Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Doggy Story, Part 2

There was much sadness after the loss of Suzie, and Holden was taking it especially hard.  He kept asking days later why Suzie didn't "just come back already."  His little 4-year old mind just couldn't wrap itself around the concept that she wasn't ever coming back.  My heart broke just a little more that this was breaking his, too.  He was sniffly and sad out of the blue and kept telling me how much he missed her.  He started wetting the bed a couple of times a week.  His pediatrician said this was a totally typical grief response in a child his age and that I should talk to him about our belief system and what happens when a loved one dies.  The trouble was that I couldn't talk about it without sobbing myself, so I kept trying to avoid the conversation because he is really sensitive to my feelings, and I didn't want to upset him more by showing him how upset I was myself.

Finally, after a few weeks, I was able to sit down and talk to him without sobbing hysterically.  I told him that hopefully, Suzie will be in heaven waiting for us as part of our own reward in heaven.  He seemed okay with that. 

Steve and I talked and decided maybe it would be good to get another dog, not only to help fill the void we all felt without Suzie, but also so Lilly, our yellow lab, would have a companion, too.  So the kids and I started looking around, both in local pet stores and shelters and online.  We were preparing to go on vacation at the end of October, and we thought it would be best to get the new dog after we came back.

Well, it just so happened that I stumbled upon an ebay local ad for a beautiful little dog that was located at the Eastern Shore SPCA shelter.  Once I saw her picture and read her little story, I couldn't get her face out of my mind.  I dreamed about her!  The kids really liked her, too.  I wrote back and forth to the shelter and got more information about her, and the more I learned, the more I was sure that she was *the* dog for our family. 

Her name is Teenie Tiny, and she was about 8 months old.  She had been at the shelter for 2 months already.  Her owner had turned her in along with her brother and another dog because the owner was working 12-hour shifts and had no time for her animals.  The shelter said that sadly, Teenie had spent most of her life in a crate.  So sad!  Teenie is a mix of beagle and labrador, our two favorite breeds, and her designer breed is known as Beagador, Labeagle, or Labbe.  I researched about the breed and found the personality and common traits to be a good fit for us and in line with what we're accustomed to having in a dog.  I also thought that with her being half labrador, she would be more likely to get along well with Lilly, being more hyper and playful than Suzie had been in her old age.

So the kids and I laid out a plan to convince Steve that we should get this dog right away before she was gone and before she had to spend another day in that shelter.  I made up a flyer with her photos on it blown up really big.  It had her name at the top and a message to please save her at the bottom.  We put it on the fridge and didn't say a word.  Within a couple of days, he totally caved and said we could get her! 



Won’t you bring me home?

Please save me!

I ordered a kennel for her that could fold up for travel, and we made arrangements with the shelter to come up that Tuesday to see her.  I had to bring Lilly and all of the kids to make sure everyone got along before they would allow us to adopt her. 

The big day came, and it was rainy outside.  We all eagerly piled into the van with our breakfast and headed up to the Eastern Shore to Onley.  This was about healthy drive of about 1.5 hours each way with a big toll at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel along the way.  We were nervous that Lilly would be aggressive with her, but they actually did okay!  When they first brought Teenie out, she was shivering and shaking and just a nervous wreck.  She starting tinkling on the floor involuntarily...something she does when there are strangers around and she feels nervous...and was just a ball of nerves!  But she got right up in my lap and was so friendly and sweet, despite her being scared.  She even peed on my lap!  LOL.  When we moved on to introduce Lilly, we knew everything hinged on that.  But it went pretty well. 

Finally, they decided we could adopt her and agreed to waive the 24-hour waiting period since we lived so far away.  They gave her a bath and microchipped her for life, and off we went!  Amazingly, about 30 minutes into the drive home, she calmed right down and stopped whining.  She laid down and rested on her new comfy bed.  About an hour into the drive, she got carsick...something we later learned would always happen to her...but other than that, it was an uneventful trip.  When we got home with her, she made herself right at home!  Lilly kept guarding her...trying to confine her in small spaces so she couldn't go explore.  But eventually, Teenie claimed a particular sofa and wouldn't let Lilly even come into the room without growling at her!  It was so funny that Teenie Tiny became the agressive alpha dog...who would have guessed that?!?

Now that they've been together for just over 2 months, they are truly the best of friends.  They play together every day.  They both sleep in our bedroom and share their toys.  Their favorite activity is to play tug-of-war with a fake animal pelt.  They could play and nap together all day long.  We only have to separate them for meal time (they get aggressive around food), but they've both fallen into a routine of going to their kennels in the morning when it's time for food and water to be distributed.  They are so cute!

Now it feels as though Teenie has always been a part of our lives.  She has such a sweet personality, and she's a great little lap dog that loves to cuddle.  She greets me with kisses every morning when my alarm clock goes off and she sees me start to stir.  We love her to pieces!

So while we still miss Suzie and shed a tear now and again when we think of her, having Teenie around has helped to ease the pain a bit.  Holden has stopped wetting the bed again.  All is well in the House of Burgesses.