Every once in a while, I yearn for a dog. I envision a sweet, loving dog sitting by my desk as I work, accompanying me on long walks, and listening to me as I talk to her instead of myself. When I have this feeling, I visit a few websites and bookmark pictures of dogs that I like. That usually is the end of it which is a good thing as I work full time and travel often. My life does not accommodate a dog!
This time was different. I saw a Golden doodle for sale in The Oregonian. Even though I knew better, I made an appointment to see her. She was shaggy, overweight and living in terrible conditions at the home of a backyard breeder. She was so sweet and loving that she won my heart. I returned the next day with a friend who was supposed to talk me out of buying her. The upshot was that I left a deposit and promised to return the next day to fetch her. All that evening, I told myself that this was insanity and that I should forfeit my deposit and let her go. I had just traded my SUV for a sedan with beige interior. I lived in a townhouse with no backyard. Did I really want to walk a dog in the freezing rain or even the rain? I guess I did!
Money changed hands and this overweight, frightened dog was stuffed into the backseat by the breeder. After a quick trip to her vet, we headed to Lake Oswego for our new life together. It was uncharted territory. Ginny was almost six years old and had produced five litters. The breeder treated her as a breeding machine and did not socialize her at all. She did not know how to play with toys or other dogs. She was terrified of living in the larger world with other dogs and people. Her front bottom teeth were worn down which the vet attributed to chewing on the bars of her kennel during her years of confinement. Her first visit to the dog park reminded me of a timid child’s first day at school. She would not leave my side.
Now, over a year later, she is quite the socialite! As we walk around Lake Oswego, she greets people and other dogs with ease. She visits my neighbors for a quick hello when we are outside. I credit LexiDog day care and my friends and neighbors for helping her to become more confident. Pet-friendly businesses such as Umpqua Bank, Home Depot, Nordstrom, Ace Hardware, and Paul Schatz Furniture afforded more opportunities for her to interact with strangers in various settings. Visiting a friend living in a senior care facility turned into another warm, loving way for her to interact with people. The residents love petting her. Who could resist when she rests her head in their laps and looks at them with those big eyes?
Even though she is still timid in some ways, she is coming into her own as a sweet, smart loving Golden doodle. It is a joy to experience.