“A dog is the only thing on earth that will love you more than you love yourself.”
That single quote says it all. In fact, this is a part of the reason I got the fur-baby I did. After the end of my engagement, I was working on myself mentally and emotionally. I had no interest in dating and had even less interest in the boys who attempted to hit on me. Since I can remember, I’ve been a “relationship jumper.” I’m not proud of it, but it’s a part of my past that makes this part of my life make sense to the outside world. Every relationship (aside from my engagement) was ended because there were certain characteristics in OTHER people that I found more appealing/attractive/whatever you want to call it, than the person I was with. The longest amount of time that I went in-between boyfriends was maybe a month or two. Having grown up and matured, when my engagement ended, I felt that was enough for a while. I needed to find ways to love and approve of myself before I could allow someone else to love me.
While on my long journey of self-healing, I read online (because the internet is ALWAYS right) that animals actually help people cope and heal. B.I.N.G.O. I tossed around the idea for a while and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to adopt one. See, I had grown up on a farm and we always had a farm dog. The dog that was around most of my life was a full bread Border Collie that we named Felix. He was the most amazing dog. Him and I just had this bond that’s so hard to explain – he knew when I was sad; he would sit right next to me and lean into me as if he were giving me a hug, he knew when i was happy; he would sit at my feet and bring his toys to play fetch, he knew when I needed to burn off some steam; he would lead me on a walk. This dog was simply amazing. His shoulders caught so many of my tears and his ears heard all my experiences, troubles, and thoughts. Ironically, he died on the day that I was supposed to be married; September 21, 2013. Thankfully, I had gone to my parents house that weekend and was able to say my goodbye’s to him.
Having a bond like that with Felix is actually what was the decision maker to go adopt a dog of my own. I wanted to have that unfailing love and devotion of a dog. I started looking at the humane society website and picking out dogs to adopt. When I first started looking, I was looking at adopting an older dog (4+ years). I got my list of names together, went to Sioux Falls and walked all the dogs I had interest in. I struck out. It seemed like the ones who were well behaved and knew commands had serious health issues that I would not be able to afford given that I was a recent college graduate and worked at a gas station. I got home that evening and started looking at younger dogs (1-3 years). These results were a little better. Once again, I drove over to Sioux Falls and interacted with the dogs. My heart settled on one; Chessa. She was a boxer mix who was very intelligent, mellow and friendly. One of the requirements that I had was that they had to get along well with other dogs since I lived near the dog park. I told the lady at the shelter that I was very interested in her and would like to take a closer look at my finances and come back tomorrow and start the adoption process. The next morning, I woke up, got on the road early and was heading to pick up MY first dog! When I got to the shelter, they had her all ready to go and the paperwork started. I saw another visitor playing with a dog in the dog run area and figured that I should find out if she was good with other dogs or not. I took her in the other half of the fenced in area and as soon as she even caught sight of the other dog, she had me pinned against the fence and I couldn’t call her off of me or calm her down. Bummer. The thought of a dog for protection was great, but not fitting for what I really wanted. So, back to square one.
I walked in and sat down at a consultation desk with one of the volunteers and told her my story and what I was looking for. She told me that they had just gotten in a fresh batch of puppies a couple days back and they were ready for homes now. She went on to explain that if I wanted a dog to be accustomed to my moods and my body language, they have to grow up around it. I kind of stalled because the last thing I wanted to do on top of trying to better myself and work full time was to tend to this yippy, peeing, eating and sleeping ball of fur. She led me to the room where they were kept and told me that there were 13 brought in, they were down to 6 and if they weren’t gone by 3:00 PM that day, they would be shipped out to the shelter in Watertown, SD….a kill shelter. That tugged at my heart strings. There were 3 other people looking so I decided that I could handle a puppy. I couldn’t stand the thought of these innocent (HA!) things being sent away only to be killed in 72 hours if they weren’t adopted.
I walked into the glass room, sat down with these fluffy balls of fur and knew within a matter of 3 minutes which one I wanted. I wanted the runt of the litter, the quiet one, the one that crawled up in my lap and fell asleep. I scooped him up in my arms, grabbed his paperwork, and headed to the adoption room. I started reading on his paperwork that he was a 6 week old St. Bernard/Border Collie/Black Lab mix that was a whopping 10 pounds named Rock. Good Lord… I looked at him and definitely saw all traits of all 3 breeds. Until that moment, I didn’t realize how much like Felix he looked, but the resemblance was so close!
The paperwork was finalized and we were released to go home! He curled up in my passenger seat most of the way home. First thing first; name change. Rock just wasn’t going to cut it. Rock sounded manly, strong, and brave… he was definitely not any of those. I decided to name him Hugo.
We got home and immediately started the potty training. Surprisingly, it went well. He had it down within a week or two with very few accidents in the house. Being a puppy, everything was a chew toy, a hiding spot, or a bed. I carried him around everywhere, gave him table scraps when he got a little older, and let him get away with much more than I should have.
Now, he’s 86 pounds and full of energy. He doesn’t walk anywhere, it’s always a trot or a run, he still chews on everything, loves everyone/everything he meets, and is the best listener and protector I could ask for. (I have a recent picture of him on a previous post.)
However, tonight, I experienced a feeling that no fur-mama wants to experience. I got home from work a little later than usual, pulled into my driveway to see Hugo tied up to my pillar on my front steps with at most 6-8 inches of leash between him and the pillar. Naturally, I thought my roommate forgot to let him in before he took of to work, so I called down to his store and started to chew his rear end wide open. He stopped me mid bite and said he didn’t leave him outside, he knew he put him inside and baby gated him in his room. Fair enough. I checked, the gate was up. (Sidenote: Hugo is scared to death of this gate and has never gotten over it) Next step, who was in my house. I started walking around and looking at all the windows. Everything was the way that my roommate and I had left it.. or at least I thought. I walked into the living room to see a shattered window, broken screens, and the blinds out in the front yard. *Start up panic mode.* Only two things could have happened, either someone was desperately trying to get in and then guard dog kicked in OR someone was walking by their fur-baby and Hugo wanted to play. My money is on the second. I immediately looked for an angry note; none, looked for wounds on Hugo; none, looked for blood on the yard; none. How he broke through the window with NO wounds what-so-ever is beyond me.
Now, normally, he would be kenneled when neither one of us are home. However, his kennel is sitting at Shane’s house so that it is one less thing I have to transport, since it is so big and bulky, when I leave town. We’ve never had an issue with the baby gate until tonight.
I am just thanking my lucky stars tonight that Hugo is as loving as he is and that someone had the courtesy to tie him up instead of taking him to the local shelter or this situation could have turned into all sorts of complicated.