Monday, July 16, 2012
Stella turns 1!
Today is my Stella's first birthday! All the dog hair aside, it has been a great year with her. She is just a fabulous dog and I am so pleased that I took a lot of time to find her.
I grew up with dogs, usually strays that my father, an animal lover, brought home. My husband and I got our first dog just before our first anniversary. Otis was a crazy dog. Otis would make the infamous Marley look like a dream. He ate our floor. He ate our walls. He ate the handle of my sliding glass doors. He paced all night long. He took ritalin, and it didn't help. I took him on 6 and 7 mile walks through the woods, throwing a ball to him and making him come back, and it didn't help. He started nipping after our first child was born and the vet recommended we find him a new home. We kept in touch with his new owners, who let him roam their 80 acre farm. He ate all their lampshades and pulled the woman into a roadside ditch during a walk and broke her leg. They loved him and kept him until he passed away a few years ago.
We let years go by before considering another dog. We did a brief stint with Dirty Gertie, a cairn terrier we rescued. However, the two sets of bald eagles nesting behind our home made it clear that they considered Dirty Gertie to be an appetizer. After the third day of them circling above our yard, we found her another home. And I swore, no more dogs.
I held true to that for a long time. 3 kids, one diagnosed on the autism disorder spectrum, juggling activities, therapies, school, home and my own illness made it easy to dismiss any suggestions to add a pet to the mix. Because all of us mothers know that "We'll take care of it!" is perhaps the biggest lie to ever cross any child's lips! And I just didn't need one more responsibility.
My youngest haunted me non-stop for a dog. He wanted a dog "so much". And, in a moment of weakness, while dealing with pain and potty training, I told him that when he peed and pooped on the potty all the time and my eye was better, we would get a dog. Soon, he was indeed fully trained and diapers were a thing of the past. About a year later, my eye was as healthy as it was going to get and he turned to me and said, "I'm using the toilet and your eye is better, so where the hell is my dog?" (his potty mouth is a whole other story!) And so the search began.
I had initially wanted to do a rescue, but found my choices limited. I am straight up admitting that I do not like pit bulls. I know there are those out there that love them and think they have gotten a bad rap. I don't care. I don't like them and I did not want a dog that was part pit bull, and the shelters here are full of them. Its also pretty expensive to adopt here. At least $200 to $300 and I figured if I was going to spend that, I might as well spend a little more and get what I wanted. And Stella is what I wanted!
Even though my kids love her and she loves them, she is my dog. She spends almost all day with me, so its not a surprise. There are mornings when I think life would be easier if I could sleep in just an hour longer and not have to get up to walk her and feed her. But I credit her with how quickly I healed following my final surgery. Once my parents left to return home, I had no choice but to get up and feed her and couldn't climb back into bed and feel sorry for myself after the kids got on the bus for school. I had a dog that needed to walk. So we walked. Short distances at first, and then longer and longer. And I met neighbors that I hadn't even known existed. They would walk over to pet Stella and introduce themselves. And they would say hi the next day as we walked by. And then they started keeping track of my recovery and offering to help if I needed it. And I avoided the depression I felt nipping at the edges since losing my eye. None of that would have happened if we didn't have Stella.
Happy Birthday Stella!