You may or may not have heard that Will and I adopted a dog two weeks ago. She’s a purebred Australian Cattle dog (though very small for her breed), we named her June, and they think she’s about a year/year and a half. We’ve been wanting a dog for a long time now, but only recently did our living and financial situation come together to be a good time. I saw her one day on the Central Coast Herding Dog Rescue I keep an eye on, and it seemed too soon, but she seemed too good to be true, so Will and I took a day off of work and we drove up to Paso Robles to meet her (which is so much farther than my brain told myself it would be). We were warned she was really hyper but just needed to be trained, as she’d lived with a family that had way too many dogs and never got walks or training, and the city made them give up some of the dogs. We fell in love with her right away – she’s as cute as button and loves to give kisses. There was no doubt in our minds we’d take her home asap.
But, here’s the but. As she settled in after a few days, things got so hard. I knew that bringing a dog into our lives wouldn’t be easy peasy, but I will fully admit I had no idea how hard it would be. (If you’re thinking of adopting a dog, think about how tricky it will be and you may need to multiply that a few times). She has issues I wasn’t prepared for and in the past two weeks there have been two points where I broke down sobbing, telling Will I didn’t think we should keep her – that she deserved someone who had the time and energy to train her and not resent her. I resented her so hard and felt so guilty all the time. And in turn she loved Will and was a jerk to me, because dogs are smart and pick up on all of that. But amazing people sent me amazing advice and friends told us horror stories about their dogs in their first year with them that I had no idea about. I realized the few dogs I knew well had either secret issues or were adoption story anomalies. I realized I wanted her to fit into the way I live my life right now and felt so stubborn about admitting that I needed to make certain changes and be super patient with her. We can’t go on long neighborhood walks anymore, but I drive her to parks where there are no scary dogs behind fences and every few days we go on a long trail run. I keep her away from my friend’s submissive dogs until I can teach her “leave it” and “watch me” like a pro (she’s a rough houser, which shockingly, not all dogs love). I’m figuring out how to keep her entertained and what jobs to give her to keep her happy. We’re taking her to training and learning lots of useful things. And some days it sucks and I feel defeated, but it’s getting so much better just in a few short days. I keep this list in my head of all the things I love about her and it grows every day, I feel less hopeless and full of more love.
And the question I get the most is “but what about Wendy?!”, even some really judgmental comments about how sad they are for her and that adds to my stress and guilt like you don’t even know. Because so far June isn’t great around Wendy – we were told she was raised with cats, but she sees her and wants to play, just like dogs on the street. And maybe the cats she was around before were used to that. But Wendy is a tough ass bitch (I mean seriously) and we have a baby gate up for her in the bedroom that she can get under (but June cannot) to have her own private space, and then when June is crated at night she gets the place to herself. She’s stopped hissing at June when they look at each other, and slowly June’s interest in her is starting to fade – which is exactly what we want. A lack of intrigue. I feel guilty often, but Wendy is the laziest cat on earth who sleeps all day, so things haven’t really changed too much. Every day we each make sure we hang out with her and give her lots of attention. I’m confident my vision of the four of us snuggling on the sofa watching TV together will come true in the future. Maybe just way, way in the future. I’m willing to wait for that moment.
June’s awesome shibori dyed leash in the second photo is made by a fantastic company here in LA, Blink. I posted about them years ago and was excited to have a reason to get something finally! It’s tricky to see but she also has one of their cute tags with her name on it.