I did it. I hemmed and hawed for ages. Then I submitted an application with Boxer Rescue. I followed the story of a three year old Boxer whose issues looked daunting, despite being almost entirely training-based.
The LP objected. He relented eventually and said to do what I wanted.
So I did. Yesterday I drove three and a half hours to pick up that wild child. And over three hours back home with her.
I slept on the hardwood floor (in a sleeping bag built for a 5 year old) beside her xpen last night so she would settle. Ouch. She stopped crying and barking and stayed put.
This dog needs work. A lot of work. She nips and jumps. High. She is very strong and huge for a female. She wants to play and play and play and believes (I think) it’s all harmless as nobody ever taught her four on the floor. At all times.
I wanted to cry last night, asking myself what the heck I was thinking when I signed up for this. Then while I was trying to work from home (for her and our smaller, senior dog) earlier today she showed me that she can be very gentle and sweet. And afraid. She doesn’t want to be left alone. Who can blame her? This is pit stop number 3 for her in the past 2 months. Anxiety or an aversion to separation was to be expected.
We have the dog on a “shutdown” of at least 2 weeks to ease her into our lives and to allow our resident dog to get acclimatized and reassured of her importance at the same time. I can’t take the rescue on leash walks outside our home/yard yet and she has to be in the xpen or leashes with me at all times (or in a crate but I haven’t yet decided if I am going to buy a crate, though she is allegedly crate trained). She broke down her xpen and figured out how to unlatch the gate on our fence (smart! scary!) already this morning so we aren’t off to the greatest start.
I have asked myself along the way why this dog and this business of taking in a new rescue called to me. Sure I want to help a dog in need. But it isn’t just that. This is about me too. My last rescue Boxer taught me so much – better said, we schooled each other notwithstanding our (my) countless mistakes.
Rescuing this dog is also about reclaiming some part of me that feels lost or missing. I haven’t found the words yet to name that piece but I feel it in my bones. For one thing I have a deep need to take up space and time in my own life for me and my passions. I’ve gone back to running. When it became clear our senior small dog is not able to manage longer runs anymor, another Boxer as my running companion seemed a natural next step. I also felt and feel strongly that I want my boys to learn about rescue animals and perseverance and the rewards of both.
Am I in over my head?
Probably. At least for the immediately foreseeable future.
That thought struck me like an anvil yesterday as I prepared for the drive to pick her up. It returned last night and early this morning. Then something shifted and hope returned.
Need I remind myself my last rescue Boxer had never been socialized, was a wild thing with coprophagia (ew – look it up!), was severely malnourished and neglected and suffered from terrible separation anxiety for years? And that despite all odds she turned into an incredibly balanced and relaxed friend who spent 13 years with me?
Yep. That thought keeps my feet on the ground and hope in my heart. Never mind the tooth marks and scratches or the dog hair all over the place. I’m going to give this neglected girl my best. And see what happens.
Stay tuned. And wish me luck. Please.