About two years ago I lost my best dog friend Fritter. He was a special dog, brought back to BC from Ontario with us from our honeymoon. We found him at the local shelter there, and even though we were looking for a puppy this crazy somersaulting mutt stole our heart. Named after a Robins Donuts road sign for apple fritters, he stepped right into our home like he had been there forever. My time with Fritter was short, only 6 years. He suffered from a lot of old dog problems as our vet said, not those that a young adult would suffer from. He was supposed to be about two when we brought him home, but really he was mostly likely closer to 6 at that time.
His passing left a huge hole in my heart. I was distracted by babies, and life, but at night when I lay down to go to sleep the spot to my right was vacant. He always laid there, his back to my thigh and hip, his head resting on my upper arm. We always fell asleep this way. He would grumble lightly when I got up in the night to breast feed, but would happily reclaim his spot in our position when I returned.
A year ago when we were visiting Victoria I decided to go to the SPCA and see if they had any small dogs. Mark and I had been discussing the possibility of adopting another dog to keep Twiggy company. She seemed sad and I missed having two dogs in the house.
The girls and I waked past kennel after kennel of bigger dogs that didn't fit what we were looking for. Then around the corner was the kennel for us. Three small dogs all of them mixes, A dominant long haired Chihuahua cross, a Jack Russell cross and another little black Terrier cross that stopped me dead in my tracks. He was shy and passive while we were watching him. He was concerned over the growly Chihuahua in the back corner. She defiantly didn't like us being there. I took a quick picture through the kennel door and texted it to Mark "I think I just found another Fritter..." he immediately texted back an "OMG."
We walked back toward the front desk and I spotted a volunteer sitting in another kennel with a bigger dog. I asked her if she had any experience with "Robbie". She told me that her family was in the process of deciding which of the three dogs in that kennel to adopt. Each of her family members liked a different one. I'll admit in that moment I panicked. I hurried to the front and asked if I could take an adoption application with me. I called Mark and I filled it out in the car and told the clerk that I would be back with my husband at the end of the day. We came back and I asked if we could meet Robbie one on one to see what he was like. A volunteer unlocked his kennel and he came out happily, I went into one of the empty kennels with him alone while Mark and the girls waited outside.
As soon as he came in, he laid down, and I reached out my hand. I touched his wild corse fur and began to cry. I closed my eyes and it was like I had my best friend back. He felt the same as Fritter, almost exactly, just a third of the size. I imagined what Fritter would have been like as a puppy and this was it. Robbie climbed into my lap and that was it. We discussed adoption with the volunteer and did all the necessary paperwork and checks and he was ours. Half hour after adopting him we were on our way to the ferry, with two very excited little girls and one very happy mama. We knew we would change his name from Robbie to something a bit more significant just like we had done with Fritter, so we named him Douglas, for Douglas Street. The only street where I could get my bearings in Victoria.
Poor Douglas barfed all the way home, in turn making Mark almost barf all the way home. He settled in quickly and Twiggy didn't mind him at all.
He quickly showed us that he was not the mature two year old they thought he was. More like a very immature not even one as our vet soon told me.
He has an obsession for chewing the eyes of of any stuffed animal he can get his teeth on. Hard plastic is a second favourite and rolls of toilet paper are a close third. Basically he eats everything and anything all the time.
This winter has been exceptionally brutal for our family in the health department. When I say brutal I don't mean, major health crisis' just virus after virus, infection after infection and so on. I am running on a lack of sleep, and some days are just more trying than others. About two weeks ago (when I first thought of this post) after trying for about 2 hours to get Ola to settle in to sleep. I sulked out of her room and plopped on to the edge of the couch. Doug climbed up into my lap and just melted into my arms.
We all know that dogs are used for therapy for all sorts of situations. Companions for children with special needs, visitors at seniors centres and hospitals, but I think sometimes we take for granted that we have them in our homes everyday. I get annoyed when I have taken another little person toy out of Doug's mouth, and I tell him he's a brat when he's chewed up a glow stick on the couch, but really I am glad that he's here.
I held him and petted his little scruffy head for close to an hour. I cried and squeezed him tight and he was there for me, just like Fritter always was.
He's there for the kids and their late afternoon naps.
He's around to chew off my buttons if I have too many.
He's there to puke all over my car even during a two minute car ride.
Doug has taken up residence on my left side, only because the cat takes up the right, and Twiggy takes up the space between my knees.
You can't regret adopting an animal from a shelter, the love they give back is amazing.