01 March 2012

I (heart) Dogs blogfest Week 2!

This is on Tumblr, y'all
Welcome to week 2 of the I <3 Dogs blogfest! Hosted by the awesome blog Small Town Rescue, this 8-week blogfest highlights the awesomeness of dogs.

In case you want to join the fun, here are the weekly themes:

Week 1 (2/20-2/26) – Favorite animal organization/rescue

Week 2 (2/27-3/4) – Favorite pet story (Tell us about your favorite pet! Doesn’t have to be a dog).

Week 3 (3/5-3/11) – Favorite animal-related book, movie, song, etc.

Week 4 (3/12-3/18) – What I know about dog rescues organizations?

Week 5 (3/19-3/25) – The gorgeous, the active, and the unique. Tell us your favorite dog breed.

Week 6 (3/26-4/1) – Favorite Dog/Pet Stores in your area.

Week 7 (4/2-4/8) – Favorite dog parks and dog-friendly attractions in your area.

Week 8 (4/9-4/15) – If I had a dream… What would you do for rescue dogs if you could?

Well, number one, I'm a horrible pet parent for having to ignore my babies to make this blog post. However,  I promised I'd write, and, well...I wouldn't want to disappoint Mr. Walker up there, would I?

I've been incredibly blessed to have a lot of beautiful, wonderful dogs grace my life, and each of them has left it fuller than they'd found it. I'm a huge believer that animals find us when we need them, not the other way around, and if you're open enough to accept an animal's love, regardless of how it comes into your life, you're one of the luckiest people alive. Also, I totally don't understand people who don't like animals. But that is neither here nor there.

This is also the hardest post for me to write. I have two contributions, two beautiful amazing dogs who've made me a better person for loving me. One left me a few years ago due to still mysterious circumstances, and the other is my sweet baby girl who makes my world go round.

A few years ago, an adorable litter of puppies was born under my neighbors' old, dilapidated house. Three totally adorable, totally different boys waited to be found, and I wriggled underneath the floorboards to find them. They belonged to our dog Abbie, a dog that was admittedly not right in the head... They'd been abandoned, but they were sweet and friendly and absolutely adorable.

It'd been a while since we'd had puppies. I love puppy EVERYTHING. Puppy noises, puppy breath, puppy fur, puppy feet. The boys were healthy, and happy. And one of them fell in love with me, and I with him.

His name was Saige. My mom named all three boys, and the little brown one quickly became my sweetheart. He slept on me, ate on me, and generally stayed with me all he could.

Unfortunately, I had to go back to school soon, and as a result, had to leave my baby. But he always greeted me with a tail wag and sloppy puppy kisses.

However, it soon became apparent that both Saige and his brother Rhett had developmental issues. By Easter, Saige stopped walking, instead pulling himself along the carpet and getting carpet burns. He never acted like he was in pain. His tail always wagged, and he was always sweet, but we couldn't figure out why he'd stopped walking, except that maybe it had something to do with his hips. We all loved Saige; even our old alpha girl Mollie loved Saige (they're a sweet story, which maybe I'll share someday). My dad offered to build him a doggie wheelchair. None of us could bear the thought of putting him to sleep, especially since he wasn't hurting.

Fastforward to summer. Dad put him outside with his big brother Beau and the other dogs, including the ever-protective Mollie. Saige had to learn to walk again, and he did! He could walk around the yard with no problem, but when it came to stairs, he was skittish. Instead of following, he'd look at me forlornly with his big brown eyes as I walked up the steps from the yard to the porch. Saige, though, was never one to be daunted for long. One afternoon, I walked up the steps, and at the top, I turned to tell him bye like I always did. He put one tentative paw on the bottom step, then another. Then another. Then another. I cried like he was my baby taking his first steps. When he met me at the top, I cried and hugged him and told him how proud I was. Then he followed me into the house. Not long after that, he JUMPED onto the couch to get to cocktail sauce my mom had left on a plate. I knew he was a Peace.

Saige taught me a lot about the power of love and determination. I adored that big, silly dog and still miss him like crazy.

However, I got the chance to adopt the love of my life from my hometown's shelter.

This face wakes me up every day with sloppy kisses:

There's a little more white on her muzzle now, but Riley is the spunkiest little thing I've about ever met.

I found her through Petfinder. I'd been apartment hunting and, since I would be living by myself, I wanted to get a dog. The dogs I loved and lived with were too big, so I browsed teh interwebz to find my perfect apartment companion. There were a lot of dogs I was interested in, but when I saw Riley's photo (then named Briar Rose, like Sleeping Beauty) I had to have her. She was an older dog, maybe 2 or 3 years old. She had the prettiest, most soulful brown eyes in her photo, and it looked like she was pleading to be loved. When I decided to inquire about her, I had no idea how much.

Riley was on the euthanization list. She was listed as an emergency adoption because her euth date was getting close. I called the shelter and asked them not to do anything to her, that I wanted to come see her. So, they held onto her until I could come home from college to visit. It was a rough go at first, trying to get everything coordinated, especially with the end of the school year coming up, but I finally got to get home and see her.

And then I inadvertently adopted her.

Riley was kept in a cage in the very back of the shelter. The worker told my mom and me that they kept her off the books because they loved her so much. She'd been at the shelter most of her life, and she was supposed to have been euthanized a year before, but they wouldn't put her down. She was soooo hopeful when the lady got her out of the cage. She carried Riley out into the lobby, and Riley literally ran laps between my mom and me. She was THAT happy. I adored that little dog from the get-go, and I knew she needed to be mine. Without any paperwork, adoption fee, or anything, the lady carried Riley out to the car.

Four years later, she's still the light of my life. She sleeps with me, she protects me, she plays with me. A spry little 7- or 8-year-old beagle/basset hound mix that makes hilarious moose-like noises and wakes me up with kisses, who can keep up with her 1-year-old little BIG brother Jasper (a flat-coat retriever mix). She's the first dog I've ever seen grin (and the first time she did I thought she was gonna eat me). It seems like such a small thing, but I can't imagine my life without her. She's my best friend.

I hope everyone someday has a puppy to love. I especially hope more people will take the time to use sources like Petfinder to find their next pup. And I ESPECIALLY hope more people will consider adopting an older dog. Riley is the best dog I could ever have asked for.


Phoenix Sullivan said...

Pass the hankies! These are the good type of tears to be left with, though :o). I'm sorry to have missed your "Fighting Peace-ster Pup" Saige, but I feel I know Riley a bit from your tweets about her and Jasper. She looks like a dog who embraces life and is determined to enjoy every second she can -- especially if the majority of those seconds can be spent with you!

lexcade said...

Riley's amazing. She has a loooot of love in that little body, and she shows me every day.

I wish everyone could've known Saige. He was so adorable and sweet. I have a couple photos of him that I need to scan. He was beautiful.

Thanks for reading, Phoenix :) I knew this would be a long post.

Landra said...

Your stories are unbelievable. I'm with Phoenix, hand me a tissue. Saige sounds absolutely precious. I wish I could have gotten to know him too!

Rily looks a spunky in her photo as she sounds. I also think she's a perfect fit for you. Thank you for sharing these stories.

Lisa Fox said...

I am loving this blogfest!

This post is amazing and touching. Animals can bring so much love and joy into life.