In April last year I wrote a post all about the debate raging in our family of when (or if) we would ever get a dog or any pet. It was one of the most hotly contested issues in our nearly 18 years together as a couple.
Cut to November and we went to the US for our big trip with the kids. I knew this was our last big trip for a while. We had visited my husband’s family in Europe in 2010 and now this one. The issue of leaving a dog somewhere for too long would now be moot. We would be lucky to have a short getaway or drive down to Sydney in the next year or two…
Shortly into the trip I brought up the subject yet again. This time I was back in camp “yes” and was tired of the sensible reasons in his “no” list. I simply said “I am ready. It is time. I want to get a dog when we get home.”
A little negotiation took place and it was agreed.*
Cut to January 3 and we arrive back in Australia.
January 4 is spent unpacking and the kids are getting restless already being tied to the house for two days.
I suggest we go for an outing to the animal shelter just to get the ball rolling and talk to the staff etc.
We arrived 15 minutes before closing and just had a look around. I was interested in this little boy dog, but the kids and my husband called me over to see an Irish Wolfhound cross. She was cute, but way bigger than we planned so it was more of a “isn’t she beautiful” gesture.
We returned to the rest of the centre and then were talking to the Director. After hearing more about us she said she had a dog she would like us to consider. As she headed right for the Irish Wolfhound cross my eyes opened wide. I told her that was the dog my family had been checking out.
She took her out for us to see and explained about how Evie lost her leg.
We were all stunned. It is her hind leg so no one had noticed (although my 7 year old insists she saw).
As soon as she came out of her holding pen she was right onto us. No hesitation. Tail wagging. Kisses and cuddles galore.
We had walked in asking about female, small to medium, non shedding dogs.
We were immediately connecting with a much larger, slightly shedding dog. With 3 legs.
We stayed for a while and chatted and patted. We promised to return the next day to spend time with her and maybe the other dogs we had been looking at.
I was actually surprised that my husband was open to returning. We figured it would be months until we found the right-for-us dog and had prepared the kids for that situation. “You can’t expect the right dog to be there from day one. Sometimes it takes a while.”
We got up the next day, all buzzing with excitement. Honestly I think I was the most high-as-a-kite person in the house. I felt energized and excited and it felt insane.
We arrived and she immediately responded to us. We all went outside to a yard area and hung out. She licked us, let the girls walk her around, took treats from them and spoke to me with her eyes.
I was falling in love – hard and fast.
I looked at my husband and knew that in spite of himself he was falling hard too.
Amazingly my younger daughter was in tears at the thought of taking Evie – too big she said. I surprised myself when I told her that it seemed the three of us really wanted Evie and we had to trust she would get there too. It was just something to adjust to. Evie was meant for us though and she needed us.
She was nearly two years old and had been at the shelter for 4 months already and they were getting nervous as she was not placed yet. She had developed an infection in her leg and the vet could not save it. After amputating her hind leg she had twice weekly hydrotherapy sessions kindly donated by a caring soul. She was now strong – as strong as any four legged dog with her only “limitation” being no longer able to jump 6 foot fences. That’s a limitation we needed to hear though. Our fences are lower and we would never have adopted Evie if she had still been a jumper.
So while our house was still full of open suitcases and too much stuff and our car was a small old thing already on the list to replace this month, we agreed to come back on the Monday and bring her home for good.
That will be part two – I want to share this for my kids to have recorded forever. The way it feels like she has been with us for years instead of 9 days. The way her not eating took me right back to parenting a newborn. The way she is filling up little holes I had not even realized were there in me. The way my daughter forgot about being afraid of her the second we brought her home. No turning back – instant love all around.
Have you ever fallen in love with an animal in an instant? Have you adopted a pet?
Find your simple,
*My husband takes care of outside jobs at home so already does all the composting, gardening and chicken coop cleaning (so much poop). His final point was that he really does not want to be picking up more poop. The deal we struck was this:
The kids and I are in charge of poops at home.
We will walk the dog in the mornings.
Hubby walks in the evening.
I hate rain so if it is raining heavily and hubby wants to take the dog for a walk, fine by me, but I won’t be doing it.
Agreed. Witnessed by friends (oh I did go there and made sure it was public knowledge). Commitment shared with the kids.