Today is Rocky’s official, 1-month anniversary in our humble home. Prior to meeting Rocky, and being adopted by him, I was not a doggie person. I loved dogs. I was a dog person. I was NOT a doggie person. My husband is a doggie person. He actively encourages doggie kisses and play and roughhousing.
I preferred cats. Cats are self sufficient. Cats are independent. Cats do not need to be trained, or walked, and cats do not run. Cats do not lick your face. Cats do not slobber all over your already-beleaguered-by-a-garage-door-that-likes-to-jump-out- and-greet-its-fender-when-you-pull-in intrepid Camry’s interior. Cats can be transported nicely in small crates when car rides are necessary.
My idea of the perfect dog was my grandmother’s dog Sandy. Sandy lived with my grandparents in North Tonawanda, NY when I was somewhere between the ages of 3 and 15. Sandy – a feisty black, tan and white terrier of some sort if I recall her correctly – barked up a storm and strained to get off her leash when my folks and I came over for Sunday dinners. My youthful perception of Sandy was that if left to her own devices – specifically, off her leash – my youthful self would have been toast.
Sandy was a fully trained adult dog. Once I figured out – when I was in my early teens – how to make friends with Sandy, we got along. Sandy had her space at my grandmother’s house. I had mine. Sandy didn’t require oodles of affection. She would not jump up and drool on me. Sandy did not slobber. Sandy didn’t run around the house like a crazy person. Sandy didn’t follow me into the bathroom when I had to pee.
I’ll grant you Sandy was also 40 years ago, but I didn’t think I’d really changed much in those 40 years when I set about finding the perfect dog. I wanted an adult, sedate, sleep across the bed and go out for long walks but that was about it type dog. No puppies. Nothing with boundless energy. Nothing with even the potential to chew through my favorite LandsEnd Mary Janes.
I wasn’t adopted by that dog. I was adopted by a drooly, stubborn, extremely playful mush. I realized that as soon as The Dog came home and promptly followed me into the bathroom when I went to pee.
I don’t mind. I knew what I was getting myself into when they showed me to Rocky’s pen at the shelter. I spent an hour with Rocky at the shelter before deciding I was his forever human. I walked around outside the shelter with The Dog and thought about all of the things a spirited boxer could do: destroy my shoes, chew a loveseat, leave trails of drool and leaves on my kitchen floor, and make a mess with his food bowl. I made certain those things were absolutely cool with my inner self before I told my husband we were adopting Rocky that day at the shelter. A dog is not something you can simply return to a shelter if things go badly. A dog is a living creature, who trusts you to take care of them. I made sure Rocky was my forever dog before I adopted him.
…ahem…HE adopted Me.
My humble home now includes several Bullymake Box chew toys, an amazingly still intact crate (Super Rocky can bend crate bars with his teeth, as we learned early on), multiple library books on dog training, and various and sundry of my shoes in places I know I didn’t leave them. There is also a 25 year old loveseat with stuffing sticking out of 1 arm. Finally, there are multiple ads on Facebook and everywhere else on the Internet I look with ads for dogs, dog stuff, dog training, and humane societies and dog rescues asking for donations.
I am only going to clean the dog slobber off my … everywhere – rearview mirror, passenger door window, driver’s side sideview mirror (don’t ask me how that happened) this weekend because I’ll driving out of state, to and from New Jersey, and paranoid for no reason about being pulled over in Connecticut.
Rocky himself is in his usual place for this time of the morning: asleep in his dog bed beside my desk. The Dog looks up when I stop typing, gives me an eyeball, and then tucks down between his paws and snuggles further into the fleece top sheet covering the dog bed. When I leave this room – momentarily – Rocky will follow. During the day, Leading Canine #1 is Velcro Dog. Wherever I go, he goes. That includes jumping into the car this morning as I was loading it up with recycling and rummage sale donations.
I hated to tell him we weren’t going for a car ride for another hour…