It started with Wyatt.
Three and a half years ago my then boyfriend, Berry, and I were at P.A.W.S., looking for a dog. My husband and his family have always been dog people. Me - not so much. Not that I disliked them, mind you, I just didn't grow up around them. My comfort level was very low and I think I was a little nervous around them. Months before, Berry adopted a dog while I was on vacation and called me to tell me he had bought a puppy - a beautiful brindle boxer. We named her Stanzie. She lived with Berry for only a short time, unfortunately. She contracted Parvo from the vet recommended by the pound and we lost her 10 days later. Berry was devastated. I was saddened, but hadn't had the chance to bond with her as much as Berry. A few months later he was ready for another dog. So this is where you find the two of us, at P.A.W.S.
We looked and played with several sweet dogs, but then we saw "Baby", as he was called at the time. Dachshund-chihuahua mix, and the cutest thing I'd ever seen. Trouble was - he wasn't available to be adopted until the next day. We couldn't even take him out of the cage to play with him until the next day. But we kept coming back around to him, and he stole my heart. "Berry, come back here tomorrow and get my dog." And he did. Renamed Wyatt, it took a long time for me to get used to how our dating life changed - how our whole lives changed. I wasn't used to dogs. I was a little like Lucy from Peanuts - you know- EEK!! DOG GERMS!! I washed my hands a lot. Wouldn't let him near my mouth. Wouldn't let him on the bed. But little by little, he changed me. Softened me. Made me see what unconditional love really looked like, up close. Pretty soon he became "my dog" - followed me everywhere I went, curled up on my lap, comforted Mommy when I was feeling sad or sick. I even thought about using him as a ring bearer in our wedding!
I loved Wyatt (and by now dogs in general) so much I named the next dog we would have - before we even talked about adopting another.
Berry and I both had the day off and decided - just on a whim, mind you - to stop by P.A.W.S. and look at the doggies before heading off to a vineyard for the afternoon. We looked at several, and were in the process of walking a cute little buddy that we were debating on purchasing. He was cute. He had potential. We were on the fence. I'd figure we'd think about him, but would probably be back the next day to get him. That's when I saw someone else walking the cutest little black ball of fur I'd ever seen. When we came back inside I looked and looked for him - no puppy! I was so bummed - I told Berry that there was a dog I had wished we could have seen, but I guessed he was in the process of being adopted. Then lo and behold, on our way out - there he was! Just in a cage outside of the main room. He'd only been dropped off a day or two before. He was shy even as a puppy, but once I got him out and held him - well, you know how that ended.
Dyson is like my special needs child. He is very nervous around strangers. He hates change. He barks at everything and everyone - even those he knows until he figures out they're his friends. We can't kennel him and have a hard time taking him to the vet - so we don't really travel much. You'd think he was aggressive if you didn't know him, but he's just terrified of you, and barks for his own protection. We went through one hip reconstruction last year, which involved me hand feeding him and helping him drink, leg rehab & me carrying him up and down our stairs (17 of them, I counted every time) to help him go to the bathroom - did I mention he was 45 lbs at the time? - and Berry sleeping on the floor with him so he wouldn't get up and try to walk away, thus injuring himself. Eventually we'll have to do it again, only on the other side (thank God we now live in a duplex - only 3 steps to get outside!!). He brings out impatience in people and he's the tether that keeps me tied down. And I thank God for him every day.
I get emotional when I think about that dog - I know he was meant for me, for us, to love. Both of my dogs have shown me what is most important in life. Yep, my clothes have dog hair on them - oh well. My dogs now give Mommy kisses and sleep in the bed. I'll never have that chic, oh-so-turned out home that looks immaculate. That's what slip covers are for, right? I play more, I smile more, I laugh more, and I force myself to stop what I'm doing and spend time outside with my buddies. They've changed my life. They rescued me. I don't really feel the need to be a "type A" person anymore - there's too much joy to be had hanging with my boys. And yes, I do treat them like my kids. They're spoiled. They sit on the couch. If you don't want to be loved on by dogs, you're in the wrong house.
Don't tell my hubby - but I'm already thinking about names for the next one..... ;)
Have a blessed day, friends!
(Dyson is a big boy now....)