One of the most inspirational bloggers and doggie moms I know once wrote a post that so deeply resonated with me that I doubt if I could put into words how much it impacted me. It ripped open a bandage that covered a gaping hole in my upbringing that I will spend the rest of my days trying to make up for.
Other than Samantha, who belonged to my grandparents, I didn’t really have a stable animal presence in my life. While my dad was/is an animal lover, my mom isn’t really even an animal liker. I remember several dogs in my early years. They came and they were gone. I don’t know where they went other than “to live out in the country.” Given my parents m.o. I assume they were given away. Rehomed. Some may have run out in the street and perished. I just never knew.
I don’t have the foundation of respect for our furry friends that some people have and that is just where I came from. It doesn’t make my parents bad or necessarily wrong, it just is how it was with them.
I’m actually not even certain when the forever pet concept jelled in my conscious but I do remember the early days with Ray which were such a challenge. Before we adopted Ray, I wanted an elderbull. I wanted an ambassador who could be a therapy dog if that was the path they were destined for. My husband wasn’t convinced and was dead set on a puppy, so it seemed only natural that we adopt one of the “Sparkle pups.”
To say Ray was a challenge as a puppy would be to say that Chicago can be a bit breezy. Ray and his litter mates were separated from Sparkles at around 5-6 weeks and really had no social skills. While my mission was to socialize Ray as much as I could, I also found myself disinclined to do so. My ambassabull was so prone to leaping up from his diminutive stature and ripping the fabric from my sleeves. He “mouthed” my hands, passing feet, toys, furniture, leashes, and anything else he could find. I was the redirect queen, with antlers, chew bones and stuffies shoved into every pocket but there were plenty mornings where I sat on the kitchen floor and
cried bawled, “Oh my god! Pit bulls live for nearly 17 years! I have to endure 16 and a half more years of this!”
That’s right. I was discouraged, disheartened, angry, humiliated by my failure, and still it never crossed my mind to do anything but get through the next 16 and a half years. My first milestone was set at 2 years. I had read his personality would be shaped and I was hoping for a glimpse of my future ambassabull. In the meantime, it would be work, work, work, lessons, lessons, lessons in an effort to have the dog I knew Ray could be. It turns out that around 18 months, he became just that dog. A dog who I think may still one day be a CGC. If he doesn’t, will he be a failure? Will I? If success is measured by certificates and awards, maybe.
If success is measured by eternal love and devotion, which I suspect it is, then I’d say we are doing just fine.