I never thought I’d see it, but I caught my dog with a bone today.
We adopted Tally a few years ago. We had one amazing pup, who we thought deserved a buddy. Tally was a total stray, lucky enough to be found by someone in our local rescue. She was about half the weight she should have been, had no fur, had mange, holes in her ears… the list went on and on.
I couldn’t pass on her. I scheduled a visit with her, and then asked Marsh if it would be ok to go look into another dog… sneaky. I knew he couldn’t say no to me, and to her sweet face that I showed him as soon as he walked in the door. Hours later, we were meeting our girl.
At the foster’s home that night, we were warned not to be too upset if we couldn’t get her near us. But Tally ran straight up to me, to everyone’s surprise. I immediately picked her up and held her. I wanted her to know that she’d be safe with me. I held her and kissed her. Mange and all. I rubbed her and talked to her, I wanted to see how she’d react to us. I wanted her to know that being near people was safe, and comfortable. I put her down and she scurried off, but came right back to my feet. That was it. She was ours.
We brought her home immediately, agreeing to the health plan set up by the rescue. The next day, we took her to our own vet for a second opinion and a quick once over…
The vet confirmed what I had already thought. She didn’t seem to have been abused. She wanted to be near you. She just couldn’t bring herself to get too close. People were an unknown. Humans were scary. I was the only one she’d go to voluntarily… After about an hour, she decided she loved the vet too (who we’ve come to love just as much). He explained that everything about her showed signs of being a total stray. Not abuse… just… nothing.
We got her a few days before Christmas. Thankfully this left us about a week to just be home with her. Everything scared her. From a text message chime, to the hum of the dishwasher, it was all torture. It was all scary noise. Marshall walked too fast and spoke too loud. Even my own movements would send her running across the house. Eventually she’d come back… but it was just heartbreaking.
Over a few months she settled in. A match to our first dog for sweetest pup on earth, she still would scare easily. One thing I always thought was funny was that you could hand her a bone, full of peanut butter (which we did regularly for our other dog) and she would either run away from it, or look at you like ma… what do I do with this?
On the rare occasion she has been / is found with something that’s not hers, I’ve made sure to take it away, and give her a bone. A bone for Tally I tell her. I do the same with treats and snacks – It’s ok, this is for Tally!
It’s been a year and a half that we’ve had this sweet girl. A year and a half of turning a stray into a family dog. A year and a half of all the kisses and snuggles you could ask for. She’s still skittish. She’s sitting in my lap right now, crying at the thunder. But she has learned that in mom and dad’s lap, she’s safe – and that’s something I thought we’d never reach.
Something else I thought we’d never reach? Sweet Tally, chewing on a bone, without a care in the world. She has never really taken to toys. And the few times I saw her with a bone, she’d drop it and run as soon as she saw us.
So this morning, when Tally saw me and continued to chew her bone… I realized what has happened. Our dog feels at home. She feels safe. She feels secure. She knows her toys. She knows I won’t take it from her. And dare I say it, she even seemed to be enjoying it.
There really are no words that can explain why this is such a big deal. There’s no way to explain why this is such an accomplishment. But I love it. I love that she has a normal life. A normal home.
I love that my sweet dog chews on a bone.
And now, just as we’ve got a completely normal dog life around here, we’re about to give her two new babies. I don’t think either of these pups have a clue.
Cheers to the craziness.