Posted on 03-01-2017
I was sitting (ok, not really, I don't sit a lot at work) and thinking "What should I share with you all?". Well, I thought I'd share my recent experience with adoption. Most people that either know me, work with me, or watch our Facebook page know that I'm very fond of pet adoption. With a recent move to a new home and finally settling in with my husband, 4 kids, and 16 year old kitty, we decided to update our canine component.
It had been almost a year since we lost our 14 year old Labrador, Toby. To say I was nervous, was an understatement. "What if they bite the children?" "What if they have separation anxiety?" [I am a full-time vet, so this was a big worry]. "What if they get sick too soon and we have to lose another pet so soon?" And so on.
My husband wished to wait until the spring, with grass rather than mud surrounding our home. My kids wanted a big fluffy beast [remember the mud?]. I wanted a small dog that could easily travel with me for therapy visits at hospitals and nursing homes.
I got Benji. A ~1.5 year old recently neutered male mix breed dog of about 9 pounds. He is suspected to be of Yorkshire Terrier and Chihuahua descent. I got him through Homeward Bound. This particular organization pulls dogs most often from high risk shelters (dogs are scheduled for euthanasia due to lack of space/funds/etc.). Benji, I am told, came from Tennessee.
As I arrive at the building to collect my little bundle I hunted down through the internet I am overcome with incredible and intense joy. "This is it" I tell myself. "I have found my soul dog". The staff (volunteers actually, but they run this operation like a smooth operating business) bring me a scraggily ragamuffin dog they called Einstein. He immediately crawls into my lap and begins to lick my face. After about 30-60 seconds he settles with his new "owner" and rests comfortably in my lap. "Aha! He is the ONE. See, he loves me instantly. And I love him", I tell myself. I sign the necessary paperwork, pay the fee necessary to cover the rescue group's expenses for travel, services, etc. and set out on my way home.
No one knew if I was actually bringing a dog home. All they knew was that I went to look. As I release him to the living room he begins to growl at everyone. All 4 children and in particular my husband. He quickly calmed with the kids and began inspecting them and allowing their overwhelming affection. But my husband, wow, that was not happening. In full disclosure, I forgot to mention that my husband did not approve of my plan. He wished to be more settled and only agreed to a new pet if I took full responsibility. He was honest and respectful with his stance. Well, Benji wasn't going to make that hard to forget!
Over a couple days Benji accepted my husband as part of his family and we have moved on. Benji now greets all children and my husband as the greets me - with pure uncontrollable joy. We've had him for 2 months.
But let me tell you about his unchanging quirks - 1) he decides within the first few seconds of meeting you whether or not you are approved for his love and devotion. If you are not chosen, he barks incessantly, and will even lunge and nip at you. 2) He marks. He only managed to do this a couple of times in my home, but I have to watch him like a hawk at home to make sure it doesn't happen. 3) He requires a muzzle even for me to trim his nails or collect a blood sample or.......
My summary: I LOVE this dog!!! I mean, I freakin' love this tiny little mutt that has turned my life completely upside down. He can make me so mad and even miserable sometimes (he hates my father - so my dream of having a small traveling dog wherever I went is not going well SO FAR - I'm holding out hope). My kids ADORE him. He wakes them up in the morning, burrowing beneath their covers and kissing their little sweet faces. They no longer wake griping at me - they wake happy from a wagging tail.
Benji travels back and forth to work with me for socialization. He still has his "enemies" and his "friends". I have decided that he doesn't change his mind once he has deemed someone unworthy. :( He'll likely never be my therapy dog. But you know what, I'm okay with that. He makes my heart happy. And I'm pretty sure based on his undying affection toward me, that I make him happy too. And really, wasn't that the point all along? To find a pet that liked me and I liked them? We can find ourselves in a similar situation with our human children - thinking we know what they will do when the grow up. But when they choose a different path, the right path for them but different then our own, we still love them, right? We don't return them or throw them away do we? No, because love binds us through all. And I love that little monster to death.
So nice to hear this story! I think we can all have trying times with our pets. I think you hit the nail on the head though; it's all about the love!