Update From the Furry Side, Part I
It’s been some time since I’ve updated everyone on the Dynamic Duo we brought home to join the family a few months back. The lack of stories has definitely not been because there hasn’t been any to share, that is the farthest statement from the truth, but it has been because…well, I’m lazy. It has been difficult to find the time recently, but I realize that’s no excuse, and their story is not only exciting, but it’s also a way to give them a voice, which is more important to me now than it ever has been. Never did I think two tails, eight legs, and twice the kisses (if I’m lucky to get an “accidental” kiss from Daddy) would change lives and a home the way that the boys have changed ours. I will attempt to summarize all that I’ve learned, loved, feared and laughed these last 6 months, but I know there will be no way for me to paint the dramatic picture that accurately explains the impact they have had on our everyday, and our future perspectives; however, I will try my best.
I will start with Daddy f/k/a Hanz. Last I spoke of him he was just getting his furry butt back and the skinny protrusion from his backside was actually beginning to look like a tail. There was no doubt that some good food and a lot of love did wonders for Daddy. He went from lethargic and distant to very playful, a lover and just unexplainable happy. It was a turning point when instead of refusing to eat his food he began to look forward to breakfast and dinner (although, if you would like him to finish his bowl, your presence is required in the kitchen until he is done). And let me tell you, as much as he looks forward to his meals, he also REALLY looks forward to our meals. To put it nicely, Daddy is somewhat of a mooch, and we learned first-hand, he does not discriminate as to the type, flavor or texture when it comes to snaggin a snack. One of the first indications he was a scrounger was after a short trip out, we returned to empty gum wrappers and cellophane littered over the floor. At first, we thought it may be Shelby (she’s been known to rummage) but after time went on, it was clear Daddy was definitely the culprit. He can hear the fridge open from downstairs, smell food wrappers or snacks in your pocket, and if the kids bring home any type of candy, he is laying at their feet pretending to be all innocent.
Don’t believe me? Let me give you just a snippet of Daddy’s antics..the other day my daughter came home with her Valentine’s bag filled with assorted candy and cards. Daddy immediately followed her up the stairs, which he’s been known to do at times, but was particularly attentive. I opened her door a little later and witnessed such a pathetic, however adorable, scene of him rolling on his back, rubbing his head, just begging to be pet, all the while keeping a close eye on the candy spread across her bed. I do have to say he was very patient and waited until everyone was too busy to notice. At the exact time no one was looking, he snuck back into her room and came out carrying a lollipop attached to a Valentine hanging out of his mouth. Fortunately, I was in his path from bedroom to bedroom and laughed at the same time saying “Daaaddy”. Realizing he was busted bigger than Dallas, he nonchalantly dropped the candy and moseyed on over to his bed to lay down, acting like he had no idea why I was so surprised.
(The Taylor Swift symbol for Love-and she thought she came up with it ;))
Oh and not only is Daddy a sneaky snack snagger, he is also just plain sneaky. Daddy has a mind of his own and you quickly learn that there really is no telling him what to do. For example, it takes a lot of coaxing to get him out of bed in the morning, which he does very slowly. Taking his time to stretch and groan, he finally makes it down the stairs; not because he’s weak or old, noooo, again, don’t let him fool you, but because he does EVERYTHING on his own time & terms. As for being sneaky, I can give 2 very funny “in the moment” examples.
No. 1– Daddy LOVES to go on walks and he LOVES everyone, so when you open the front door, if you’re not watching, he will, with no question, make it out to the driveway by slipping his big ‘ol 75 lb. self between your legs or behind you, to either say Hi to visitors, lift his leg on the front bush (in the backyard his target is the grill), or both. He comes back pretty immediately and of course acts like it’s completely natural with a facial expression that begs to question the reason for your high pitch voice; and
No. 2 — Before I let the three of them outside, in order to train Gustav to calm down, everyday and every time, we have them sit before we open the door, and hold their sit until we say “OK”. Lol–Daddy is not interested in that little task and has found a way to avoid the ridiculous chore. Instead of coming straight to the door (even if he has to go badly) he will walk as slowly as he can into the room, giving the other two ding dings enough time to already be seated while he hovers in the background until he hears the word “OK”. Or, if he made it to the back door too early, he will position himself under the dining room table, which I believe, in his mind, makes it impossible to see him, so when I open the door, he darts around me and out to the yard. Mission NOT to sit…accomplished.
As stubborn as he is, I have, over time, taught him how to sit and give paw, which is too sweet, but as much as I would like to pat myself on the back for that feat, I’m pretty sure it has a lot more to do with the smell of his favorite treats.
(We know he thinks it…)
Even though Daddy has a mind of his own and lives up to the description of a “cool”, “lay-by-the-fireplace” kind of guy, it is always so much fun to see him get excited and playful. Bring out his neon orange tennis ball (which has to be the special rubber Chuck-It tennis balls, because he literally pops all the regular ones-I think we counted 9 in one weekend) or his leash and just watch him get some air. He will jump, prance and practically dance all over the room until either you hook him up or throw the ball so he can take off running. He will run and run until he just gets too tired and when he’s tired, he’d done, no matter how abrupt it may be. He will then take his ball, go lay down in his bed and fall asleep with it still in his mouth.
Sneaky, stubborn and funny is Daddy, but through all of that he is also a very sweet baby. He will let you pet him all day if you could, he only barks when we come home, and a good butt scratchin always makes his day. I can go on and on about Daddy, but understand Gustav (and Shelby) are waiting for their turn in the spotlight. So, to conclude Daddy’s story, only for the time being, I do have to share that we did receive some unsettling news about 2 weeks after we brought him home. Daddy has a very large thyroid tumor in his neck and from what we’ve been told, surgery is possible but terribly risky. To say the least, it was hard to take, but the urgency to make such a decision has really been kept filed in the back of our minds for more than one reason.
We have seen Daddy’s tremendous comeback from neglect and abuse, we have witnessed his energetic, loving and most tolerant (especially with children) personality and it is so hard for us to even recognize the fact that he is sick, because he sure doesn’t act like it. So to keep up with his “live in the now” attitude, we do not feel sorry for him, we love him more, when he wants to play, we play hard, when its time for dinner, he usually will get apples, carrots or peas thrown on top, when he sits without any prompting for his bedtime snack after last call, he might just get two, and as he slowly walks to the stairs and looks back to make sure everyone is going to bed, we usually follow, because if we don’t he will come find us and stand at the bottom of the stairs and stare until we finally give in.
As difficult as it is to think about the heartbreaking truth, the fact is, life without Daddy will be so empty and horribly sad, but life without ever having Daddy would have been incomplete. To take a chance and adopt an older dog is a risk I would do over again and encourage to anyone who loves to be loved (unconditionally), because believe me, they will change your life. Daddy changed ours and his story is just the tip of the iceberg.
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