Yeah, so there’s this: Rose Marie isn’t the first pit bull I’ve owned.
This is my chair. I like it a lot.
My very first pit bull was Tilly.
home at last…
I found her on Pet Finder, when her name was “Emily”- the same as my youngest. She was deaf, as was my grandmother- so I took it as a sign. I applied. No response. I didn’t pursue it; I had a wonderful dog already: Finn. I honestly can’t tell you what prompted me to begin searching for another dog…er, Wait. Yes. Yes, I can. If we’re coming clean here let’s do it. *Ahem*
Rewind. When I brought Finn home, Piper was aghast.
This is my pink bird that my girl gave me. I will keep it safe.
Piper was our German Shepherd. We adored her. She was getting older, and we’d been told that an older dog can ‘teach’ a younger dog the ropes- the house rules. Plus, we thought Finn would make Piper ‘younger’. And honestly? (yep, let’s be honest) I’d been without a dog only once in my life… and it wasn’t going to happen again.
Rewind even further: Emily was preschooler and Sara was in the second grade when we got Abbey as a puppy. Abbey grew up with my girls. Yeah, she chewed the legs off of their Barbie dolls. But they burned the hair off of them with 175 watt bulbs, so Abbey must have figured legless was ‘ok’. She was the epitome of a family dog. She *adored* her girls. When she died, the girls were in high school. They mourned her passing, as did I, but I wasn’t about even attempting to replace her. How could I possibly? So for the very first time in my life, I/we didn’t have a dog.
It was awful. No one there to greet you upon coming home. No boxer boogers. No pretzel dog. I had tried to convince myself that life would be easier for us all without the responsibility of a dog – we all had “stuff” to do. But it didn’t take long for us to realize that we were ‘dog’ folk. Our lives were sorely lacking…
We held a family meeting: No boxer. We could never replace Abbey.
Piper. What a lovely baby. Tulip ears much too big for her head. What did Sara call them? Radar? Satellite? She was so easy to train. Loved her people. Connected to my husband- who didn’t quite know what to make of the adoration and work ethic. Piper was the first dog we sought professional training for- and never looked back. Worth EVERY cent. She came when called. Sat. Heeled. Stayed. Knew “kennel up”. She was an amazing dog.
Circling back to “coming clean”…. There were too many years between Piper and Finn. But, I can counter that- Finn wound up being Piper’s wing man. She’d lost most of her hearing, but when we hiked up on the logging roads, we never had to worry about leaving her behind. If she disappeared, all we had to say was, “Finn! Where’s Piper?” And the chocolate clown would be off-
Let’s go for a walk!
Piper would realize she was being herded back to us and needed to pay attention. It must have been tough for a girl who had previously always been the herder. But she took it all with grace. We had our “Clown Boy” and our “Good Girl”.
It was horrible when it was time to say good-bye to her. But we weren’t going to let her lose her dignity along with her hearing and the loss of her back legs. She’d been far to good to us; we owed her that much.
It was about a year later I began looking again for a companion for the Sausage Clown. My eldest daughter was volunteering at Angell Memorial Hospital and told me all kinds of heart-warming and heart-breaking stories about the animals there. I knew adoption was the right thing to do.
I found her on Pet Finder- “Emily” a special needs American Staffordshire terrier, approximate age 3, house trained, crate trained, good with kids and other dogs. I filed an application. They called! We were given the name of her foster family to contact so that we might set up an appointment. I called several times and left several messages. No response.
Weird. She must have been adopted. So life went on. I was busy. Finn and I were very happy hiking, playing ball, and riding to the bank together on Saturday mornings. He was much doted upon, ‘only child’. Life was good…
Check back soon for part 2 of “Coming Clean”.