Saturday, July 9, 2011

A new addition

Ever since Opal passed away last month, we have been feeling a void in our home. It took a couple weeks and then it became clear that Trevor was ready for another dog. I wasn't so sure that we could handle more than the two we already have. Trevor pointed out that if a dog came to live with us, that would free up space in foster care or at a shelter for another dog that needed the spot.

We have gone back and forth with what kind of dog to get. Trevor will email me pictures of dogs he has seen listed online. A few weeks ago, he sent me a picture of Pinky. You can read her Humane Society Listing here
I thought she was beautiful, but I could not imagine how we would deal with her special needs. Pinky is blind and deaf. I told Trevor that seemed like too much for us.

Time went on and he would email me different dogs, but I kept thinking about Pinky. Finally, one day, I emailed the Humane Society about her. The foster cooridinator told me that Pinky had some prospective adopters and so we were out of luck, but they'd let me know if didn't work out. I found myself surprisingly heartbroken.

I couldn't stop thinking about Pinky. We looked at other dogs online and none of them made me feel the way Pinky did. Earlier this week, I got an email from the foster coordinator and Pinky's adopters had brought her back to the shelter. At first, that made me incredibly sad (who adopts that dog and then brings her back?) and then it made me incredibly happy! I emailed him back and told him we wanted to meet her.

I spent a couple days emailing back and forth with the Humane Society's behavior specialist. Pinky's adopters brought her back (after just 2 days) because she was barking and they didn't like that. They went over her special needs and wanted to be sure we thought we could handle that. I said yes and set up an appointment for Friday morning for all of us to meet Pinky.

Thursday night, I laid awake and worried. I worried that we weren't ready for a challenge like Pinky. I worried that I didn't have the patience, that I liked my quiet life too much, worried that it would be a bad fit and that all of us would regret it. Honestly, I was scared.

Friday morning, we loaded Buster and Maggie into the car and headed to the Humane Society. Pinky was there with her foster dad. I went into the room to meet her first while Trevor stayed with Buster and Maggie.

I saw Pinky and I knew. Within one second...I knew. She would be coming home to us. I walked over to her and got her attention by putting my hand under her nose. I started to pet her. Then I sat down and she leaned against me while I touched her ears and massaged her entire body. I felt an amazing connection and I felt pure love. I couldn't wait for Trevor and the dogs to meet her.

Trevor came in and met her, then we brought in the dogs. One by one, each of us was introduced. Buster and Maggie weren't quite sure what to make of this little dog. She is 18 pounds and a little smaller than Buster.

Pinky made her way around the room - sometimes she would run into the wall or body check on of us or the dogs. She would get to the wall and bark at it. Her foster dad she had found her voice and that she seems to bark at the wall as a sign of success for not hitting it. He told us how she can map a room in minutes and how she runs through the yard, uses a doggie door and isn't nearly as bothered by her situation as people may be.

I asked if she got along with cats and he said that she doesn't know what a cat is and probably won't know the difference between a dog and a cat. When you can't see or hear, how do you experience the world?

Maggie was rather uninterested with Pinky. That's how she was when we met Buster. Buster, however, was VERY interested in Pinky. He was right next to her and wanted to play and show her the way. After about half an hour he seemed to settle down and accept her.

We agreed that she would be the perfect addition to our family. We have done quite a bit of research on deaf and blind Australian Shepherds. They are actually more common than you would think. There are different colors of Aussies. When two of one certain color are bred - a blind/deaf puppy will result 25% of the time. It really bothers me that breeders even continue to do this.

We asked how Pinky had come to be at the Shelter. Her mother had an entire litter of puppies who were blind and deaf. The breeder decided to drowned them all. His wife stopped him from drowning Pinky and I think one or two others. She brought Pinky to the shelter. I can't even tell you how sick and sad that story made me feel.

The deal was sealed. We couldn't bring her home until Sunday because we wouldn't be home at all on Saturday or Sunday. We have a triathlon on Sunday and after that, we will go pick her up and bring her home to live with us.

We have spent yesterday and this morning preparing. We've cleaned up the house, got things off the floor and organized for her. She'll need to map the house and we don't want any obstacles. We got some new leashes, a few toys, a bed, a entire care pack for our new addition.

We've discussed names and I believe we will name her Asha Grace. The name Asha means hope and life. Hope, life, grace. Those are her words. I cannot even explain the amount of love I have for her already.

I know we'll have some challenges. Plus, she's 4 months she's a puppy and that will come with all kinds of things that will turn our world upside down!! I am excited to see what she can do, to see how she will grow. I can't wait to see how Maggie and Buster are with her.

I keep thinking about what a great life she will have with us. Yesterday, one of my friends said "she will change your life forever". That really hit me....I think we are going to save her life, but I suspect it will be the other way around.

Sunday night, we will bring Asha home to a place that she will never see. She will never hear the barking of our other dogs, the hissing of our cats, the lawnmower, the trash truck, the vacuum. She won't hear us call her name or see how we look at her when we disapprove of what she has done. She will experience her home in a completely different way than the rest of us. But she will know love. We all will. Welcome home have no idea what great things lie ahead of you.

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