Our sweet Asha is two years old today. Two years ago today, our girl and her six brothers and sisters arrived in this world. They belonged to a breeder. They were raised as if they would be sold - dew claws were removed. Then, around 7 weeks old, he realized they were all deaf and blind. Double Merles, "lethal whites", the statistical result of breeding two merle Australian Shepherds, irresponsible breeding. The solution? Drown them. Four of Asha's siblings were dead before the breeder's wife intervened. She took the remaining three pups to Oregon Humane Society. They could only take one and that one was Asha.
From what the people at OHS tell me, they had a heck of a time with Asha. She didn't do well in a kennel, so they would bring her into their offices and let her lay under their desks where she would chew on their wires and take naps. They searched for information about dogs like Asha and struggled to find anything. They were able to place her in a foster home and she was doing okay. I am sure they wondered how in the world they would find a home for her. Well, Trevor and I found her and in July of 2011 she came to live with us. We kept in touch with some of the people at OHS. About a year after we adopted Asha, one of them told me that she always expected to get a call from us saying that it was too much and we were bringing her back.
I have wondered a lot of things over the last 18 months - were we the right home for Asha, would she be happier some other place, are we doing the right things, what else should we do, have we totally screwed this up, will our lives ever be normal (what's that even mean?), the list goes on and on. But I have NEVER wondered if Asha would have been better off dead. Others have wondered that, but not me. EVER. Asha is happy to be alive and it shows....every single day.
The fact that Asha lived is a miracle. For whatever reason, she wasn't drowned - maybe she was the furthest away, maybe she was the cutest, who knows....but she survived. She was the one who was taken in at OHS, again, who knows why she was the one...but she was. The staff took care of her and fought for her, advocated for her, worked for her....working at the shelter, I totally get this part. Then she came to us and we didn't know what the hell to do. But we found help....lots and lots of help. We all survived.
Asha is the best she has ever been. She still doesn't sleep through the night. I come down and sleep on the couch with her around 2 am every night. For a long time I was angry about that. But I am not anymore. Now I feel like its a priveledge to have that time with her. She wants her mom. And that is me. During the day she is pretty calm. Right now she is laying at my feet while I type. A year ago, that just didn't happen. She is growing up, we are learning how best to meet her needs and we have the treatments for her epilpesy, anxiety, restlessness and mania dialed in. We have a team - "Team Asha" and they have saved our lives.
Asha is part of our family and I can't imagine our lives without her. Today we celebrate her life and thank the Universe for helping her survive. Here is what I can tell you about Asha - forget about the running and barking, the OCD, the not sleeping at night. Here are the things that matter the most: Asha LOVES to ride in the car, she jumps right in and can't wait to see where we are going. She loves to lay on the deck and look up at the sun. She likes to play with the other dogs and they have figured out how to play with her so that she doesn't lose track of them. Asha gives hugs to people she really likes. When Trevor and I get home, she knows if there is one of us there or both of us. If we both come home together, she finds one of us and then goes to the other and hugs them, then back to the first for a hug.
Asha constantly amazed me with the way she navigates the world. She lifts her paws higher when she is walking around a new place. She uses her nose and face to map out a room. She can go up and down stairs with no problem. She has a million little routines and doesn't like when those routines are interrupted.
Our nickname for her is Sissy. We call her Sissy or Sister most of the time. Sissy doesn't mind getting a bath but when she gets out, she is always really mad and will chase me down to bite my feet. She can hear a monkey noise on TV and Maggie's highest pitched bark. She likes soft toys and will carry them around.
Asha loves new things, she is unafraid and goes full speed ahead. We had a garden this year and Asha really liked the feel of the corn stalks. She would walk through it and lay in it. She liked pulling the cucumbers off the vine and eating them out in the yard.
She snores loud and often dreams. I always wonder how she dreams - when you can't see or hear, how do you dream?
She is stubborn and smart and has crooked lower teeth. And the fur behind her ears crimps when its wet. She has a little nubbin' tail that wags furiously when she is happy.
She exists for all the wrong reasons and she survives for all the right ones. Today, we celebrate her life and hope that she has many more birthdays. We know that we were meant to be her family.
Happy Birthday Sissy. We love you.