Wednesday, December 21, 2011

dogs age

It's been a while. First, let me say 'happy holidays, yo.' Oddly, given all that has happened in the past year, this is the first year in probably 20 that I have actually felt some seasonal spirit. While the search for work continues and seems bleak, I am focused on the good things that have happened this past year and if you knew me, you'd be reaching across the table to feel my forehead to hear me say that. While I call myself a realist, most hear me describe the world as a pessimist. C'est la vie . . . you see a rainbow in the puddle, I see the oil spill from the car next to the puddle. I call it how I see it. That said - this year has been filled with tiny triumphs. Whether it was the mortgage assistance from Georgia's HomeSafe program, Chris being declared cancer free, or finding Laika in the street and giving her a home (and me a completely new take on life) - this year has been hard, but it has been good.

Speaking of Laika, she's been such a good girl this year and in preparation for my return to full time work (eventually - it's got to happen soon, right?) we have wanted to give her a little buddy to keep her company during the day. We've discussed it at length: this is absolutely the worst time to consider making our little family larger, yet - we felt that given these hard times it seemed even more reason to throw caution to the wind and rescue a dog from an uncertain fate at the pound. I can't even begin to tell you how much Laika has changed our lives for the better and bringing more love into the house seemed like really the only answer. Meet Jaxon.

We looked at hundreds of dogs online and had a very hard time singling out the dogs we wanted to meet in person. While I know the people who run the shelters try their best to describe these dogs in a way that will make them stand out, terms like 'energetic' and 'puppy-like' were actually detraction's due to Laika's nature. To give you a for instance, if I am sitting on the couch with Laika - she might be at one end and me the other. If the cat see's my lap is open, she'll quietly sneak across the room to get on it . . . Laika however has no intention of allowing that to happen, so she'll scootch on over and flop her head on my lap. To add salt to the wound, she'll lift her head and stare at the cat for a moment before nestling her head in my lap again and letting out a big sigh. The dog is a bit jealous of anything that might try to get my attention. Jaxon was described as being in a cage with a 'jealous type' and didn't mind being second fiddle. Sounded like a match made in heaven. The shelter being two hours from the house seemed like a long trip and there were hundreds of available dogs in our area, but he met what I felt was necessary criteria - smaller than her, a tiny bit older than her, more low key than her, but when it came right down to it - this was absolutely a gut feeling that we needed to meet this dog.

He was very nervous when we met him, but he seemed exactly as they described him. We'd need to apply for him and he'd need to be fixed, but if all worked out and we wanted him - he was ours. Laika was a little aloof with him at first but warmed up to him quickly and as nervous as he was, he exposed his belly for Chris and stepped up onto my lap to give me a little kiss on the chin. We were all sold and a week later we were driving back to get him.

Now, nothing against the shelter, but I would have rather taken him to my own vet to be fixed, but thems the rules - he could not leave there without being fixed. Shelters are often way over capacity and  have limited resources so we donated a bunch of cleaning supplies and fresh sheets and blankets for the animals. Jaxon was black and blue from the neutering and it looked simply terrible. We drove back and took him to our new vet who did a therapeutic laser treatment on his 'goods' and gave us some pain pills. We also had him microchipped and checked over. Laika was also checked over and even got to meet a squirrel face to face (they have a wildlife rescue program)! If this woman would be my doctor I would be thrilled. One of the best vet experiences ever.

Cut to today . . . he's been here five days and he's
completely different. That's actually a good thing. He's happy, he's affectionate, he's playful, and while Laika the first day was like 'uh, are you still here? when are you leaving? I'm tired!' today she's happy and playful with him. He's still learning to adapt to his new environment and (significantly better) diet and supplements. He had a very big 'accident' in the house today and I don't know that he understands that outside is a business trip. These things take a bit of time. He's willful and a bit of a sneak, but Laika tried to explore her limits too when we first brought her in. Good news for them at least - we're installing a fence in the back yard to enclose a large area for them to roam freely. It's scheduled for the 24th.

So while this year comes to a close, I hope that the new year brings bigger and better things. The many goods that came from this year were often equaled by the heartaches and its hard to not be remembered what a tough year this has been. I am often left wondering if Atlanta is a bigger challenge than Boston ever was, but had I never made the move, things would have turned out quite different for a number of parties involved. I am also reminded that this is a difficult time for many people and while my struggle seems large - in the big picture, I have enjoyed many blessings.
As for my holiday spirit this year, I enjoyed my gifts throughout the year. That wreath in the first picture I made with the pine cones from the now largest tree in my yard - my version of the giving tree I guess - it also provided enough pine straw to help with the landscaping :) Go Nature!

Hopefully I will find some inspiration soon to start meshing again, but that will be in the new year. Enjoy the last of this year and reflect on what has been. We made it.