When I got Cosmo (2005), I first went to the humane society. However, I wasn’t sure about the idea of bringing a grown or partially-grown dog into the house, especially since I prefer big dogs, when I couldn’t be sure about how he would act with a cat. I’d had a really sweet dog before, totally submissive, wanted to please, and the day I brought home a rescued kitten, she had that kitten in her mouth in a very bad way within seconds. She didn’t hurt the cat, but it was a very, very close thing. I couldn’t do that to this cat, who had had such a miserable life. So I looked online in the paper for puppy ads. Not breeder ads or anything, but mutt puppies from people who, yes, were too irresponsible to get their dogs fixed. My “rationalization” was that if I didn’t adopt one of them and give it an amazing home, it could very well be a tortured dog or neglected or end up in a shelter. I felt guilty about not “rescuing” a dog, but over the years I have come to truly believe that it still counts. I guaranteed him an incredible life, and he has had exactly that.
Fawkes came around in 2009. Same situation as Cosmo. I opted for a puppy to avoid grown dog drama and potential heartbreak if they didn’t get along. I knew that, like getting Cosmo as a puppy, I had a better chance of raising him to be a dog who loved other dogs, who was never abused or mistrustful, who loves people. It’s not that I don’t believe that’s possible with shelter / rescue dogs. I know very much that it IS possible. But I admit to being afraid that it wouldn’t work. My whole life, my parents had (lots of) dogs. And seeing them not get along, not trust us, not truly enjoy themselves because of the other dogs was heartbreaking. And I knew myself. I knew that if I got a dog and it just didn’t work with Cosmo…I knew who I would choose, and I hated the idea of sending a dog back to the shelter. Now, I don’t know if any of this would have happened. It could have been amazing. But I got Fawkes from a family that had taken in an abandoned dog who turned out to be pregnant. I don’t regret it for a moment, especially because they bonded at first sight, but I feel guilty, still, about not going the rescue / shelter route.
Paul got Kloe from the humane society in December. She was happy and daft and sweet and excited. She was perfect for him (we didn’t live together yet, weren’t engaged) and ADORED (ADORES) him. The first time she met my dogs, she slammed them to the ground AT THE SAME TIME and had her jaws on Fawkes’s neck in a heartbeat. It was exactly what I was afraid of, not least of all because how could I have a future with him, with our dogs, if they couldn’t be in the same room? Thankfully, Fawkes got her over it. With a lot of visits and sleep overs, he pulled her out of her shell. She had been bounced back and forth between homes and shelters and didn’t know how to play with other dogs. Hell, she didn’t know how to play. Fetch, that was all. I have a video of Fawkes trying SO HARD to get her to play and you can actually see her finally starting to get it. She started to understand that he wasn’t trying to hurt her. He was bouncing around, leaping off of / onto furniture, doing the “downward dog” play stance, reaching out and bopping her and running away, and she just followed him around trying to figure it out. Now they’re amazing friends. They run and “fight” (wrestling with lots of noises and teeth and not an ounce of real hostility) Fawkes cuddles with her and cleans her face. He totally transformed her. It’s kind of amazing.
Rigby was an unexpected addition. We were going to OfficeMax for white Sharpie paint pens and we walked by a PetSmart adoption. She was just sitting there, totally overwhelmed and shy and uninterested in everything around her. I knew right then. I kept trying to get someone’s attention to take her out and someone tried to cut in front of me to get her out first, but we “won”. (I don’t feel too bad because the woman we beat to the punch fell in love with another dog there and said she was actually glad we got to Rigby (then PollyAnna) first because she bonded with the one she brought home instantly.) She was a submissive little thing. Didn’t really care about us one way or another. Quiet car ride, happy to get out to pee and meet my mom when we stopped by. Got her home, let her inside, introduced her to Cosmo (who was very excited) and then she jumped on the couch and turned into a raging bitch. That couch was HERS and any dog to come near her was slated for decapitation. Really, it was all attitude. I know she was overwhelmed. I was a bit worried that her unintimidating aggression would set of Kloe’s VERY intimidating aggression, but Kloe never did anything more than sniff her. Like I said, Fawkes changed her. Completely changed her. Like with Kloe, he got Rigby to open up and play and become a “proper” dog (excited and loving and happy and playful). Now they all run around the house together being insane.
Like I said, I still feel guilty sometimes about not getting a dog from the shelter back when I got Cosmo. And guiltier still about doing the same with Fawkes. But I like to think that if I hadn’t made that one decision years ago to get Cosmo where I did, then I wouldn’t have made the decision to get Fawkes where I did, and then he wouldn’t have been the amazing dog that he is to completely bond our family together, showing our two very nervous, scared girls how to be happy and let themselves be weird and crazy and that we’d all love them just as much for being themselves. I know it’s a sappy spin on things, but I really do think that the four of them were meant to end up together.
OMG so long. I know I’ve said it before, but I should not post on pet threads!
And now, Fawkes the miracle dog! …afer eating a bowl of glitter.