While I know that Harry Nilsson song was referencing a person, my very best friend is my dog Einstein. Now…that isn’t to say that I don’t have GREAT, AMAZING friends, I do. My husband, my chosen family…they all have places in my heart. However, World Adoption Day was yesterday, and this is what I want to write about…
Aside from my son, he is the best thing my ex-wife ever gave me. I was 5 months pregnant when she told me she wanted to go to the shelters and look at dogs. I was clear that there was no way I could just “go look”, that we would come home with a dog. The Humane Society wouldn’t allow us to adopt a dog because I was pregnant, so when we went to the city shelter, I put a sweatshirt on and we didn’t mention being pregnant. (I am aware of what I did. I’ve had dogs all my life, and felt confident in testing the temperament of a dog)
As we walked down the aisle of kennels, my heart was full of sadness for all the dogs. I wanted to take them all home, even the ones who looked a little crazy. When I got to his kennel, Andy (his shelter name) came right up to me and sat against my hand/the fence. I looked in to his eyes and just knew…I was his person.
His story was no where near as traumatic as most of the rescue stories I’ve heard. Animal control found him on the streets, relatively clean and a little skittish. We took him in to a room to play with him and he came alive. He cuddled, then he’d play, then cuddle again. The staff suggested we see another dog for comparison. They brought in another similar age/breed dog that went CRAZY in the room. I was sitting on the floor and it literally jumped off my head.
I decided Andy was perfect, we signed the papers, and we went straight to the pet store because we did not own a single dog item!! I sat in the car with him while my ex bought the necessities, then we went home. One thing I knew for sure: Andy may have been the right dog, but Andy was not the right name. He was SO smart, but also completely full of piss and vinegar. A week after his adoption, I got sick. I was working, pregnant, and had this toddler-esque puppy who had more energy than I’d ever had. While trying to name him, I also considered if I’d made the wrong decision in adopting him, especially so close to having a baby. I stayed up at night, cuddling with him and crying. I talked to my friends and parents desperately trying to make the best choice for all involved.
One day, it came to me…Einstein. So smart but inept at the same time. (Other names considered were Plato and Aristotle) I decided to keep him, and after that really rough week and a half, we really began to bond deeply. I would bring the baby that I watched home with me every day to walk Einstein. Mateo and Einstein were fast friends, and I knew that once D was born, he’d love him too.
We were walking through our complex one afternoon, and the woman from the office followed in her cart slowly, watching us. I waved, and she smiled a tense smile, then drove off. The next day we received a letter in our mail box that we were being evicted with 30 days notice if we did not get rid of our “Pit Bull Dog”. I never lied about what Einstein was, he is definitely a pit mix. We even took him to our vet who interfaced him with several dogs and wrote us a shining reference letter stating that EInstein was indeed a MIX (not a pure bred) and that he had a great temperament.
After getting a lawyer, we decided to sell our home and move. That was the first of several go ’rounds with breed restrictions and living situations. Prior to owning Einstein, I knew nothing of BSL (Breed Specific Legislation, http://stopbsl.org/bsloverview/).
It even took several people standing up for us/Einstein to get in to our current rental situation. It is probably my second greatest motivator in wanting to own a home. People cross the street when they see us coming. “Concerned” parents have running commentary or give me the side eye regularly.
I respect that people have had traumatic experiences with ALL breeds of dogs. My niece was viciously attacked by chihuahuas when she was younger. I’ve known people who have been bitten by Pomeranians, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds. I feel for those people, and for those dogs. The dogs were often innocent victims in the situations too, as they couldn’t control their owners or how they were raised.
Yesterday, there were posts all over various forms of social media talking about World Adoption Day. While I know that day is about human adoption, many pet adopters posted too. There were adoption stories, rescue stories, and posts of adoptable pets. My heart felt warm and sad all at once.
I want to adopt/rescue another dog…more dogs…let’s be honest here, ALL THE DOGS! Yet, in our current situation, we’ve elected to let Einstein live his days out as the solo fur face in this house. He is dog-friendly, yet I’d rather allow him the dignity of being my #1 until he isn’t here anymore. He shares me with the kids, and has since before D was born. This dog is the most gentle, kind, and patient dog I have ever known. Einstein taught Deylan to crawl…and to crawl out the dog door. Allows Elianah to take his bone from his mouth while he is chewing it, hold it up and say, “Bone”, then offer it back to him as though she has a special treat. He doesn’t so much as grumble. In fact, this morning Elianah got out of bed and said, “Bye Mama, Brother” and toddled off to the kitchen. He looked over his shoulder at me, saw that I wasn’t going after her, and stretched off the bed to follow her.
I know one post won’t change people’s minds about BSL. I am not naive enough to believe that I could even tip the scales. I do know that after being Einstein’s human Mama, I am passionate about owning pit/staffy mixes, and that I will raise them to be excellent canine citizens who work to change people’s minds one at a time.
This guy is my best friend. He is aging…in my opinion very gracefully. Lately, I try to stop and make sure I give him love as often as I can because I don’t know how much time I’ll have with him.