Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Tale of Two Puppies

A girl and her two dogs at power hour prom (my friends and I do costume/theme parties. Do not judge, because I know that secretly youwish you could have come too. And really, I wish youcould have. The more the merrier, am I right?).

I love my dogs dearly. Yes, sometimes they make my head feel like it's going to explode, but most of the time they make me feel loved and happy. So, when I saw that Ben from No Ordinary Rollercoaster and his other blog, Who's Your Dachshund, has set a goal to raise $5,000 for shelters in the US and Canada, I knew that I had to do my part.

Rather than just sit here and be all like "donate bitches", I'm going to do this in the style of one of those sponsor a poor kid from another country (something else you should think about doing, and you can contact me if you want to talk about it) and tell you some sad, sad puppy stories (stories about my own two puppies) to inspire you to help out other poor, sad, cold, lonely and scared puppies all over 2/3 of North America.

Since I have TWO dogs and TWO sad stories (and these stories are kind of long) I am going to split this into TWO posts to give you TWO more opportunities to forward posts to your friends, or maybe just to give you an incentive to come back again and read more of my stuff.

The Story of Tiny Timothy Jaws Reesing

My dog is so popular that he once beat out a human for
Power Hour Prom King. And no, I am not joking.

Tim and I met at the Lawrence Humane Society in the summer of 2006. I called to ask questions about the poodle (who happened to be a standard) on their Pet Finder page and the volunteer on the phone was more than happy to talk to me about him. We were having a nice chat when I asked her if they had noticed any signs of separation anxiety (we have a standard that will destroy everything in his path if he is left alone; lately he has started to eat books) even though I knew that really, in a situation where the animals are so stressed out, there is pretty much no way to tell.

"Oh," the volunteer lady said, "He seems content to walk on his own but I'm sure that he wouldn't mind be carried around everywhere if you wanted to."

"Wait a second," I said, slightly confused. "I'll calling about the standard poodle you have listed online."

"Him? Oh, he was adopted a few weeks ago." She told me.

"Ok then. Who are you talking about?" I asked her.

She then proceeded to tell me about a sad little pup who had been brought in a few weeks ago and had just been transferred into the part of the building where dogs get treated for any medical conditions before they go out onto the adoption floor. He was a small poodle who had been found running down a street on his own without a collar, spray painted completely blue (just even thinking about it makes me choke up a bit), and was still a little green from all the baths that he had been given.

I was driving home from work at the time and told her that I wanted to come up right then to meet the dog but that I would probably get there a few minutes after they closed. Was there any way that someone would be able to stick around and let me in? She was more than happy to tell me that while the doors close, the whole staff has to stay to clean out kennels and feed the animals so I would be able to come meet him no problem.

I sped the whole way. I had just moved into my apartment where I was going to live by myself and I was really hoping for a little, furry roommate to help keep me company and scare away the monsters that live under my bed. I was so excited.

Walking into the "half-way room" I remember that Tim was the only dog that didn't bark. He stayed in his kennel in the back corner, trembling and looking generally like he wanted to die. The people at the shelter had named him Jaws, because he was so little and he had nipped at a few of male workers. The dude that was in there with me just thought the name was hilarious. He came out of his cage willingly (tail placed firmly against his butt) and we took him into the hallway so that I could spend a little bit of time with him.

When I set him down on the floor, he tried to slink away to the door to escape. But I scooped him up into my arms and I felt him shiver a little less. While I don't remember him licking me, odds are good because the dog licks everything that moves. Sometimes when he can't find anything to lick, he will just lick the air. No joke. Ok - moving on. So, we put him back in his kennel, I filled out an adoption application and promised that I would be back soon to see him.

The second time I went to see him I had my mom with me. We couldn't take him out of his kennel because he had been diagnosed with worms and we couldn't get him to move out of the back corner of his kennel. Mom thought that "his wiener was too big" (I'm not kidding, that's really what she said. Turns out that it was because he was about 3 pounds underweight). She told me that I shouldn't get him and start looking for a breeder in town. When I told Tim that I would be back he bared his teeth at me. Later I found out that Tim is a smiler and that he was smiling at me.

I went to visit him every week for about a month, trying to decide if he was really my dog (the year before I had adopted an Elk Hound mix and we ended up not liking each other much, so I wanted to make sure the next adopted dog I brought home stayed there). I also spent a lot of time on the phone with the director of the shelter talking about what sort of special needs Tim would have due to the fairly obvious mistreatment and abuse he had suffered. She also told me that I should think about getting another dog. I told her I was going to think about it some more.

The day that I KNEW that he was mine, we were outside in one of the runs the shelter has. We had been going outside when we could since he had gotten rid of his nasty worms. We would just sit, me cross legged with him in my lap, looking around. This particular day my phone rang and it scared him so he ran across the pen and stayed there looking at me while I talked on the phone for a minute. When I got done, I went over to pick him up ... AND HE WAGGED HIS TAIL. I hadn't seen this dog act happy at all, not even for a second, since the first time I had met him a month before. We went right in and told the nice ladies that he was coming home with me that day.

The thing I will never forget about bringing him home is the second that we were walking out to my car, and he realized that we weren't going to be going back into the shelter. I was carrying him and the shivering just stopped. I could feel all the tension drain out his butt in a little puddle that we left in front of the shelter door. (Oh maaan. Getting choked up again.)

I tried to keep his name Jaws, but it doesn't fit his personality, so I changed it to Tim but thought that Jaws was too cute to loose so we kept it as his middle name. Reesing was added a few months ago when Kansas beat Mizzou in the annual Border War football game at Arrowhead Stadium. Because really, Todd Reesing is awesome and I love him (Todd - if you're reading this, CALL ME) and he's awesome. And cute and strong and smart and ... ahem. Sorry about that.

The dog that you see in that picture up there is 100% different than the dog that I brought back to my apartment in on August 12, 2006. He barks now (he didn't make a single noise for the first two months of our co-habitation), he will walk up to strangers and let them pet him (most of the time, but we're working on it), he likes men now and loves one in particular (hello, Armini!) and, if you catch him on a really good day, he will let you pick him up.

I wouldn't trade Tim for anything in the world. But without the shelter in Lawrence, we never would have found each other and these places need money to pay for all the supplies they use on a daily basis. I know how much my dogs cost (see the links above) and if I ever had to deal with the bills that come into a shelter, I very well could go insane. Even a little bit will help ... so think about it. And while you're at it, you should probably also think about adopting your next pooch. They make the very most wonder and devoted dogs. Trust me on that one.

Don't forget to come back next week when you will get to read all about my other puppy, Bing and his adoption story!

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