Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lessons from 2010: Yes, we've gone to the dogs!

As this year begins to draw to a close, I'd like to reflect on some of the lessons that I've been learning. In no particular order, here are a couple.

Lesson 1: Never go into a pet rescue center unless you plan on bringing a pet home.
Lesson 2: Never under-estimate the power of feelings, even ones you don't know you have.
Lesson 3: Dogs can be even better than humans at teaching some lessons.

These lessons became clear to me the days leading up to Christmas. My mom had dropped off some photo cards to have printed at a local Walgreens, and she had about 20 minutes to kill while they were printed. Right next door to this Walgreens was a newly-built pet rescue center. It was quite an attractive building so I suggested that we go inside and have a look around. WARNING!! You know where this is going!

We walked around the center taking a look at the different animals that were available for adoption. There were some cute puppies up near the front but another dog, about 8 mos. old, caught my eye. I was let into the room where he was being kept and he had a very sweet disposition. Later my mom and I left the center and picked up the cards, but in the following days, I couldn't stop thinking about this dog. I kept seeing his face! AHHH! What was I to do??

Finally, I convinced my husband that we should go back just to look at him. We would not leave with the dog, but he could look at him, see if he liked him, and if he did, we could talk about adopting him and if having a dog would be a good idea for us. We got to the rescue center and the dog was no longer in the same room, I inquired about him only to be told that he had already been adopted. All of a sudden, I don't know what came over me, but I started to cry. I was crying over this dog when I wasn't really even sure that I had wanted to adopt him in the first place!

My husband felt terrible! "Why didn't you tell me this was so important to you?" he asked. "We could have come sooner to get him."

"It wasn't that important," I said. "I don't even know why I'm reacting this way!" And yet, I couldn't stop crying. Here I was crying over a dog I wasn't even sure I really wanted!!

To make a long story short, we ended up returning to the rescue center later that night with my parents (my mom had told my dad about the puppies and my dad, who is a dog lover, wanted to see them.) While there we saw another dog, and the next day we ended up bringing him home.

All of this happened so fast, and now we are the proud owners of Blitzen -- who they tell us is a shepherd/collie mix, but I think they aren't really sure. He is a very sweet dog -- very gentle and yet also very playful. My family has determined that he looks like a deer or a kangaroo more than a dog - and it's true, he does have an interesting look to him.
Estith and Blitzen

I am quite sure that he is going to teach me some more lessons which I'll gladly share with you here. My family has always been dog people. At one time we had four dogs, ranging from a little Bichon (who is now 13 years old) to a huge Irish Wolfhound, the gentlest of giants, roaming about our house. One of the lessons that my dog Belle (a Weimeraner and the best running partner you could ask for) taught me was that there was nothing so important that her sitting right in the middle of it couldn't fix. She had a way of sitting down on top of my homework papers or getting in the middle of whatever I was doing and giving me an imploring look that said, "Come on. It's not going to kill you to pet me for five minutes, now is it?"

I was always grateful for her reminders that the world wasn't going to stop if I didn't get everything done on my to-do list. As a person prone to driving myself very hard and needing to accomplish one task after another, I still need that reminder. Blitzen, I hope you are up to the task.

Blitzen with his squeaky polar bear toy

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