We have had a lot of changes in our lives this past couple weeks. In order to share I have to back up in time, just a little, and tell the back story.
When my husband Daniel and I got married, 9 years ago, I had two cats, Bonnie and Clyde. My husband isn’t really a cat person but he tolerated them for my sake. Cats really don’t require much except eat, sleep and a little play time when they are young. When my niece moved from WA state to TN to live with us a few years ago she asked if she could get a cat of her own. We agreed and Dewy joined our family. Within a year my niece moved out to live in a dorm at her college and Dewy stayed with us. We became a three cat home. Three cats was a bit more then we bargained for but we couldn’t justify getting rid of Dewy since he was so good with our youngest daughter KAB. The three cats have completely different personalities; Bonnie is extremely moody and bites anyone that comes near her except for me, Clyde is a 26 pound cat that is scared of everything and basically sleeps and eats all day and Dewy is the friendly loving cat that lets KAB do just about anything to him. We were now a family with three cats and that was all we could handle.
Since day one, Daniel told me that he would never get a dog. He hated dogs and that was where he drew the line in regards to pets. Anytime the topic of dogs came up it was obvious that it wasn’t a good topic. Our daughter KAB has recently started wanting to walk the neighborhood every evening with her Daddy. During these walks she would visit our neighbor who had a black Lab named Max. She became so attached to Max and would cry when he wasn’t out to play with her. Daniel would come home and tell me all about Kailey and Max and every time I would say “Honey, I can already see that she will be asking for a Dog soon. You may end up giving in.” He always gave me a glance that said ‘not likely’ and went on his way. Well after a few months of this, he came home one night to tell me about Kailey and Max and I said my normal little comment and he said “well I have been thinking about that, maybe we should get her a dog.” I about hit the floor. I couldn’t believe that he caved. That began the journey to find a dog for KAB.
KAB has special needs and so we thought it would be a good idea to look into a service dog. Not knowing much about dogs or service dogs, we contacted a local non-profit organization called Smoky Mountain Service Dogs. They were very helpful in guiding us. We found that we didn’t need a service dog but a companion dog. Basically another way to say a pet with special training. After many conversations we decided that we would have SMSD’s trainers, who are also personal trainers, help us find the right dog for KAB and when it was found we would have him or her go through a two week boot camp obedience training and then we would have a few specific training classes. We were warned that the process of find the right dog for KAB cloud take months even a year or move. Within a week we received a call saying that they had the perfect dog for us. In fact Buddy had been in their care all along. Buddy had been given to them six months prior by a family that was moving out of the area and couldn’t take him with them. The owners felt that he would make a perfect Drug Detection dog. Heather, our trainer took the dog in and when the owners dropped Buddy off, Heather found that he was obese and needed to get healthy before he could undergo any training. He is now in perfect shape and ready. When we told Heather what we were looking for, he came to mind. We scheduled a time to go meet him and within two days, we had Buddy in our home for a week trial period. It didn’t take a week. By Sunday we had decided we wanted him and we were ready to have him go through the obedience training. He has been gone for a week now and he comes home next Monday. We are all excited about him joining us.
Prior to having Buddy come for a visit, we had to take Clyde to the Vet to have him put to sleep. He had gotten so big and unhealthy. We couldn’t get him to lose his weight and after years of struggling he just couldn’t handle it any more and it was time for him to leave us. Talk about a difficult decision. We knew it was the right decision but it broke my heart.
Having Buddy join our family has caused us to rethink the back yard a little. Instead of expanding the garden like we had planned, we are making the back half of the yard his play area. Its a little bit of a bummer as I wanted to turn that area into more beds and plant berries and grapes. But a dog is a better option for our family and we can figure out another way to grow the berries and grapes. We have planted the grass and hope that it comes in quickly as Buddy loves to play ball. This area will be perfect for that.
On the day that we had taken Buddy to the trainer for the two week boot camp obedience training, he jumped our fence and took a walk around our neighbors yards. It freaked me out so bad. I thought we had lost him, but luckily he was close and we got him back. However, this little stunt showed us that the four foot fence that we had put in just a month earlier was not going to cut it. So this last weekend we purchased six foot timbers to raise the height. Just when we thought it was all done and under control changes have to be made. Well, in my opinion, it will be worth it.
As KAB would say, we have “6 sleeps” before Buddy is home for good and we are ALL happy.