After our dog died a few years ago, I was dead set against ever getting a dog again. For six years I have said no. Not going to happen. No how, no way. Definitely not again.
Long story short, we recently got ourselves a puppy.
Not a brand new baby puppy, but a little five month old lab/border collie bundle of energy. I’m not exactly sure what his story is but he and his two siblings were found abandoned somewhere in Virginia.
How did we get here?
There I was adamantly saying no way for years and meaning every word of it because I am the one who will take care of it most of the time. I don’t want the messes. I don’t want to clean the messes. I liked the freedom of just walking out the door and not thinking about it. No taking it out in all kinds of weather. No vet bills, buying food, treats, and toys. No responsibility.
Prior to this turn of events, I had told my kids, who basically non-stopped begged for a dog, to pray me out of this house and I would consider, possibly, maybe, but don’t count on it, getting another dog. I mean seriously, do. not. get. your. hopes up.
Then suddenly there I was considering the possibility.
I started thinking that I didn’t want a puppy in any possible new-to-us house with hopefully the new furniture that I am one day definitely going to get. The house we live in now is the perfect place to train any new possible oops!-in-the-house-potty-goer and chewer-of-whatever-is-within-reach-of-the-mouth and get-into-everything-and-rip-it-to-shreds creature. Who cares if he destroys everything? I hate it all anyway.
So, before I get all the new beautiful floors and furniture I would love to have, let’s get all that puppy training and chewing out of the way.
Without telling our girls, the hubs and I started looking for possible adoptions. One day we went to a rescue shelter to look at this one dog I had seen online. I thought the shelter was open until 4pm. Turns out it closed at 3pm and we walked in at 2:55. They let us meet him anyway.
The next day, they called to say they had chosen us to adopt him, but we had to bring our girls to meet him before they would let us have him. We went to the shelter, the girls met him and we brought him home.
He’s a great dog. Really and truly. He is very smart. He is sweet and gentle. He is quiet. He is the handsomest pup ever.
But… he will not leave me alone. He is my near-constant companion when I am home. If I move a millimeter, he gets ready to follow. Closer than a shadow, he never stops following me, sniffing me, licking me. He is always under my feet, blocking my way down the hall. Blocking my every step, every direction I want to go. I can no longer simply walk anywhere in the house — every destination is a perilous journey through an obstacle course determined by our young lad.
Yet still, I am smitten. We all are.
Having said that, I won’t be quite the compelling advocate for adopting a rescue. You must really carefully consider the decision. There is no way of truly knowing what that animal has been through or what will trigger a reaction. Pet adoption is not the answer for every family.
Some of the behavior is pure puppy still, but there’s a little extra to it that isn’t easily addressed. Our guy has a bit of anxiety, not always, but it’s there. He’s generally quite calm throughout the day, but once dinner time hits, he rarely stops pacing for hours on end after that. I know that all dogs are food beggars, but he is different about it in a way I can’t quite describe. You can tell he has gone without, that he had to scrounge.
His manners are still not good. We’ve been consistent and he tries, but he’s still not there yet. It’s super cute to see him try so hard not to jump on someone. It’s as if, even though his first impulse is to jump on someone, his brain clicks in mid leap and says “Nooooooo.” So then he’s part way through the leap when he flips his body away and does a full circle twist before he lands. And then he does it again. And again. But then there are times he flat out can’t control himself and jumps on you.
There’s the puppy behavior but then there’s the anxious behavior. It is sad for me to see so much anxiety in him when it hits. I wonder what happened to him when he was little. If he’ll ever fully believe that we will take care of him now. That he is safe. That he doesn’t have to worry for food anymore. That he won’t go without. That he lives in a home where he is loved.
It’ll take some time for more healing to take place, but I do think he senses it already. He just has to drop some bad habits. The things he needed to do to get by, he no longer has to. I wish we could have gotten to him earlier in his life. He wouldn’t struggle the way he sometimes does if someone had cared for him properly early on. If he didn’t have to live in a cage all day and night after he got to the shelter. The shelter took good care of him don’t get me wrong, but it’s no substitute for the love of a family and safe home.
All in all, I am glad that I relented and we got him. I think he’s pretty amazing already, but he will be so much more in years to come. Welcome to our home pup. I hope you like it here.