Dog Days of Summer

6883Jodie081914There are so many things going on in the world that are worthy of attention and cause for great concern. I am sure that if I sat long enough I could write pages about the fact the Florida got one step closer to marriage equality this past week. I could reflect on the state of affairs in the Middle East or the fires that are consuming near a million acres in the western United States, however, I have decided that I am compelled to comment on the mundane and absolutely hilarity surrounding the fact that we decided to adopt a shelter dog this past weekend.

Adopting a shelter dog in and of itself is not that funny, but watching my wife adapt to this new reality has been hysterical on so many levels. The year everything changed for us she had a small dog, Murray, who was a part of her life for over 14 years. This dog was her heart and when he became ill, I was the one who took it to the vet to be put down because she just could not bear to do it. Murray was a white Bijon mix and all seven pounds of him was pure personality. Murray was an indoor dog. He was paper trained and as such he was a prince in his own right. Leashes were not his friend, nor was grass or the UPS delivery man. I do not think that his paws ever touched the grass in his long life. In the three years we have been together as a couple, we have pondered adding a furry friend to our chaotic and boy filled household.

Some days we both were adamant about not wanting to commit to dog owner status. Other days we entertained the idea with a more open mind. These discussions usually ended when it became clear that we could not agree on what kind of dog to get. She is a “fru fru” portable dog lover. I am more partial to larger dogs. She just did not like bigger dogs, in fact she was afraid of their power, jumping and was worried about controlling an animal larger than 10 lbs. I am not a huge fan of what I call “yippy” dogs. I wanted an active dog that could play fetch and that I would not worry about stepping on. We were at an impasse. You see the dilemma?

Our first dog together was adopted with ulterior motives. Originally we were going to get a buddy for my youngest son. He can be a little fearful of dogs at times so I decided to step outside of my own wants for the sake of the greater goal. How bad could a little dog be? His future buddy came in the form of an adopted a four pound Chihuahua. Very noble, I know, it is how I roll. Let’s just say that in the short week we had this dog, life was truly frightening.

The first day, this dog formed an attachment to me, which is funny because I would not classify myself as an over the top dog owner. I like dogs and love my dog, but dogs are dogs, not people. They are member of the family, but they are not children. I know there are some that do not share this view and that is OK. To each their own. In addition to this unforeseen attachment to me, the least gushy dog person in the house, was the fact that anytime any of my family would come near me the dog would go after them.

This four pound dog had my youngest afraid to come down the stairs if he was in the room. He would be fine for a minute and then if someone moved at all would attack without any warning. He also was very sick for most of his short stay with us. The reign of terror ended with disappointment and tears when we had to return him. I drew the line when the safety of my family came into play.

This cured our dog conversations for nine months. We had CPTSD. Chihuahua Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am not sure if that is a thing, but it should be. The small dog conversations were done. No way, no how. I imagine our decision to look for another dog came about much in the same way that a desire to have a baby creeps in. It starts with a fleeting thought, then a feeling and then search begins. I had some convincing to do when it came to entertaining the idea of getting a bigger dog. Now, keep in mind, my definition of a big dog is a Great Dane or a Sheepdog, her definition was anything over 10 pounds. We looked for a few weeks and she was open to facing her fear of large dogs because of the time her grandmother’s German Shepard ended up on top of her when she was a small child. She pushed the limits of her comfort zone and I was genuinely so proud of her.

We looked at many dogs over the course of a few weekends and decided that we were adding a dog to our family and not just looking for a buddy for my youngest. We had some very specific requirements for this dog. We wanted a spayed female, at least three years old, who was housetrained and had a sweet disposition and was submissive with other dogs and on the mellow side. This was a long list that I think I never thought we’d find. Imagine the shock when we found this very dog.

She was not in the shelter when we first went to meet her. We had to trek to the pet store where the adoption event was going on to meet her. This 44 pound golden retriever hound mix named Diva Rose fit this bill. We just knew. She did not jump up and greet us as we approached. Others walked by her and commented that she was not engaged and looked like a dud. We chose her. She did not respond to her name and we did not like it. Her name was changed it to Jodie immediately as an homage to Jodie Foster, one of our favorite actors.

She went home with us that day. All the boxes were checked off and as we learned more about her we loved her even more. She is terrified of thunder, garbage trucks, loud sounds and goes after cats. She is crate trained and needs some work on the leash and more complex commands, but all in all she is perfect for our crazy family. The kids loved her from start and she loved each of them immediately. It is a great fit.

The background is necessary in order to truly understand why the last four days have amused me so much when it comes to watching my wife adapt to life with a “big” dog. Given her past experiences with dogs, walking a dog on a leash has been especially funny to watch. Jodie is very strong and if she sees a cat she tends to pull. The teaching moments are just as much Yvette’s as they are the dogs. Jodie loves to play in the yard with a ball. The ball comes inside when she does. As we sat on the couch one night she commented on how dirty the ball was. I just laughed.

After being outside running her in the yard she came in and was hot and winded. About ten minutes after we stopped Jodie was laying on the floor panting, as dogs do after they have been active. Yvette looked concerned and asked me if she was OK. I told her that this is what dogs did when they were done playing. That is when it occurred to me that this entire experience is a new one to her. Watching her pick up poop in a baggie almost dropped me to my knees with laughter as she did the icky dance as she made her way to the trash can on the side of the house. Princess pooper scooper has arrived. It is both sexy and comical. Watching her love on this dog almost brings tears to my eyes. There is not a more loving person on the planet than my wife. Period. I am the luckiest woman around for sure.

I am enjoying the comic moments and watching my wife warm up to and really experience life with a “real dog” as my neighbor called her. Of course I am happy that so far Jodie has been such a great addition to our family already. This past year has been challenging in many ways and I feel like the life is slowly coming back to our house since Jodie walked through the door. I am grateful for the energy that she has brought to our already chaotic household. She has her moments and we are getting to know her personality a little more each day. We are teaching her how to stay, lie down, to stay out of our bedroom and the kitchen when I am cooking. For as much as we are teaching her, she is teaching us about the love and joy that life with a “big dog” includes. And the fur on everything.