Sunday, September 7, 2014

How This Pitbull (American Staffordshire) Came Into My Life

This is how it all came about that all of a sudden single swinging me became single mom in workout clothes all the time (because I am walking my dog literally at least 5-6 times a day). 

Almost every single person has, at one time or another, pondered getting a pet.  Who doesn't want a furbaby welcoming you home at night, cuddling and kissing you and generally killing you with cuteness??  And they don't care what you look like, if your hair looks like you were electrocuted, if you've showered or are in a foul mood = magic! Each time I saw cute memes with amazing dogs or Buzzfeed articles featuring to-die-for puppies, I automatically went to view Karma Rescue's Available Dogs and I would daydream about getting one...but daydreamed only because there is so much work to having a dog, especially if you live alone and have nobody with whom to share responsibilities!  #singleproblems

But my hankering for a dog was becoming especially acute and it all came to a head when I volunteered with Karma Rescue to help pull dogs to rescue from South Los Angeles Animal Shelter.  This is it.  

Where thousands of dogs and other animals are dumped to die.
It's not the city's fault but the fault of irresponsible owners who give up their animals or don't get their pets spayed/neutered.
It is seriously so sad.
The people who work there deserve a million trophies for not buckling under the sadness. 
A part of the kennels inside the compound.  
We were temperament testing some candidates and all of a sudden someone brought in the most gorgeous gray-and-white Staffy.  

Okay everyone, when you go visit the shelter and check out dogs, DON'T judge the dog's temperament by how excited they are when they came out to visit you.  These poor dogs are cooped up all day in tiny cages with no attention or love.  All of a sudden a kind person comes and gives them a little bit of freedom...the dog is going to be over-excited no matter how chill and mellow they usually are.  So please, do not get alarmed when you meet a dog for the first time from the shelter and they're all over the place.  

This little one was so happy to be out.  Karma Rescue had known for a while that I was thinking about getting a dog...crafty Karma Rescue director asked me, "oooh, would you like her? Her name is Apple."  Apple =  random name given by shelter.  I looked at her and I did not feel ready.  

I did not feel ready!!!  I lived in an apartment, I worked a lot, I ideally wanted to have a significant other with whom to share responsibilities.  I had so much fear that I would not be able to properly take care of a dog!  They need so much attention and love, it's not fair to adopt one and not give it to them.  And I'd rather die than take the dog back, I could never live with myself. 

I don't have any photos from that day I first met Apple - I never thought I'd be picking up my future baby that day.  Here is one photo that another volunteer took of Apple at the shelter that day:

The advert Karma Rescue put together for Apple. 
She is gorgeous.  I knew that she would go quickly. I played with her for a bit in the yard, but poor girl was very confused.  Who can blame her?  She had clearly had several litters *whisper: she's got saggy boobies poor girl*, most likely at the hands of a backyard breeder (this color for Staffies is popular right now), and then once her puppies were sold, she was unceremoniously dumped at the shelter.  Poor poor baby why do people suck so much!!

Okay, I said nervously, I'll most likely take her...I was hedging, I won't lie!  

Apple was pulled by Karma Rescue and first put in quarantine at the WONDERFUL clinic of Dr. Pasternak in Santa Monica.  More on him later, he is a holistic vet who mixes Western medicinal treatments with Eastern holistic methods, he is brilliant and won't stuff your pet full of poisonous medicinal treatments. 

I visited Apple there every day.  The clinic said she was extremely anxious being in the kennel at the clinic during her quarantine period.  Again, who can blame her?  Cooped up in a kennel all day.  She was incessantly barking and chewing at her bars, crying non-stop.  They eventually put her on anti-anxiety meds.  

Each time I would pick up Apple, we would go for a long walk and then to the park to just hang out.  She was sweet, docile, eager to please.  She was so docile, Karma took her to a local school for an education program.  Here is my model baby:

There's my baby at school woot! Look at that precious face, chubby butt 
I finally took her for an entire afternoon at my apartment.  The moment she came in, she jumped onto my chaise and promptly fell asleep.  Just make yourself at home lady! 

Yeah, I'd have to have a heart of stone to not take her.  She was hating her kennel.  Whenever I would take her back to the clinic, she would refuse to go into the back area where the kennel was.  She would eventually be dragged to the back by the vet's staff, looking piteously over her shoulder at me the whole way.  It was heart-beaking.  

As soon as quarantine was over, I took her leash and collar, she jumped into my car, and we drove...home.  

And that is the beginning of our story together.  I had no idea what would happen with my apartment situation (no dogs allowed).  I had no idea what I would do about work (she had separation anxiety and I couldn't leave her at my apartment).  I had no idea what I would do about not having a yard (peepee pads? doggy diapers? a million walks every 3-4 hours??!).*  She desperately needed a place to stay and I had one. That's it.  

* Note: I fixed all these issues!  Please do not adopt a dog on a whim when you can't have one at your apartment building!!! You will end up taking the dog back and that is a million times worse! 

Now the direction of this blog as changed because my life has changed.  It can no longer be about magnificent travels - I no longer have the freedom to take off to foreign lands at the drop of a hat. But I hope the spirit of adventure never leaves me...that me and Apple and I are now co-adventurers in life.  You too, no matter what your circumstance, can always have that expansiveness of spirit and wonder and curiosity of life.  

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