Baby sometimes looooove…

…it just ain’t enough. -Patty Smyth ft Don Henley

The other day my phone rang and I glanced at an unknown number thinking, “I don’t know anyone from Madera.” Suddenly I remembered I was expecting a call from Fresno Bully Rescue and I answered. Terese was on the other end and we quickly got in to dog-talk.

I’ve already said how impressed I am with the people at FBR, yet I feel like I need to shout it from the roof tops after this conversation. Terese and I got to chatting about my visit with Pretty Girl (who is still so heavy on my heart and mind y’all). I addressed all of my concerns with her, and even told her a lot about how I adopted Einstein and our family dynamic as it is currently. She let me know that Pretty has a special place in her heart, and that she has her heart invested in making sure Pretty finds the right home.

It was a hard conversation, though necessary and very good. Terese told me honestly that she does not feel that Pretty is the right fit for us, as I will always second guess her behaviour. She also told me that since Einstein is almost 12, as a senior dog he really deserves to live out his time solo with his “pack” of non-fur folks. I already knew that might be the right answer in my gut…hearing it from someone else was a different pill to swallow entirely.

Terese also let me know that I can attend a volunteer orientation, and that our family can not only come help out with the dogs at the shelter but that she will train me so that I can conduct home checks for any potential adoptive family that is close to us. All of that made me feel a LOT better. Pretty is still on my mind. I still have pictures of her on my phone. I’m still on a mission to help her, and to help the other dogs at FBR.

I have spent so much time lately just cuddling Einstein. Knowing how short his time is on the planet and how much he gives to me…I cannot ever repay him for all he does. Even nightly filet mignon would not come close (and would probably be unhealthy anyway). He loves me and blesses me in a way that only pets can. In my opinion, only dogs, but I’m a dog person so I imagine that other pet people get these things from their pets too.

Kids and dogs. All of my life, those have been the two things that are my heart, my soul, and my passion. I want to change the world for them and with them. I want to help serve the world we are in to make it a better place. Some days I get really down, but even on those days I feel strongly in my heart that things CAN get better. Seeing dogs who need rescue or children who have nothing…if I sit in that place I will cry and cry. When I can shift slightly to a place where I realize that any small movement is forward movement…it helps me adjust and move forward.

The reason I never finished my degree and went in to social work is that I knew in my heart of hearts I could not do the work without either blurring the lines of appropriateness in my job or it tearing my soul apart. For years I have stayed away from adoptable (adopt-a-bull) dogs knowing that I wasn’t ready. I’m still not ready…Einstein is still my heart and soul, but as I found out when Elianah was born, the heart grows and I’m ready to expand a little. I cannot wait to start volunteering with Fresno Bully Rescue, and maybe even a closer agency at some point that would allow me to do even more. Who knows.

For anyone out there considering a pet, really of any kind, I beg of you…adopt, don’t shop. There are SO MANY RESCUES!!! And shelters y’all…do not forget the shelters. We adopted guinea pigs when my son was 6. Guinea pigs!!! There are homeless birds, cats, snakes, turtles…you name it.

On the off chance that someone out there is reading this, is in the central California area, and is considering an awesome female dog (not puppy, but still only 4)…consider Pretty Girl. She is an amazing dog with a huge heart, and she deserves to have a fur-ever home.

 

People let me tell ya ’bout my best friend…

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…

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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/).

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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.

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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.

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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.