Thursday, November 10, 2011

Love That Dog

A boy and his dog, with Dancer taking pix
I ran into a friend last night, the dad of one of Dancer's friends, whom I haven't seen in perhaps six months. I was heading out to buy milk and eggs around the corner; he was parking his car in front of the school across the street. We chatted on the sidewalk, updating each other on our lives. I mentioned the recent acquisition of Amsterdam, and my friend gaped and said, "Really?" I could see him doing the mental math: another large body in the apartment, more food, extra responsibilities. On the surface it's insane. Then I mentioned how much Big Guy loves dogs, and how therapeutic having one is for him. Light dawned, as the full mental math problem became clear: all those negatives are more than outweighed by the positives.

You may recall that last year when Big Guy was at the residence he had a problem with falling asleep in school. I'd tried to institute a Big Cookie test to get a read on the nature of the problem: was it physical? emotional? possible to overcome with great effort? Unfortunately, too many elements were out of my control at the time to do a good job of it. But when Big Guy moved home in September, we made a deal: if he put in good effort at school and stayed awake in his classes, at Christmas he would get a dog.

Yeah, I know it's not Christmas. But Big Guy is doing his share, and I wanted to start the adoption process early, because I knew it most rescue operations require a home visit and reference checks and applications. And most of them are run by a handful of volunteers, who have limited time to get around to doing all that needs to be done. Plus, given the preponderance of pit bulls in the shelters here -- a breed not on my list of possibilities for adoption, since wannabe drug dealers get them in order to look cool, then give them up -- I figured it might be some time before a gentle, therapy dog-type dog would pop up.

So I started early. I asked on our local parent listserv (pop: 1200+) for referrals to quality rescue groups, and one of the responses I got was to a place where I distantly knew someone on staff. That group had just gotten Amsterdam, and I knew at a glance that he was the dog for us. What I didn't know was that the long-ago connection with the staff person would translate into overnight approval. And so we went to meet Amsterdam on Friday, and brought him home Saturday.

As I write, at 7am, Big Guy is out taking his dog for a walk. I can't count how many times he's said to me this week, "Mom, he's a really good dog." To which I reply, "He's a great dog." And he is.

There is something wonderful about having someone who's happy to see you every time you walk in the door. There's joy in starting the day getting whacked by a wagging tail. I know the dog walking will get harder to do when it rains or snows. But for right now, life is good. Very good.


  1. Grateful for the joy Amsterdam has brought into your lives. Blessings to you and your family.

  2. We got a new dog too. My husband has ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. Our dog Smitty is 14 years old. I didn't want Bruce (husband) to be w/o a dog and when they both leave me I wanted to have someone to love in my home. Soo we got Wilson; he's a lot of fun and it takes work. Some people thot I was crazy. Bruce was given 2 - 5 years to live; it's been 5 years. He can't walk and he's arms are getting weaker but he can still talk and the 3 of us (Smitty, Wilson and me) still have him. Good luck with Amsterdam. No matter what happens he will love you all.

  3. The unconditional love of a great dog is a healing balm. Good for you.

  4. Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. I am happy
    that you have been blessed with Amsterdam.

  5. Dogs are one of God's greatest blessings to us. Our dog makes us laugh each and every day. May Amsterdam be just such a joy to you all.

    ~ Dar in NY

  6. The benefits of a loving dog greatly outweigh the negatives.

  7. When I got to "mom, he's a really good dog...the tears bittersweet.