Or Nikki. Or Jameson. Or Charley….
I know a lot of people think I’m a crazy dog lady. But….
They love unconditionally.
They know when you had a bad day.
They’re so excited when they wake you up. Even when you think you should sleep in.
They love meal time. Especially the homemade kinds.
They don’t care you stepped on their paws by accident.
They keep you warm.
They give you endless kisses.
They greet you at the door with the biggest tail wags that it moves their spine. The biggest grin that may look the scariest but it’s not. The lovely way the bark with excitement.
They’re thankful in many ways.
Be like them.
Be like Nikki, Jameson and Charley.
I remember when I first got Charley. I was home from college for the weekend. It was my 21st birthday. I knew I really wanted a puppy. Someone who would hang out with me while I studied. Someone who would keep me company. I grew up with an amazing golden retriever. He was the best family dog. My brother named him Sprocket after that show “Fraggle Rock”. Now, I lived in a small apartment about 15 minutes from campus which required a dog under 50 lbs at the time. I knew I wanted someone small anyway. Id have to travel a lot and move eventually.
My mom and I listed all the pros and cons and somehow came across “Maltipoos for sale” in a newspaper. At first, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if I wanted to rescue a dog or “buy” from a “breeder” at the time. We drove an hour to meet this breeder and realized this puppy was in the corner of this dirty crate, shivering like a leaf, alone. Everyone else was adopted but him. I don’t recall how long it’s been since he’s been alone but I knew he was mine. I swooped up this 2 lb white apricot fur-ball and signed all the papers. I bought him home. Poor puppy was terrified.
I named him Charley. Let’s just say he was special. He saved me from an almost fire. He hated the boys (he really did). He’s woken me up many times for class when my alarm wouldn’t do it’s job. He survived a car accident on I-95 and two dog attacks.
He’s also very bossy. 9 lb feisty ball of fire.
It was very early in Justin and I’s relationship. I used to bring Charley down with me every weekend. He always slept in the middle. One day, Justin wanted a dog of his own. I’ll never forget the day he bought Jameson home.
These two were inseparable. He would go to work with Justin every single day. Charley took some time to warm up. He was 3 years old at the time. It was a guy thing. I’m better than you stuff. Boys being boys.
We got married and wanted a dog of our own together. We just love dogs and always believed in rescue dogs. Justin met one of my dad’s dog who was a rottweiler and was set on that type of breed. We came across FOHA and saw that they were having this special on black dogs. It’s kind of sad black dogs are overlooked because of their color. Jameson was already black and we never saw it as an issue. We decided to go to the shelter and walk around. They brought out Nikki who Justin wasn’t really fond of at first. She was supposed to be half rottweiler and half doberman. There was just something different about her. She was so full of life and was so excited for a leash. She still is to this day. Her and Jameson hit it right off and were like two peas in a pod. Honestly, she was terrified of Charley. Charley wouldn’t like one thing she did and would chase her around. It was so cute.
We were approved to adopt her and bought her home just in time for Christmas. She was three years old at the time. She had never been in a home. She had serious food aggression from all those years bouncing from shelter to shelter. She was always behind those cages and weighted in at 55 lbs when we got her. Slowly, we realized she never knew real love and needed a ton of patience. She also ran away from me once, went 100 feet, looked behind (I remember thinking I was going to lose her forever) and thought about it for a minute. I’ll never forget this but I had my arms out reaching and calling her to come back. It was freezing with rain that night. The pavement was so icy you could tell there was black ice. The next thing you know, she came running back into my arms. I was in tears.
5 years later, they’re all a pack. They give each other snuggles and lots of kisses. Maybe a hump over there. Ha. Anytime, one has to leave for the vet or such, the others will cry and it breaks my damn heart. They have their sibling rivalry days but always came back as family.
Truth is, rescue dogs are the best breeds. Even though Charley was from a breeder, he rescued me. They need patience and time. They constantly need training. They need food and roof over their head.
At the same time, they know a disability with no judgement. Each of them have their own ways of letting me know the deal when I’m home alone. Someone is outside, they’ll bark. Something is wrong in the house, they’ll lead me to it. Fire alarm going off, they’ll stand under it. They need to go outside, they’ll talk and lead me to the door. If I’m sleeping, they’ll nudge me with their cold wet nose and wake me up for their needs. Dogs are smart. They simply want love and will love you back ten times more than to the moon and back.