Saturday, March 17, 2012

Open Heart Policy

It was just a day or so ago that I was saying that I wasn't sure I'd ever get another dog. I didn't think I'd be ready...and I was still feeling like Bobob was somehow my fault. I was worried that the shelter staff - who had been super nice to me - and the exec. director - who had a big interest in Bobob - would blame me for his passing. I mean, I just had to put Otto down in December. Yeah, it was overdue and a safety issue...but geesh.

So anyway. Back to the "never again" and "not sure about another dog" etc. etc. Why is there a new dog in my kitchen right now? Her name is Spudet. She stood out to me the first time that I met her - super soft coat, crazy ears that reminded me of Otto, and a big ol' bully grin. Yeah, maybe I was a bit hooked.

I was so glad she got adopted at an adoption event last month, the first I got to go to (see A Pibble-less Outing)...but part of me was a bit sad to see her go. I had two other dogs at that point, and I just didn't see it happening.

When Otto passed, I felt myself turn to glass and shatter. With Bobob, I felt my insides twist in knots. I felt helpless as he twitched across the floor, eyes glazed over and tongue lolling out of his mouth in a distorted grin. I felt like I failed Otto, even though I'm not the one that put his genes together. I could make peace with it because I knew the monster, the puppy mill, the backyard breeding practices. I felt like I failed Bobob, even though I couldn't help whatever happened to him. The thing I hated was that his killer, his cause was invisible. The vets couldn't say if it was for sure a tumor, a neurological condition, poisoning, or what. The invisible causes are sometimes the hardest.

I just thought I was done. No more, raise Axle the rest of his days, and that was it. I was so over it. Then here I am, at another adoption event, watching people check out Spudet. It's funny, the people that gravitate toward her. Some of them, I could pick out before they even got to the cages. Needless to say, they didn't leave with any dogs, much less Spuds.

I don't really remember how it came up, but the exec. director mentioned letting her come home with me a few days, just to see if it would work out. I guess he had noticed me paying attention to her...and she would whine when I'd walk away. I swear she eyeballed me all day long.

Well....as luck would have it St. Patty, Ms. Spudet is lying on my dining room floor...Axle is underneath, wagging his tail so hard he is making the chair next to him scoot across the floor. I'm pretty sure he's in love. He showed her all of his tricks when he first met her - jumping, bowing, scooting, rolling, leaping, running, everything. She wasn't impressed. He's still swooning...she's playing hard to get. I caught sight of her "humping the air" behind him while he was drinking water. I'd tell him, but I think that'd ruin her "hard to get" scheme. I'll just let them play it out on their own terms.

It's only day one, but they are both showing promise. There has only been one growl, when Axle approached Ms. Spuds while she was on the floor munching a treat I missed. One quick correction and that was over. They are now staring at each other from across the room. It's as though I no longer exist. I thought I was Axle's girl! Looks like I'm easily replaced!

So back to that open heart policy. Maybe society expects us to retreat into a dark hole somewhere when we lose a pet or another loved one, maybe they expect us to burst into tears every time we see another dog or loved one. Who knows? I'm thinking Jane Seymour with her cheesy jewelry commercials had it right - always leave your heart open. Some will come and some will go, but love will always be there. If you close yourself off after experiencing a loss or hurt, you're only punishing yourself by cutting yourself off from the wonders of the world.

I'm pretty sure Spuds is a wonder of the world. :) She is about 3 years old, labeled an AmStaff mix...we'll do a DNA test one day, whatcha think? She's rather recently spade (10 weeks maybe). She's super sweet and loving. Found running at large, she's been in the shelter since November...and you wouldn't know it. Both babies are passed out as I write this, one to each side of me.


So here's to keeping my heart open...and we'll see where this adventure goes!

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