I am not sure it would be fair to say I am a “dog person”. I do not see a canine and instantly get all gushy and feel the need to scrunch its face. I like dogs, most puppies are just okay. I used to like cats, they are good for a snuggle and then go off on their own, but they make my face itch, their pee smells horrific and they are just a little creepy, so I got over that. I like kittens, but I wish kittens grew up to be dogs.
For many years I was pet free, then I got a goldfish, Clive, I had him for years.
My friend TxK had a dog. He ran away over and over again, it was the lure of the mall, he eventually left home and the mall stopped calling to have him picked up.
Then she picked up a dog that needed fostering, when that one was gone she got this little rat dog: a Chihuahua mix that was more like a miniature German shepherd. The Killer Chavez he was called.
I dated a guy for a while who had Chihuahuas, frankly I did not exactly understand them, really I had never understood small dogs at all, this experience did not really help. The dogs we and most if not all of the people we knew had big, or at least 60lb or greater dogs. My Aunt and Uncle had Irish Wolfhounds. Dogs were meant to be big.
One weekend TxK asked if I could watch Chavez. I said sure. Little did I know that this would seal my fate.
He was a sweet pup. Easy to walk and had some personality. At the end of the weekend, I decided, maybe little dogs were not so bad.
So a few weeks later when TxK told me the woman who ran the rescue where she had fostered and eventually adopted Chavez from was looking for fosters did I want to take one on, I said sure. What they heck? It was only a few week commitment; besides my apartment did not allow dogs, it would get it out of my system.
It was a hot day, the van was late and we spent hours sitting in the parking lot waiting for it to show up. When it did, I was not entirely sure what to expect. I figured I would get a girl dog, maybe something white. TxK had apparently assumed a girl dog too, because she picked up a pink retractable leash for me. Well okay it could also have to do with the fact that I like pink.
When the van finally showed up they started pulling crates out of the van, various people picking out the dogs. Then I saw one, a little black pup. The woman was busy with other people, and so TxK just took the liberty to open the crate and let the little guy out.
He was a mess: mangy, scrappy, stinky and scared.
After a few signatures and a stop at a grass patch we left.
TxK dropped us back off at my house, helped me bathe him and left. I looked at this little bag of bones and thought, “shit, what have I just done?”
Shit was an understatement. This scrawny malnourished pup did not want to eat and though was clearly house broken, he was not healthy. His poop was soup, he puked, he had a rash on his belly which turned out to be an allergic reaction to flees, which he also had and very little interest in eating… so I took him to the vet.
Luckily, the place I was fostering him through covered the vet bills, because they quickly piled up.
He needed meds and needed to go out every few hours until he was able to keep foods in. So I brought him to work. Occasionally bringing him to my office, other times leaving him in the car in the garage. My friends at worked were shocked that I was even entertaining the idea of keeping this unsocial, scrappy little 16lb thing.
He had started to win me over.
Three and a half years later, I think it is safe to say he has officially won; and is, by most accounts, a completely different dog. He is sturdy and friendly, he is like a therapy dog for the people I work with, who take breaks from their computer monitors to throw the ball down the hall a few times or just skritch him behind his ear. People who are afraid of dogs tell me that he does not scare them and will even squat down to say hello.
He has been to more states than many people I know, loves hanging out in hotel lobbies and makes new friends where ever he goes. Some may say that I saved him, but in some ways I really think he saved me.