Fourteen years is a long time to know anyone. It’s a long and very special time to own a pet that you think of as much more than that. Our dear dog, Mickey, passed away last June after fourteen years of being our best buddy. He was essentially our first child, a pound puppy that tugged at our hearts as he leapt from his cage as if to say, “Pick me! Pick me!” when we took an impromptu trip as college students to our local SPCA near Clemson University. He was also our furriest child. In fact, his shedding destroyed about seven vacuums over the years. He made seven moves with us, and because of that he was a pretty happy go lucky kind of guy. He was sweet, smart, could sit, speak, shake, high-five, roll-over, play dead, & even jump through a hula hoop before his arthritis took over, and he could even eat a whole chocolate pie and live for us to tell a hilarious story about it…. He was also protective of us and any child he was around, he a real charmer with his easy going personality, he thought he was a cat a times and would rub against you for attention & nudge your elbow for scraps as you ate, he was sneaky and enjoyed counter surfing for loaves of bread (or chocolate pies), he entertained many, he was lovable, gentle with our children, and quite simply the most loyal dog ever.
Letting him go was quite frankly one of the hardest decisions dear hubby and I have ever had to make, but it was the right decision. With his passing came a lot of questions from our kids. We answered them as best as we could. Months before his passing his health issues had escalated and questions over whether or not we should ease the blow by adding a new pet to the mix came about. Dear hubby and I decided to hold off on that as we thought that our old boy deserved to enjoy his home as he knew it during his last few months with us. It was already chaotic, but it was not nearly as chaotic as a home with a new puppy underfoot.
As of now I can truly attest to this. Over the course of the last month we went through the process of adopting a rescued German shepherd from a wonderful nonprofit, Southeast German Shepherd Rescue. This process entailed an application, interviews,a home visit, and a pre-adoption trial period with the pooch of our choice or the pooch that our Adoption Coordinator believed would be the best fit for our bustling home. We chose this breed as a friend had recently adopted through this organization and had a great experience, and also, I grew up with a neighbor German shepherd that was literally my Shadow. Shadow was his name, and he followed me everywhere like a shadow. He was awesome, and I thought this breed would make for an excellent family pet.
Well, hubby and I drove four hours to Roanoke, VA to pick up our new furry friend, Miss Cassidy. She instantly became our shadow. She loves to be underfoot (literally), and given the things she may have been through I can’t blame her for keeping us in sight. She was said to be the runt of a litter, is solid black which is supposedly not the most desirable type of German Shepherd, and was handed over to the organization by a breeder that I guess had lost patience in trying to sell her. As it turns out, she quickly became very sick with Parvo, a virus that could have killed her at six weeks - something she perhaps had when she was surrendered. Her foster parent says she fought it fast though, and when we were on guard and when we brought her home we had her immediately checked out. Our beloved vet assured us that she seems to be healthy albeit a tad underweight which is understandable being that she is a rescued dog. She is dainty and her little ribs are visible, but she is growing. She is now nearing thirteen weeks, and she is pretty spry that’s for sure.
She is also like having a newborn. She needs walks and attention several times a day. She also lets us know with a whimper that she needs to go out about three to four times throughout the night. I woke up this morning rather unnerved as I realized it was the first time she had slept through the night, and much like the first time one of my human babies had done this it felt glorious yet alarming. She is also super soft, cuddly, and sweet like a newborn which requires more hugs and kisses, of course. Even our 18-month old son has taken to loving on her every chance he gets by laying his head on top of her side during the brief moments that she is calm and napping.
We are enjoying our new fur baby, and I think every home should have one. They bring so much energy and fun to a house, and if your home is already bustling what’s one more thing to take care of?! She brings out so many wonderful giggles from our kids (and a few cries as she likes to naturally nip at ankles…she will endure some training soon). She wasn’t too sure about her initial four-hour car ride with us, but the second she entered her new home her wagging tail instantaneously declared her happiness. She ran and checked out every corner of her new abode, sniffed and licked every member of her new family, and simply just fit right in as if she was meant to be here all along. We fell in love, and I believe the feeling is mutual.
I can now say I have an even number of children which is something I always said I would have. I hope we have many years of memories ahead of us with her and stories to share as our kids grow up with her - them pretending to ride on her like a pony when she is bigger, them dressing her up in doll clothes, them tossing her food under the table, them playing countless games of fetch with her out back, and them just simply having a best friend to greet them at the door every day with nothing but love in her little heart for her newfound family.
Miss Cassidy, welcome home, baby girl!