Having a dog is is especially therapeutic for someone like me. I am without question an introvert and have, if not social anxiety, certainly social apathy. With a dog, I can spend an evening walking on the beach without company and still not feel alone. I can spend the day reading or writing a blog post on the couch, like I am right now, and with my dog on one side (and to be fair, my cat on the other), feel like I am surrounded by friends. When I’m at a party with her or around strangers, I can direct my attention or the topic of conversation onto my dog and suddenly not feel unsure of how to make small talk.
I typically consider and reconsider major life changes before making them, but adopting Ru was a rare impromptu decision. And while I was prepared for it to be something a disaster, every day I am shocked by how easy it is. Rumi is sweet, eager to please, low energy, and smart-as-a-whip. She is happy hanging out in the car while I run errands, doesn’t tear up my room when I leave her alone, and hasn’t met a dog or cat she doesn’t want to be pals with. While part of her good behavior is due to hours of training and constant rewards/corrections, a lot of it was just dumb luck. I adopted a really, really good dog.
I found Ru two months ago while visiting a high-kill shelter in Manteca, CA. My friend Monique and I were there to meet Gracie, a different dog I was considering fostering through my cat’s rescue organization. Gracie wasn’t what I expected, though – she was high energy, loud, and wasn’t especially interested in connecting with us. It immediately felt like a bad fit.
Both Moe and I had noticed a smaller, brindle pup when we walked by her kennel. We put our fingers up to the bars, and she frantically wiggled around licking them. Figuring that we drove an hour and a half to get there, and we might as well say hi, we asked to visit with the brindle in the meet-and-greet room.
We sat down on the floor, while she did a quick little sniff around the corners. Then, without hesitation, the pup crawled up into my lap and put her face up against mine. Moe’s and my jaws dropped as we looked at each other with half-horrified smiles. “Oh, no…” I said.
While I filled out the adoption paperwork that day, I couldn’t bring her home until the following week. Since such a small percentage of the Manteca shelter’s animals ever leave, they don’t spay or neuter until they’re adopted. Picking Ru up from the vet fresh after surgery and high on drugs was a less than ideal way to introduce her to her new home, but those stressful first days of pain, surgery cones, infections, and leaving her home alone all day are long over. Now it’s becoming so I can hardly even imagine life without her constant companionship.
I am most grateful for Ru’s acceptance and good behavior at work. She is now a fixture in the office, either chewing an antler under my desk, sleeping in the sunlight, or hassling whoever is making food in the kitchen. My coworkers show delight in her antics and patience with any troublemaking. And Ru, for her part, couldn’t be a better office dog.
While I’ve always been an animal person, I was never a die-hard dog lover. That’s completely changed. The amount of utter devotion and endless affection Ru has for me is overwhelming. And her happiness – whether it’s from a bone or a run on the beach or a belly rub – makes me incredibly happy.
After I adopted Ru, I learned from the rescue organization that she was supposed to be euthanized the following day. This deeply affectionate and gentle dog was so close to not making it, and I am so lucky to have found her when I did. Every day I get to fill her life with joy, just like she fills mine.