Tag Archives: Dog Adoption

The Truth: Dog Adoption is Work

Our first dog was purchased from a breeder as a scrappy 6-month-old puppy. He was the last of his litter and his picture on the internet was love at first sight. Sure we had to potty train him, but he came with no emotional baggage. He was secure, feisty, and ready to love.

The scrappy picture stolen from the internet that stole my heart with Simon.

This scrappy picture from the internet stole my heart.

Odi, on the other hand, is a completely different dog. We are probably his sixth placement, (wherever he started, pound, rescue group, adoptive family, rescue group, us). The family who adopted him before us returned him because he was taking their 3-year-old son’s toys. I can imagine it was more than just the toys.

I laugh that unlike Simon, Odi is an actual dog. He likes being outside, exploring, getting into trouble.

I laugh that unlike Simon, Odi is an actual dog. He likes being outside, exploring, getting into trouble.

Odi is a ball of energy in the mornings. He wants to play for hours. He has marked in our house. He chews. He scratches at invisible pests even though he has been flea-free for days. We’re helping his tummy overcome the stress of a new home with a bland diet of rice and boiled chicken fed four times daily. There was a moment on the beach yesterday where he looked around and did not recognize anyone. He bolted back toward the car, stopping to see if a stranger was anyone he knew by tapping her ankles with his paws. She looked startled, I got there just in time for him to turn and wag his tail. Thankfully he remembered me.

Put simply, Odi is work. Adopting a dog sounds so beautiful, a saved life, a happy home. And, it is these things, with time. But the work comes first. He offers so many glimmers of a wonderful companion. He plays with Simon without aggression, he sleeps happily in his crate, he is affectionate, calm with people, gentle. He gets Simon to move his butt off the couch. He plays fetch. He loves the backyard. Everyone who has met him has been in awe that we’ve only had him for such a short time, that such a happy, well-mannered dog was homeless.

He is amazing, but he also requires more work and patience than a dog who has never been abandoned. He hates getting in and out of cars. He refused to walk into Petsmart. One out of a hundred people makes him cower behind our legs as though we’ve crossed paths with an evil witch. He likes dogs the most. It is clear he has a history we will never fully understand.

Friends with similar stories give us hope, reassuring us their now well-adjusted dogs were no where near as calm after only a week. Odi is calm, I’ll give him that. I just have to admit I thought rescuing a dog would be a little easier. I don’t regret it and I’m sure his list of challenges is minor compared to many others like him. I’ve already fallen under his spell. He just requires more energy than our lazy little guy lying on the couch next to me. But, I guess that’s why we got him in the first place…

We're hopeful the love and consistency will pay off.

Odi is definitely special. We’re hopeful the love and consistency will pay off.

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Welcome Home Otis/Odin (aka Odi)

Our newest family member.

Our newest family member on the left.

About a month ago, yoga cat disappeared. We were sad. Our dog was sadder. He destroyed long-time favorite toys, sniffed every inch of ground on our walks, and just looked generally depressed whenever he was left home alone. He and yoga cat used to play chase to pass the time and we almost always found them in the same room, together, when we got home.

Lacking the chase exercise, he began to put on weight. Suddenly, the dog door he had used for years was a little too small. I finally drew the line when he got stuck. Yes, stuck. His harness was the straw that broke the camel’s back, or got the pomeranian stuck in the dog door, depending on how you look at it.

My husband had been trying to convince me he needed a friend for weeks. I was reluctant. What if Luna came back? Did we really want the added expense and work of another creature in our house? Did we feel like potty training a puppy? I was staunchly on the no side, but my husband persisted and I gave in. It would be his dog. He had to pick it out, do the work.

He found a pure-bred border collie puppy down in Modesto. My gut said no. I didn’t want a puppy and I was nervous about having such a smart, possibly high-energy dog. So, I did what any good wife would do and got back on Petfinder to look for a decoy. Success. A wire-haired terrier with grey polka dots on her ears. She looked a lot like Simon’s favorite girlfriend down the street. The dog was supposed to be Simon’s new friend, after all.

My husband, the good sport he is, approved of a quick trip to Elk Grove to check her out at a sanctuary for homeless pets. Poor creature, she was a mess, and Simon had zero interest. He is breed-ist and prefers dogs with poofs similar to his own. Fortunately, in the back of one of the dog runs, Alex spotted our new dog, a border collie mix who patiently wagged his tail while all the other mutts howled in pandemonium.

Our gentle boy.

Our gentle boy.

Alex asked if he could be brought out. It was love, for Alex at least. For Simon, well, he still didn’t show much interest, but as the dog checked him out, they showed no aggression to each other, which is unusual for Simon with boy dogs. This dog was one of the gentlest we had ever met. Even the roaming cats were of no interest to him. As Simon barked like a mad man each time a cat crossed our path, Otis did nothing but wag his tail. All good signs, we decided.

Turns out our pal Otis was the spoiled beast of his previous rescue family, but he kept taking the toys of the three year-old child and it was just too much for the family to handle. He had gone to obedience training, received every medical service imaginable, even had a DNA test to determine his breed combination, (apparently schnauzer, border collie, and cocker, but I’m not convinced). In his year and a half of life, he somehow ended up on death row at a pound and then was rescued by this animal group, adopted, then returned.

The two week trial sold me. Here was this dog with all these pluses, if it didn’t work, we could bring him back. We felt like he picked us. He was so happy to see us through that chain-linked fence, so patient as he watched Simon and wagged his tail. On the car ride home, he snuggled his new friend the entire way. Last night he slept without objection or a single noise in his crate. Today he and Simon stomped around the backyard for hours while I did some spring yard¬†work.

Fast pals.

And I thought I was Simon’s best friend…

I wasn’t sure if it would be hard to love another dog like I love Simon, but I think Otis will at least come close. He’s eager to please, kind, and affectionate. He loves Simon like he’s known him forever. Somehow he makes our home more complete, happier even, I guess my husband was right.

The only part we don’t agree on is his name. Alex wants to call him Odin after a pagan Norse god. I immediately took to calling him Oats and Odi for short, which for me goes more with Otis. I guess this dog will have two names, depending on which family member you ask. Although, really, we have both been calling him Odi, so I guess that’s his name. And, it does have a pretty great song to go with it,¬†Odi, Odi, Odi, Oh! Smart boy that he is, his ears already perk up when it plays.

Alright, he does have one bad habit for us to break-- he seems to think the planter box is a play box... Although looking at the horrible post-winter state of this box, I don't think I can complain.

Alright, he does have one bad habit for us to break– he seems to think the planter box is for play… And, yes, there is a reason I did all that yard work, winter left our backyard a mess.

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