Last April I had to make the heart wrenching decision to put down one of those strays; a grumpy-growly 17 year old named Tramp. Tramp was a Rottweiler puppy who was left on my doorstep by some lovely neighbors. Tramp was a sweet and rambunctious puppy, and then he grew up. After year 1, he was never nice to anyone. He never bit anyone, but in all the years I had him, he never let anyone pet him, or look at him for that matter, without showing his teeth and doing this throaty, almost demonic kind of growl. All in all, a real family treasure. Everyone wanted to love Tramp - but no one could ever get close enough. Well, no one but me. Tramp and I had a special bond. And last April, I had to say goodbye.
Not only was I heartbroken, but my Collie-mix, Sally, (Tramp's best friend and also a stray) was utterly devastated. She moped around with her head held low, she didn't eat - she was obviously grieving. Now, apparently, when there are two dogs in the household, you are supposed to simply allow the surviving dog to grieve. It’s a process that they will get through on their own.
What you’re not, I repeat not, supposed to do is rush right out and remedy the situation with a replacement dog.
Such a shame Google Search wasn't around in April 2012…
Let me explain a little something about myself - I have no self-control. And by no, I mean zero. I am physically unable to say no to something, especially if that something is sure to totally disrupt my life. I will turn my life upside down in order to help someone (or something) else - and then passive aggressively cuss them (or it) behind their backs like the considerate, well-mannered person I am. Armed with this valuable information about myself, I knew that I would be unable to go into a rescue and not take every dog they had available. So...I did what any normal person would do. I sent my cat-adoring, dog-dispassionate friend, Kate, to find my new dog.
Kate – “What kind of dog are you looking for?”
Me – “I don’t know, something about the size of Sally. A dog Sally can play with.”
You get the idea – about that big. I mean, how hard can it be? Go in, find a dog about "that" size. A cute, cuddly, Sally-like dog.
This, my friends, is what Kate returned with.
|Clifford the Lap Dog|
I had never had a Pit Bull. In fact, the stories I'd heard about Pits terrified me. I just said goodbye to a bully breed I had for 17 years, and as heartbreaking as that was, I was selfishly glad the future me wouldn't have to say, "We're delighted to have little Timmy stay the night. Now if you'll just sign this liability waiver..." Those words just don't seem to comfort parents the way one would expect.
I might be a touch obsessive/compulsive. And because of this, I began pouring myself into learning about the Pit breed so I could ensure raising a healthy, well adjusted Pit that others would love and not fear. What I came to find was that, not only is Clifford a huge love bug who's great with kids and other dogs, but Pit Bulls as a group are a misunderstood breed with a truly unfair rap. I could go on and on about this subject, but that's a post for another day.
What I also came to realize was that having a puppy - huge or not, he's still a puppy - was a lot of work. I forgot how much energy those guys have! As a result, everything doubled - dog walks, trips to the dog park, baths, vacuuming, Swiffering, everything. (Well, everything but poop - that seemed to triple.) But at least Sally was happy, right? She had a new companion and was happy again...right?
Actually, Sally hates Clifford.
If you were to ask my mom, she'd tell you that it would appear I live my life by asking myself, "Karen, what's the last thing on earth that you need right now?" And then, with a fierce tenacity, I go out and make whatever "that" is, happen. See where I'm going with this?
Meet Teddy... (and, yes, he's even bigger - and younger - than Clifford)
I innocently found Teddy when I went to pick up Clifford from a 6 week training camp. Who knew the training camp also doubled as a dog rescue? I've since been told by my boyfriend that prior to visiting a business of any kind, I need to ask if they double in operation as a dog rescue or animal shelter. My gynecologist was profoundly confused by this question.
I mean sure, pizza delivery at my house is like a full-contact sport. (those of you with dogs will understand this one.) And, yes, my dogs all but tackle me when I get home from work. So I won't be having any dinner parties until, say, 2028...eh, whatever - I'm not classy enough for a dinner party anyway. I wouldn't trade my dogs for the world. I could talk about unconditional love and the companionship they provide - but you know all that. These dogs are part of our family. Like big, loud, oafish - possibly drunk - uncles. And I love knowing that I've rescued 3 of the sweetest souls on this planet who, without me, wouldn't be here at all.
|Sally, Clifford & Teddy|