Once upon a time there was a girl.
You know what? Nah, once upon a time there was me, and I was in a crap load of distress. In fact, I was having a right royal breakdown in the worst sort of way. When I was 18 some seriously bad crap happened in my life that did not improve my mental standing. This is not to say I wanted to do anything horrible to myself (my most heartfelt love to anyone suffering from those thoughts and if you need an ear to listen, well I’m here) but I wasn’t bouncing back like I should have been able too.
It was suggested that I needed something to get my attention, I guess you could say something to make me care.
So, my parents got me a puppy. A little chubby puppy with a tail that looked like it had been dipped into paint. I feel in love immediately.
I named him Raphael, after my favorite artist of course, and he surprised us all by growing from a little 8 pound puppy into a 120 pound dog. And to me he was just the greatest thing in the world. He ‘owned’ the garage, had a better bed then I did and would always be waiting for me when I got home from work or school.
He had the most terrifying bark but was the biggest coward in the world, preferring to climb up into someone’s lap like the smallest of lapdogs.
All in all, he was the sweetest dog in the world and to this day I still miss him.
He was poisoned when he was 9 years old and passed away. I was distraught. I had raised this dog (that first dog that had been solely my own) he had gotten me out of a mental funk when nothing else could at the time. He was my dog and I was his human.
Again, I entered a not so great place, not as bad as the first time certainly, but definitely not good by any standard.
Now this is where, looking back now, the story gets a little bit funny.
So, a few months later my mom was bringing her dog to our vet for the annual checkup, when they ask if I had found a dog yet. Of course, I hadn’t yet, but I was looking at the local pounds and even at some local breeders.
The vet told her that they had a rescue dog staying with one of their foster families that had been rolled by a car, but was now ready to find a forever home and if I would be interested in meeting the dog.
My mom came and kidnapped me from my job to meet this dog. It felt like a James Bond moment, just with a puppy and not a villain at the end of the kidnapping scene.
I get there and they set me down in the “meeting room” and in comes this little beagle, cute as a button and twice as nice. Yay, I have a new dog! I named him Hayvn, because poetically he had turned out to be my safe heaven.
I put in 2 months of work with Hayvn, house training, lease training, vet visits everything. Then one day he disappears from our fenced in yard. Now this was a bit of a puzzlement, because we have a huge yard and 2 other dogs that Hayvn got on really well with. So, like any responsible pet parent I did all the things you do when your pet-child goes missing. Flyers, call the pound and alert the vets offices nearby. Three weeks I waited, I looked, I freaked the heck out, but then as the fourth week rolled around guess who comes galloping up to the house.
Followed by a teenager that lived on the road behind my house.
In the most bizarre turn of events, turns out Hayvn’s name was not Hayvn, it was Brownie. And he had gone missing from the boy’s yard 3 months ago. So being a ridiculously selfless person, I gave Hayvn back to the boy and I became dogless yet again.
Did I slide in a depressive state this time? No, not really. A little maudlin maybe, sad certainly but at this point I figured I was just never meant to have a dog ever again. Which was a horrible thought to me, life without a dog? What the heck kind of life was that? No one to love me unconditionally? No one to get excited just because? No one to give sloppy kisses? Well now that was just depressing.
My mom and dad suggested that maybe this time I needed to get a puppy, not an already grown dog or I might with my luck, reunite everyone in the county with their missing dogs but end up dogless myself.
So for weeks I kept a careful watch on the local pound websites. No puppies.
The day before Valentine’s Day my parents kidnapped me, again. I really do feel like my parents were possibly spies and just never thought to divulge the information. Anyway, they kidnapped me and we drove to a pet store a few hours away that had puppies for sale.
Now let me just put this here before anyone gets super self-righteous, I fully believe you should adopt if possible, it’s a great thing and it gives dogs a chance to get the love they deserve. Raphael was adopted, Hayvn was adopted, both of my parent’s dogs are rescue dogs. That being said, dogs who come from responsible and caring breeders also deserve love even if they cost money.
Moving on now to the happy part of the story.
We get to the pet store and immediately I wasn’t thrilled. I kind of felt like my parents were pushing the dog thing and really, I was not about to drop three thousand dollars for a puppy. Not that I wouldn’t, but I just didn’t have that kind of money at the time.
But I stayed and I looked at the puppies they had and I must say the puppies were all happy and energetic and super cute. But I just didn’t feel the spark with any of them, none of them were ‘my dog’. I am happy to say however that all the puppies from that day were all bought so I never felt too bad for not finding ‘my dog’ there. As we left the store owner told us there was another pet store about two and a half hours away that also sold dogs and maybe we’d have better luck there.
So off I was dragged on the Great Puppy Expedition. On the car ride I figured I’d look up the store, see reviews, you know the normal stuff. Turns out they had a full website with pictures of the puppies they had at the time. Some of the pictures had “Found A Home” posted over them but a few didn’t and they looked super cute.
There was a black tricolor Australian Shepherd and a blue merle Australian Shepherd, and there was a black Shiba Inu and a tan Shiba Inu all still for sale.
Now let me give you a quick back story on why this was important. When Raphael passed away and my mom felt I wasn’t going to burst into tears, she asked me what kind of dog I wanted if I could choose any dog on earth. My first answer?
My second and third choices were Shiloh Shepherd and American Alsatian, but as those are not common breeds of dog, I wasn’t too serious about getting either one of those. Now back onto the story.
So I’m looking at the website still and even though I didn’t think I would meet ‘my dog’, I started checking prices because at this point I was still a broke college young adult. The Australian Shepherds were the more expensive of the dogs available, the blue merle one being the most expensive. So I started looking at the Shiba Inu’s with the full intent that if I was going to get a dog that day it would be one of those.
We got to the pet store and walked in. I promise you I tried to walk by his cage, I really did. I just didn’t. The moment I saw him, this little ball of fluffy white, black and grey fur, I knew I had found my dog. I found Merlin.
So I signed paper work, forked out more money than I had intended and brought him home. And he has spent the last year getting into trouble, going on adventures and being a typical puppy. So I figured that I’d tell some of the stories of what he has gotten up to and what he continues to get up too. Also, some fun facts and advice that I have learned and am learning while raising a dog.
So here’s to Merlin, his dragons, and his often head shaking owner.
The Owner (Who is really owned, but really have you seen his face!)