Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Blessing of The Little Dog

DOG.  Great dog needs a good home.  Med. sized mixed breed, very playful, great personality, full of love.  We already have 3 dogs, our home is full.  Please open your hearts and home.  Call...

                                                      The Little Dog
                                                         I will always miss and love her

So this is how the story ends.  The dog that I have called the Imp here on the blog, and we called the Little Dog here at home finally found her forever home when someone called and responded to the newspaper ad above.  For all the problems she caused and the bad press I gave her here you think that I would be celebrating but its been an emotional couple of days since giving her away Monday, and a very hard time for me.  In spite of all the devastation she wreaked during her ~ month here at my home I have to admit that dog is a very special organism and she had wormed her way into a corner of my heart.  The fact is that that dog had more personality than almost any animal I have ever encountered and I realize that something like her does not come along every day.  I have beaten myself up mentally the last couple of days knowing that I let a very special being slip through my fingers but I am comforted by the fact that I found her a great home (I hope) and the knowledge that in reality it would have been very hard to keep her here.

The following an approximate tally of the items destroyed or damaged by what I was calling the Imp but whom I will remember forever as the "Little Dog".  I never wanted to give her a name, sometimes I would call her guest, because if I did name her I would likely get too attached to her.  That almost happened anyway and my heart is treating our parting as a death although I am sure it is the best thing for her, me, my wife and our dogs.

2 Levolor blinds (total value $75), one pair of high heels ($40), one canister of Make Up Forever foundation ($42 plus a trip to Raleigh to replace it), 4-5 seat cushions ($12 each), 4 dog pads ($10 each),  2 make up brushes ($30 total), 1 dog brush ($5), one comb ($1), 1 leash ($5), 2 pair reading glasses ($2), one broken window (yet to be replaced, value undetermined).  That's a basic list, just what pops into my head right now and I am sure I will remember more things that were chewed up or destroyed.  The window is the bottom half of a double pane window in my sunroom that was previously cracked when my lawnmower threw a rock into it.  All she did was break up the outer pane that was cracked when she would paw at it trying to get into the big house at night.  There was also blood on the window where she tried so hard to get in.  I honestly believe all her "tricks and pranks" were her way of communicating with me, trying to win me over, trying to get into my heart like she had tried to get into the house where I sleep.  A lot of it was harmless and not really destructive.  Every day for awhile she would turn over and go through the trash can, until I started locking it in the bathroom.  She got into the feed bin a couple of times and turned it over and I had to move it to the bathroom also.  She would also move things, like take a shoe and place it outside the door.  My Buddy dog did the same thing when he was a stray and just taking up with us.  An example is last Wednesday when I was getting ready to go to the doctor.  I was in the bathroom doing my makeup and I had a cooler ready with drinks for the day and on top of that a pair of tennis shoes.  I was wearing flip flops but I was bringing tennis shoes in case I wanted to do a lot of walking somewhere.  I came out of the bathroom and one of the tennis shoes was gone.  It was right outside the door where everything else moved had been deposited and she she was creeping away from me giving me that look.

After I dropped the Little Dog off at her new home I was driving and I barely made it out of the driveway before I started crying.  My wife was sort of surprised by my reaction, she reminded me that less than a couple weeks ago I was chasing her around the yard with a broom (the night she "ate" my makeup).  I made it down the road to a store and pulled over.  She was going to take over driving but she hadn't brought her glasses so I got my composure then drove home.  I thought I had put it behind me after that and just felt sort of numb the rest of the night.  I woke up early the next morning and couldn't go back to sleep, very sad with a sense of loss.  My heart was treating this like a death.  My mission that day was to reclaim the guest house and do a good clean up.  Everything had stayed a mess while she was here and it was impossible to keep clean.  Once I was sitting here on my computer and she came in literally black on all her legs and her normally white, brown face was black with soil where she had been digging.  Needless to say the floors stayed dirty but when she came back in again she was cleaned off.  She would actually wash off in the dog water bowls outside, whether that was intentional or not I will never know.  The fact is as much of a nuisance as she was to me and as hard as I tried not to, at least a part of me fell for her and I didn't realize it until she was gone.

