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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Charity -- The Pup

waiting for treats
I read somewhere once that people who keep pets live longer, healthier, and happier lives.  I'm no scientist, I have completed no studies of my own, but I can say that I am a believer.

A while back I mentioned how much joy Hope and I received simply from baby-sitting a friend's dog, and that alone was enough for us to decide we needed a little doggy of our own.  In October we adopted Charity from AZ Small Dog Rescue.  I had been interested in finding a little Yorkshire terrier, but this little pup's picture stuck in my mind and even though I ran across some Yorkies, I kept going back to her.  There was just something about her face that made me think she wanted to come home with us.

I drove to the shelter on my way home from work, just minutes before they were ready to close, and I asked to see Charity.  They brought her out and she pretty much jumped into my arms and kissed my face all over.  I sat and played with her for bit and I completely fell in love with her.  I told the lady that I would be back the following morning with my daughter, and as long as Charity responded well to Hope, I would be bringing her home with us.  The lady's response was, "I'm pretty sure Charity just found a home."  And sure enough, when I brought Hope with me the following morning, all three of us were sold -- Charity found a home.

Charity is a Fox Terrier Dachshund mix. She's 10 pounds now, but when we found her she was just shy of 7 pounds, skinny as hell and scared of everyone and everything except for us.  We had bought her a world of toys (that she had no clue what to do with) and treats that... well... let's just say to her it seemed that treats were more like the rocks and twigs from outside.  She didn't trust the little yummy liver bites that the trainer at Pet's Mart swore by.  Hope was a little concerned by this and asked me what I thought.  I responded with something like, "Well, they found her wandering the streets of Phoenix and I'm sure she's seen a Hell all her own.  It's going to take some time for her to feel safe."  Hope held Charity close in her arms and said, "Well, little pup, you're going to fit right in here with us.  We've had our fair share of trouble too."  I said nothing -- no point in denying the truth.

Owl Friend
For weeks the toys and treats just laid on the floor, as she did little more than stay as close to our side as she could.  But after a month or so, she was brave enough to eat the treats and realize they were way better than the pigeon poop on the patio.  And one day I came home from work to find her running through the house with a toy in her mouth and playing fetch with Hope.  I can't even explain the joy that came over me while watching that little pup run through the place like wild fire with the biggest smile on her face.  All I knew at that moment was joy had found a place in our doggy's heart, and she was more than happy to share it with us.

Several months have passed now, and Charity has chosen her favorite toy -- Owl Friend.  Hope teases me because of my lack of creativity with toy names.  Charity has Monkey Friend, Dragon Friend, Hamster Friend, Zebra Friend, and Owl Friend.  She's played with all of them, but for some reason, Owl Friend is her favorite and I absolutely LOVE her love for Owl Friend.  She carries that stupid little toy everywhere.  She has somehow molded the squeaker inside to fit her teeth and she walks around squeaking the thing throughout the house.    The other night I even woke up with Owl Friend beside my head because Charity brought it to bed with her.  It's her woobie -- my silly little puppy has a woobie, just like some of the toddlers I've known in my lifetime.  And obviously, as jaded as I can be, as many cynical and sarcastic jokes I can make about life, this one little ten pound puppy has the ability to make me go on and on over something as stupid as a little purple owl with a squeaky toy at its core.

Yes, I am completely a believer in the fact that this one little creature has the ability to cancel out all the damage the stress and sorrow I tend to carry with me can do on my life.  I believe every time I take this doggy for a walk, I smile way more with her than I would ever do on a walk alone.  I believe, every time she gets the crazy runs through my house with that stupid toy in her mouth, each smile she brings to my face cures just a bit more of the bitterness I harbor.  And yes, on the nights I've come home alone over the past holidays when Hope was out of town, all it took was this silly little pup crawling up on my lap while I cried to make the pain less significant than it would have been had I come home to complete emptiness.

Depression is a killer.  Charity, The Pup... she may just be part of the cure.

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