Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Dinner Party's Been Postponed to 2028

I’m a dog lover.  And I don’t mean a little bit, I mean a lotta bit.  In fact, I think my home address and a sample of my scent is in some Canine Safe House database, because the strays…they know where to find me.

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…

Enter Clifford...

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.”


Sally

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. 
 
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This, my friends, is what Kate returned with.

Clifford the Lap Dog
Clifford was on borrowed time at the shelter and I think this pulled on Kate's heartstrings.  If you can’t tell from the picture, he’s a Pit/Retriever mix.  And he’s huge.  Big.  Huge. 

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)


Teddy

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 anywayI 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
Did I mention I have no self-control?

6 comments:

  1. You're killing me. Are you ready?

    We had to put our dog of 15 years down in Spring 2011. We already had another dog, but no...I had to complicate matters and go out and get a rescue that summer. Because summer travel isn't complicated enough without having TWO dogs to figure out care for.

    My mom is always saying, "You really should consider not getting more dogs when these two are gone." Uh huh. That'll happen.

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    1. Dammit - I never reply in the right place...see below!

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  2. Now I'm certain there's a parallel universe. You're the "me" in your universe and I'm the "you" in mine. (and clearly your mom is the "my mom" and vice versa) I picture the powers that be having a meeting saying things like, "Oh shit - they found each other...the jig is up."

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  3. I didn't think it was possible to love ya more than I already do, but here I am..

    Karen, you are pulling on my heart strings right now! I'm absolutely right there with you in the dog lover category. My fur babies are my heart and soul, just as my human babies are.

    I've always thought Pit Bulls were a very misunderstood, scapegoated breed. We had two Pits when I was younger and they were the sweetest of sweet. And, they were ANYTHING but a guard dog - they were scared of everything! One of them, I remember, was terrified of thunderstorms and would pace back and forth whining for hours!

    You are a beautiful, wonderful person on the inside as well as out. You saved those three precious dogs. Bigger dogs, bully breed or not, are always at high-risk for being euthanized, so you truly did save their lives.

    Sally, Clifford, & Teddy are SO cute!

    BTW, totally just noticed that you linked to my blog on your sidebar for 'Blogs I'm Totally Jealous Of' & I just want to hug you!!! Thank you!!!

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    1. Aww, Marissa - you know I love ya right back! And thank you! We definitely have the dog thing in common. And you are most welcome for the link to you blog - we newbies gotta stick together :) xo

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  4. OMG I seriously almost spit wine on my computer when I scrolled down and saw the pic of Clifford on that (very handsome) dude. I am not a pet person - please don't write me off though! I was told "no" upon every request for a pet during childhood and then lived in apartments so long as an adult that I just learned to turn away from the desire to own a dog. Too much work. Coincidentally, this same excuse is what kept me kid-free until I was thirty-four as well. But I gotta hand it to ya, sounds like you don't shy away from the hard work that I know animals to be. I'll bet your house is full of all kinds of fun-loving ruckus. :)

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