drive out to Wenatchee to meet her the following day. After a 2 1/2 hour drive, we arrived at the shelter. A lady took us back to where all the dogs were kept, and ALL the dogs were barking and clamoring for our attention. Now--we have long suspected that she didn't have a great start in life, because when we got to Belle's cage she was sitting way in the back against the wall and wasn't making a peep. She look very scared and sad. We put a leash on her and were able to take her outside to a fenced area to play and see how we interacted and got along together. Once we were alone with her, she was happy and running and eager to play. I picked her when I saw that photo of her, but she picked us that Sunday afternoon! With the decision made, we headed back inside to pay her adoption fee. One of the stipulations of adoption is they must be spayed/neutered before they can go home. Given the fact it was a Sunday, she wouldn't be able to have her surgery until Tuesday morning. So we headed the 2 1/2 hours back home and waited for Tuesday to be able to go and pick her up.

Tuesday morning the phone rang early--much earlier than we expected--and we immediately thought something might have happened to Belle before or during her surgery. It turned out the vet office was calling to tell us she had already been spayed, so she didn't need surgery and we could come and pick her up anytime. Once again, we made the long drive to finally go pick up our dog. She was so happy to see us when we got there, and it warmed my heart. However, when we got back in the car and started driving home, she curled up in the back seat and started shaking like a little leaf. I ended up sitting in the back and snuggling with her.

We have loved every day we have had with her. She has brought us such joy! We have been very fortunate with her health-wise with no major issues. (I know this post kinda sounds like a doggie eulogy, but she's not dead yet!) She is 10 1/2 now, although you would never know it given her never-ending level of energy. Her grey/white beard is the only dead giveaway that she is not 2 years old anymore. Her stamina has definitely tailed off, but she is still full of happy happy happy doggie energy. She has traveled cross-country with us (twice!), she sleeps under the blankets in between us at night, she goes for lots of walks and car rides, she eats premium dog food and gets tons of treats, and she even gets turkey dinner at the holidays! She has had a great life and she has enriched our lives. She is truly the definition of a man's (and woman's) best friend.
If any of you are considering getting a dog, I strongly recommend a rescue/shelter dog. There are so many of them--all breeds, sizes and ages--needing homes everyday. Rescuing Belle was one of the best decisions we have ever made! 

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