When my dad identified the car he was supposed to be meeting, he got out to greet the mysterious young woman. He said: “Hey, how are you?” In a civil way you would greet a stranger.
She responded with an annoyed and exasperated:
“Bad, I have to figure out a way to tell my mom I’m pregnant.”
Just like that. To a complete stranger asking a friendly question.
My dad told her he was sorry and waited as patiently as he could for her to remove the scared little dog from a cage in her back seat so tiny he could barely move around. When she opened the door to the too small cage, the frightened dog would not even come out to her. My dad began to get worried. Should he bring this questionable dog home to his daughter who was already heartbroken over the loss of her Champ? His pocket was full of $150 cash I had left with him to pay for the dog.
After finally having to remove the entire lid to the tiny cage in order to pull the frightened dog out, the woman presented him to my dad. His tail was between his legs. His hair was matted like it had never before been brushed or cut. There was straw knotted up in his coat to suggest that he had been sleeping outside. (A suspicion my dad asked about, but she denied.) His hair was so long and matted that his eyes weren’t even visible. The nervous little dog was so scared that he would not even come to his owner, much less a stranger. My dad asked how much the young woman wanted for the dog. He paid her what they agreed upon and brought the dog home to me.
I had picked out the name Theodore ahead of time. I went searching in the obituary for a name the same time I was searching everywhere else for a dog. I love the idea of finding names in the obituary because it feels like you are giving the word a second chance. It feels like bringing the big world full of strangers into your heart and allowing a small foreign piece to live on in your life. (Sorry I got all hippie for a second, I just truly believe that!)
Anyways, so of the handful of names from the obituary I liked, my boyfriend particularly liked Theodore. I looked up its meaning online: “Gift from God.” I knew that was the right name.
When I met Theodore, I loved him. I almost cried (of happiness this time) when I walked in the front door and he was looking up at me from the couch. I knew he was my dog. He was my gift.
As you can see, that first day I took loads of photos of my little shaggy sheep. He immediately opened up to me and bonded with me. The scared nature and tail between legs was history. The next day, we took him to the vet for a checkup and shots.
His previous owner had told me he was one year old. The vet said he was two and a half. His previous owner told me he was a purebred toy poodle. The vet told me he was a bichon frise/ poodle mix. None of this really mattered. He was perfect.
His checkup went well, and he adjusted to life with us amazingly well. My dad tried his hands at a hair cut, and by the end of that endeavor, the whole family had taken a whack at it!
He was not potty trained like we had been assured, so we began working diligently on that. I bought him a crate and he frantically resisted it at first. Now, however, he loves it. He enjoys laying in it and relaxing even when he doesn’t have to be in it! He sleeps with me most nights, and he has bonded to me faster and more strongly than I knew dogs could!
(Look for my next post in this series for photos of Theo after his haircut)