Archive for February, 2013

Bringing Home Buddy

So I got a new dog.  His name is Buddy.  And this is big but not surprising news because it was one of those things that was bound to happen.  I lost my Maggie dog last May and well, I’m one of those people that believes life is better with a canine companion.  I just really didn’t know when The time would be right.   And then two weeks ago I visited our local animal shelter knowing that I would almost definitely leave with a dog.  Buddy (then known as Shane) was the second dog that I walked.  He stayed close to my side yet ran when I ran.  As we waited inside to talk to the shelter worker he leaned into me and looked up at me with pleading eyes.

It turns out he had been at the shelter since May.  The math was easy….unfortunately West Virginia is a state that has a high rate of euthanasia in what is called ‘kill’ shelters because people don’t spay or neuter their pets.  As a side note, the rate is improving at our local shelter due to the hard work done by volunteers and rescue programs but it’s still a problem.  So spay or neuter your pets….and don’t buy from breeders because there are oodles of dogs already needing homes.  That is all.  The Dog Formerly Known as Shane was getting close to ‘his time.’  So I took him home.

And he’s a good, good dog.  He’s as sweet as could be and pretty well behaved for a dog that has spent the past nine months in a shelter.  Some friends came over that night to meet the Dog Now Known as Buddy and they all fell in love with him instantly.  Even though his gas was absolutely terrible, he snuggled up to everyone after an initial “I’m scared of you” glare.  But the whole time, he kept looking back at me, almost like he was asking if it was OK.  In a few short hours, he made it clear that I was his person.

And I knew I was going to write this blog entry.  And I thought this blog entry would be all sappy, talking about how I had found a true partner in Buddy and I couldn’t imagine life without him and there’s so much one can learn from a dog, blah, blah, blah.  But when I started this blog, I vowed to always be honest because it’s only in this honesty that I can cultivate better relationships with not only those around me, but also with myself.  So here goes…for a while I thought I made a mistake by adopting a dog.  There’s still a smidgen of doubt but it gets smaller every day.

For starters, I’ve been a woman without anyone to answer to for over six months.  And it’s nice.  I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.  I worked long hours at three jobs and then, because it’s so hard to sleep after a restaurant shift, sometimes went out afterward.  I rarely said no to social invitations and sometimes went days where my apartment became a stopping place only for a change of clothes, a place to sleep or a bite to eat between exercising, seeing friends and working.   And now, with Buddy, I can’t quite do that anymore.  But it’s cool because truth be told, I could probably stand to put on the brakes a little bit, spend more time walking in the park and less time out on the town.  Since I got Buddy, I’ve been more productive, taking care of things around the house that I’ve been meaning to do for eons.

And Buddy…well, he’s not Maggie.  I never expected a dog to immediately jump in and fill the hole left in my heart by her absence.  But he’s got the same big ol’ head that Maggie did and the same white chest.  Sometimes I look at him and just expect to know him like I knew my Maggie.  And I suppose I expect him to do the same with me.  But he’s Buddy.  He’s his own dog and somehow we will figure out our new life together.

Then today it hit me.  The crux of the problem…the issue…the ‘what’ of what is going on here.  I’ve been single for a year and dogless for almost as long.  I have lost faith in my ability to take care of someone else.  I wondered if I still had the capacity to love.  And then here comes this dog with these big brown eyes and he wants me to try again.  And it scares the shit out of me.

Before I went to the shelter, people asked me how I was going to pick a dog.  “I’m going to take the one who needs me the most,” I told them.  And there were at least 50 dogs in that shelter, all wonderful creatures, some of them scared, some of them hyper.  There were big dogs and small dogs, ones with funny ears and ones with interesting spots.  They all needed homes and they all deserve one.  But it was this one brown dog, kinda nondescript that seemed to speak to me.  I’m listening now, Buddy, I swear.


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