This may come off as a rambling of my love affair with my dog. Or it may be my endorphin high talking. Or perhaps a combination of both.
I have always loved animals, but somehow this is just different.
When Eric and I were first married, he deployed and I had a dumb-attack and adopted two Chesapeake/Lab puppies. Overwhelmed with the cuteness overload, I bit off more than either of us could chew and ended up adopting them out to more suitable families. (Who knew that those cute little puppies would be so MASSIVE!?) It was hard, and I was sad, but I knew it was for their own good. We were both working full time, traveling, and weren’t in a place to be able to give them the consistency they needed. I see this so clearly now as hindsight is indeed 20/20.
We adopted Buck, and partly due to our previous foray into dog parenting, I was completely blindsided by how hard our whole family, and myself in particular, have fallen for this little goofy guy. I continued to follow Heartbeats Dog Rescue on Facebook (the organization we adopted Buck through) and noticed they had this little puppy that was up for adoption. I showed the picture to Eric and he just shook his head and asked, “Really?!
We took the kids and Buck to meet this little girl, Whitney. It would really all depend on him and how he got along with her. The last thing I wanted to do was bring in another dog and have fights and problems between the two. We walked in and they sniffed each other, wagging tails as if they’d known each other forever, then she proceeded to crawl right up on Jake’s lap, snuggle in and lick his face. The grin on that boy’s face nearly made me cry. She then wiggled right up onto Hannah and she was smitten. How do these furry little loveballs do it? They create such a fun, deep joy and a sense of contentment that just feels so right there are scarcely words to describe it. They live in the moment, eager, and happy to just be.
We adopted her, and even Eric had to admit he was taken with her. She is such a love, a bit more mellow than Buck, but still a puppy so she brings out the playfulness in him.
The goal was to be able to walk and run with them both, but was a little nervous about it Whitney seemed a little confused by the leash, didn’t know any commands, and I wondered if I’d once again bit off more than I could chew. Hannah and I worked with her, teaching her how to sit. She is eager to learn, eager to please and picked it up right away. Her little expectant face gazing up at mine, her whole body wagged as praise was lavished on her.
I’ve watched enough Dog Whisperer and Cesar 911 to learn a bit, and with the dog training classes I’ve been taking I feel confident, (or calm assertive) and more of a pack leader. Every time I watch an episode of Cesar helping a family with their animals, I cry. Like ugly cry. There’s just something about they way a dog loves. I’ve also thought it amazing when he teaches dog owners to lead their packs, walking many dogs at once. The people always talk about how empowering the experience is. Again, cue the waterfalls from my eyes.
Their leashes on, I took a deep breath and mentally let go of the sense of failure I had from our other dogs. I could be a pack leader. I could be a good dog mom. Buck has been proof of that. Out the door we went. They did great. We had some kinks to work out at first with who was going to be where, but after a couple of minutes, everyone fell into place. Buck on the outside, Whitney in the middle and then me leading the way. We practiced our commands, we ran, we sat, we said good morning to our neighbors. To say it was 3 of the most fun miles would be an understatement. It was empowering, exhilarating, and good luck wiping the perma-grin off of my face!
I love these dogs.
They have filled a void I didn’t know existed. They may be rescue dogs, but ultimately they do so much more for us than we ever do for them.