A lady responded to my ad and it turns out she lives outside the city in a nice little brick home and had a fenced in yard.  She said she had a couple of dogs but her 14 year old son wanted a dog and this dog would be for him.  That seemed like a good fit because the history of the Little Dog is that my wife and her friend picked her up at lunch walking down the road.  I posted fliers in the area she was found and a boy had called me saying it was his dog.  We had the dog 2 days at that point and I was not attached at all to her yet so I was thrilled.  When I asked him to put his parents on the phone he gave the phone to his grandmother who told me they couldn't keep the dog.  Apparently the people living across the street had moved out and left the dog behind.  The little boy was trying to claim it but she said they couldn't keep the dog and that if they could this dog was too big.  I will say that we called her the Little Dog and she was small/medium when she arrived but she grew quite a bit in the month we had her.  I don't know how big she will get but I doubt she will retain the name Little Dog. 

So after a week my original "found dog" ad expired in the paper and we started thinking about keeping her.  At some point we decided we couldn't keep her, I don't know if it was all the havoc she reeked or just our realization that keeping a fourth animal was too much right now.  Also I had to take into consideration that everything is changing here mostly because of my transition.  I don't know where things will turn out as far as where I will be living in a year or two or if my wife and I will continue living together much longer.  We tried to find someone to take her in and I refused to take her to the pound where she would be killed if she didn't get adapted right away.  Finally I placed the "free to a good home" ad from above.  A lady called me Sunday evening expressing interest in the dog and I agreed to bring her out to her home the next afternoon.  Monday morning I held a meeting with my 2 dogs, Buddy and Night, and we all decided if the situation was right we should give her away.  Buddy has a big personality himself and requires a lot of attention.  The Little Dog always tried to get in between me and him when he was getting rubbed and he would growl at her.  Nightingale is much more quiet and introverted, mysterious and fragile like me.  She had bonded the most with the Little Dog but I could tell that my dogs had accepted her as more of a guest and not a new member of the pack.  So Monday afternoon we loaded the Little Dog in the car and drove out to the ladies house.  The yard is very well kept and there is a nice fenced in back yard.  The house is in the country but it sits on a busy 2 lane highway with cars speeding by so I was happy about the fence.  The boy was in the yard as well as 2 other kids, they are her grandkids and he is her son.  He smiled when I brought the dog out and I felt good about the situation.  The children took turns walking her on a leash and they decided that they would keep her and we decided it was a good home.  I should be very happy that I was able to match this great dog up with a good home. 

The next day when I was cleaning all the mess up, namely a string of Christmas tree lights that had been chewed up all over the storage room (add that to the list), I really lost it and I had maybe the hardest hour emotionally I can remember having.  Maybe that can be chalked up the hormones and changing dosage but I had the feeling that the dog had been sent to me for a reason and I had let her slip away.  She was an amazing animal, so full of personality and life and I really think with time and training I could have broken her of her destructive habits.  All she wanted was love and thanks to me she found it.  In retrospect I do think the Little Dog was sent to me for a reason.  I served as an intermediary between her lost home and her new forever home where she will be making children happy.  Perhaps the real lesson I need to take from this whole sorted experience is that I cannot hold on to everything that comes my way.  Sometimes I need to let go, sometimes that is best for all involved.  Maybe this is symbolic of my need to let my wife go who has been with me in some form over half my life even though we do not exist as husband and wife.  When I was having my meltdown crying on the couch Tuesday she asked me if I would react like that when she left and in my mind I thought no, I would be celebratory, but I am sure that will come with pain too.  I have always fixated on animals almost more than humans and sometimes I have felt they understand me more.  The fact is if left to my own I would be like Elly May Clampett from the old show the * Beverly Hillbillies and keep every critter that comes along.  Sometimes we have to let go, and maybe that is the lesson I need to take from this whole experience.


* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beverly_Hillbillies

pictures of her
http://www.flickr.com/photos/76293862@N07/