I've had a lot of pets in my lifetime: rabbits, dogs, and even a cat or two. I have asthma and allergies, so the most of those pets were outside animals. I think this is partly why I don't have quite the passion for animals as many others have. Their hair and dander makes my life very difficult, so perhaps you can see why I just don't quite click with true animal lovers.
My husband, on the other hand, is an animal lover. If it were up to him, we would have many pets, and they would all live in the house. Our opposite opinions on this matter have caused some conflict over the years, but I think he is at the point where he finally believes that I have asthma and allergies, so we don't butt heads over it much anymore.
When Sophia was about 1 1/2, we started taking her to the pound to see the dogs. I never, ever had any intention whatsoever of adopting a dog. It just wasn't going to happen. One Saturday we were near the humane society and I suggested we stop by to see the dogs. It was a trip like any other. We held our breath as we ran through the cat room, spent most of our time adoring the puppies and small dogs, and then swung by the big ones just before we left.
In the second to last kennel, I found a black, dirty, matted, dog. He looked pathetic. He didn't jump up or bark like the other dogs did. He sat very still. He just looked in my eyes with the saddest, most defeated gaze I had ever seen. I looked at the clipboard posted next to his kennel and saw his name was Winston, and he was a 1 year old Labradoodle. I looked at that poor soul again and could literally feel his loneliness. I thought that while we were there, we could give him a little attention and perhaps make him feel good for a moment.
We asked the front desk clerk if we could take him to the outdoor play area where families go when they want to adopt a dog. She met us there with Winston, closed the gate, and took him off leash. He sat obediently. My husband looked him over and declared he was a healthy dog. I held Sophia on my hip and stood at what I thought was a safe distance because I didn't know him and wasn't sure if he was safe. Jason gave him some attention and after some time, I felt safe enough to allow Sophia to pet him as well. I called him over to me. He walked slowly and gently placed his chin on my thigh. He looked up at me with the most kind eyes. Sophia rubbed his head and smiled gleefully.
I could not bear to allow such a gentle creature to return to a dismal existence. To my husband's surprise, I decided to adopt him. After we filled out the paperwork, the lady informed us that Winston was set to be put to sleep later that week. She said no families ever show any interest in large black dogs, and this one was no different. It broke my heart to think that if we hadn't stopped by that day, this sweet little boy would be no more.
We still have that gentle, loving boy 8 years later. Sophia was unable to say the name Winston, so we changed it to Teddy. They are 6 months apart in age, and have spent most of their lives together. Sophia loves him, and he loves her. He is kind, gentle, sweet, obedient, happy, loving, and silly. He loves to be sung to, and he likes dancing as well.
We've recently added another dog to our family, Rosie. I'll have to share her story in another post. Since we've welcomed Rosie, I've noticed Teddy seems depressed. I took him to the vet today, and after some blood work, discovered he has hypothyroid. The vet says this would explain his lethargy. He will have to take a purple football-shaped pill every day to improve the functioning of his thyroid. It broke my heart to think about him feeling unwell. Earlier this week I noticed gray hairs sprouting around his eyes, and that coupled with this new health development has left me feeling emotional and fearful of him growing old. I love my sweet little boy, and I just can't imagine our home without him. He is as much a member of our family as Jason, Sophia, or I am. I don't know that this necessarily makes me an "animal person", but it definitely makes me a "Teddy person."