Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Long Journey

Long before I was born, my older brother was attacked by a dog.  In an attempt to keep him from being afraid of dogs, my parents decided they needed to get one.  Back then, ads in the paper were still safe, and they found a "free to good home" which they responded to.  The owners had to move to a small apartment, and didn't have space for him.

Well, no apartment would have been large enough for this dog, as he was a husky/malamute mix, and basically a big fluffy lion.  We found out the old owners were trainers, and when he saw my brother, licked him from feet to head, and walked over and sat at the door.  His name was Max, and he had picked us.

We had him for a long time, through a move, and the first few years of my life.  He died of old age, and it broke all our hearts.  My parents couldn't stand having another dog, so we went without for a long time.

Years later, my brother went through a bad break up, with a girl cheating on him and leaving without telling anyone, disappearing from even her own family's life in order to avoid him.  It broke his heart, and so again, my parents favored him, and told him he could get himself a dog.

He went to a shelter, and unfortunately, didn't look around very much, and found himself a husky.  We had him for about a month when he attacked my mom, and upon returning him to the shelter, was told that he had been brought back multiple times.  It put a bad taste in everyone's mouth, and we all wanted space for a while.

Then Squishy happened, and we couldn't bring another dog in.

So, fast forward again, and a couple months ago my parents go to spend a few days with a friend.  It's the first time they spend more than a couple hours with a dog in years.  They come home, and my mom is quiet, until she finally says that she's thinking about wanting a dog.

At the same time, a pup in Tennessee is in an overcrowded shelter.  He's highly placeable, but needs heartworm treatment, so he's still on the kill list.  Someone takes him into a foster, where he's taught some manners.  After a few weeks, a transport takes him, and brings him to another shelter in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, we're going through every shelter in the area.  Trying to find a dog that picks us, and is what we need.  I fall in love with one, who I still hope finds a home soon, but I'm told is too big.  My mom keeps falling in love with giant dogs that look like Max, thinking she'll find a perfectly trained dog, and telling people different things than what she actually wants.

Squishy comes home from winter break, and we go to a few more shelters.  In our last one for the day, we find a smaller mutt in a corner kennel.  He sees Squishy, and sploots down, giving a soft whine, and trying to get his nose under the door to get to her.  His butt wiggles, and he's only showing happiness over seeing us.

We're told we need to fill out an application before taking him into a room to meet him, because they only show dogs to approved adopters.  Which means waiting a full day to find out if we can check him out over a period of time.  I am full of excitement and impatience, as is everyone else.  The next day, I'm told we're approved, but another family applied first, and they need to have all their dogs and kids meet him before we get a chance.

Two more days of waiting, and I'm bracing myself for disappointment.  Two days later, and I get a call saying they passed on him, and we have an appointment for Sunday.  Two more days of waiting again.

Day of we are all impatient.  We get to the shelter way too early, and have to wait in the car until doors open.  Once we're in, they bring us into a room, and then bring the pup.  He's gentle, and just wants affection.  He is shy, but not afraid, and lets us handle him however we want, and shows lots of interest in Squishy.

And then we went to my sister's work, and picked up a ton of dog stuff.  We were told about his specific situation because he's still on heartworm treatment, and everything surrounding that, and brought him home.  His name is now Oliver, and he's bonded to me very heavily.  Now to make sure the rest of his life isn't as hard as it started.

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