(Not) Knowing What We Need

Sometimes I think I have it figured out. Not life’s big mysteries, of course, but at least the simpler stuff. Like the “should or shouldn’t we get a new dog” type of stuff.

I didn’t want another after Roxy passed last July. I didn’t think Rico wanted one either.

But on our annual fall mountain vacation, it became clear—I was wrong. Rico didn’t play in the water. Walks dragged; he preferred the sofa. And though the cabin was just 570 square feet or so, he spent the first couple of days glued to my side. He seemed lonely.

Star Search

I knew this would be tricky. Our needs list:

  1. A female
  2. Someone in Rico’s age group – so 8-10 years old
  3. Someone still playful enough to roughhouse with my boyfriend
  4. But not play so rough she hurt Rico’s arthritic body
  5. Someone who walked as slow as Rico, but
  6. Had enough energy for decent walks, which Rico needed because his waistline expanded with his loneliness
  7. Roxy

That last one’s unfair but true. Roxy was irreplaceable. A truth that became more apparent every time we visited a shelter or adoption event.

One Saturday, after visiting two shelters and striking out, I prayed to Roxy for help. If she could see Rico needed a friend, could she please guide us to the perfect buddy for him?

The next morning …

Whiskey on the rocks

Her kennel card said her name was Jada and she was eight years old. I had seen her, but she was aloof and didn’t leave an impression. But the morning after praying to Roxy I couldn’t get her out of my mind. So Rico and I went back. And we kept going back because even though we never connected, I kept gravitating toward her.

Three visits later, I still didn’t have any preference, but Rico did. In his coy way. He grumbled, then wanted to trot next to her. He cried foul when she tried to sniff him, but then explored the yard next to her and snuck in little sniffs himself.

Anyone else would have thought he didn’t like her. But I knew better. He hadn’t pulled his trademark sit-with-his-back-to-you-because-you-cease-to-exist move. And when I finally signed off on the adoption, the two hopped into the car as if they’d been expecting it all along.

Whiskey (left) and Rico on their first car ride

Whiskey (left) and Rico on their first car ride

 

She didn’t respond to Jada so, after spending a few days with her, I renamed her Whiskey Lily. It’s nicer than Piss-and-Vinegar.

Checking off boxes

So, how did Roxy do?

Well, Whiskey’s not eight years old. Our vet estimated her to be five at most. That’s good news for my boyfriend. Had I known that, however, I’m not sure I would have adopted her. I wanted someone closer to Rico’s age.

Whiskey only knows “sit.” Certainly not “no, leave it, come” or any other useful words. She’s pretty rough on walks, but she inspires Rico to walk more. She’s playful but gentle with him. And there’s this …

WHiskey and Rico snuggling on their sofa

Two snuggle monsters

 

Clearly, Roxy knew better.

Two out of three of us got the dog we wanted. I’m going to have to review my advice for walking rambunctious dogs—from rooting to alignment. The post about reacting to barking dogs … that, too. And more.

I’ve been so sad, I forgot what chaos is like. And it shows. I’m learning all over again how to be at peace in the midst of chaos.

So no, I didn’t get the dog I wanted. I got the dog I needed. Please wish us luck!

Thanks for stopping by. – Christie

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About Christie Green

A student of martial arts since 1995, a writer since 1999, and an animal-lover for all of time
This entry was posted in A Mindful Life with Dogs. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to (Not) Knowing What We Need

  1. L. E. Wilber says:

    Congratulations on your new family member!

  2. Maybe's mama says:

    Absolutely lovely.

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