Personal Post | My Dogs and Their Stories
Apollo and Luna
This is a very different post than what I usually do. I like to share my journey as a writer and talk about writing, but I never really talk that much about my non-writer life. I wanted to change that a bit and talk about another major part of my life: my dogs. When I am not writing or reading, most of my time is spent caring for my two pups.
The first dog I ever got as an adult was my dog Apollo. I say “I got” him, but really he got us. My partner and I were headed home after lunch with some of my coworkers. His parents called him and on my end of the conversation, all I heard was, “Someone dumped him at your house?” Needless to say, this was an unusual call. Come to find out, someone had dumped a puppy at their house and they needed us to take it or they were going to have to take it to the local animal shelter.
We had been talking about getting a dog for a long time. However, we always said we weren’t ready, the right time would be much later in our lives, etc. My heart said, “Yes! I am getting dog!” but what I said to my partner was, “Look, we need to stay chill. We don’t know how healthy this dog is going to be. We just need to be prepared to say, ‘no.'” When we got to their house, his mother was outside waiting for us.
She loves animals. I have no doubt that she spent more time out in the garage with that puppy than she had been in the house since it had been dumped. When we pulled up, she motioned us, emphatically so, into the garage. There, hiding behind a box, was a little black ball of fur. Looking at him, we guessed he was probably four to five months old and more than likely a lab-mix. I steeled myself as I looked at him, his abdomen was far too big for the size he was, which meant worms. Unfortunately, my resolve faded the moment my mother-in-law picked that puppy up and put it in my arms.
A Happy Ending
To this day, my partner still makes fun of me, “You were trying to be so serious and hardcore. You and I both knew you were coming home with a puppy that day.” He was so right. We took Apollo home with us that day, though, at the time, we were calling him Artemis as we assumed he was a girl. The next day, while I was at work, the vet quickly let my partner know, “Yeah, Artemis is definitely an Apollo, and he is no where near four months old. I’d guess he’s probably more like seven weeks.”
So, not only did we end up with an unexpected puppy, but we wound up with a very young puppy that would no doubt grow to be a big dog. He certainly is a large dog. Apollo as of today is approximately seventy pounds, and he’ll be one in November. What comes with a big dog is a lot of love. I couldn’t have picked out a better dog had I tried.
Why We Got Another Dog
Luna, on the other hand, made us earn her love. After we got Apollo, we found that he wasn’t hitting certain doggy milestones that most puppies do while being raised with their litter mates. After four months with just Apollo, we decided, he really needed a dog companion. Plus, I always wanted multiple dogs, so it was win-win for both myself and Apollo.
We started by using the wonderful service Petfinder.com. We picked out around five dogs to meet and we messaged all of the respective shelters and fosters. Luna was being re-homed by an individual, and their post was being sponsored by a wonderful group called the Humane Society of West Alabama. Luna was our top pick. I fell in love with her adorable face, she was in the area, and she was good with other dogs, which checked all of my boxes.
Before Luna There Was DJ
Unfortunately, the individual who had her didn’t have a working phone number, and when we emailed the individual, we didn’t hear back. It seemed Luna was out of the running. We carried on our search, applied at the Humane Society and we started meeting other dogs. We met a few different dogs that we had picked out beforehand, but none seemed to fit our lifestyle. While at the Humane Society, we inadvertently met a husky-mix named DJ.
He was around three years old, shed like crazy, but he was so loving. The Humane Society has this wonderful program where you can essentially “rent” the dog for a week and make sure the dog is a right fit for your family. We decided to take home DJ for the week. Unfortunately, DJ was not a fan of Apollo. We let them meet on neutral ground, kept them separated by a gate while they got used to each other, but DJ was not having any of it. This meant we had to give DJ back, and that was one of the most painful experiences of my entire life. Many tears were shed and that day, I decided I couldn’t do it again with another dog.
The Perfect Fit
As luck would have it, the day after we had to take DJ back to the Humane Society, the individual that had Luna emailed me. Luna was still available. My heart was torn. I didn’t know what I would do if it didn’t work with her, but looking over her pictures again, I knew I had to give it a shot. So, we scheduled a day, we introduced the dogs on neutral territory and they hit it off instantly. They ran circles over and over again, wrestled, and played. It was like they had known each other forever. I told the person not to worry about it, she was ours.
However, while Luna loved Apollo, she was terrified of us. It turns out Luna has quite a history. She was a stray and picked up by the animal shelter where she was called Lady. From the animal shelter, she was adopted by the person we adopted her from. The person we adopted her from only had her for around three months before we got her. At two years of age, Luna had already gone through more than her fair share of trials. Who could blame her for fearing people?
If you tried to pet her, she’d submissive pee everywhere. She was afraid of women the most, so often times she would run away from me the second I walked into a room. She also didn’t trust us feeding her, so for the first four days, she didn’t eat anything. My partner was the only one that could get her to eat, and he had to do it by putting food in his hand and letting her eat it that way. It hurt deeply to have a dog that you loved so dearly, but who was also so terrified of you.
Thankfully, now she cuddles with me. She’ll often times sit across my shoulders on the couch and her appetite is not a problem at all. However, the day I knew she loved and trusted us was the day we picked both Apollo and Luna up from their first weekend being boarded. Any time we have ever been away from Apollo for extended periods of time, the moment we come back, he pees all over us, himself, and he refuses to leave our side. The day we picked up Luna, she did the same exact thing and rode in my lap the entire way home. I have never felt so loved in my entire life.
Life With Dogs
My road to a life full of dogs was full of unexpected turns, trials, and tribulations. I never imagined it would go the way it has, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Apollo gets on my nerves and Luna still has her moments of rebellion, but all-in-all, our little family is perfect. Dogs are such a gift, and I am so lucky to have them. I will never live a life dog-free again.
Do you have dogs? Do they appear in your writing? Let me know, and comment below. Thanks for reading.