Theodore the Great- Part Three

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Only one day separates these two photos of Theodore. Granted, we had not yet cleaned up his haircut in the second photo. We had to take three sessions to groom him because he was not into the whole haircut thing!

The rest of the story is not dramatic and climactic like the first part was. Mostly now, life with Theodore takes on an episodic nature.

Some of his favorite things to do are come to choir practice at church with me on Wednesday nights, go for walks, play with his toys, and just sit on my lap.

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Some of his hobbies include driving, gardening, and tree climbing.

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He enjoys the finer things in life like Starbucks, dressing up, and being superman.

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Basically, Theodore is Great. I love him. And he will be guest posting once a week. Look for his new segment, which I will try to post on Tuesdays! If you have any suggestions for what the name of his guest blogs segment should be, comment below and I will get the message to him. (He loves alliteration.)

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Theodore the Great- Part Two

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.

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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!

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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)

Theodore the Great- Part One

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That was the picture on Craigslist I found when desperately combing through all the “toy poodles” listed for my area.

You see, last December my old dog Champ died. He was a big old chubby German Shepherd/ Basset Hound mix that I love dearly. Champ had epilepsy, and his seizures were dangerously severe. I nursed him and medicated him and drove him to numerous doctors looking for answers for years. Champ helped me become an adult. He helped me take real responsibility. He was a friend when I needed one. He was a helper when I needed one. He was my companion, and when he died I was more devastated than I had ever imagined. I mourned for him longer and more painfully than I have mourned for humans! I even began feeling guilty for grieving so heavily over a dog! It’s a special, innocent relationship to love and be loved by a dog.

At first I wanted no “replacement.” My heart ached only for Champ, but he was not coming back. When I thought I was ready again, I fostered a dog from the humane society with the intention to adopt. After one night with that sweet dog, I woke up crying and knowing that I was either not ready yet, or this dog was not right for me. Regretfully we sent that dog back with a note and a monetary donation, never adopting him. I felt so guilty but seeing him in my house made me miss Champ so much it hurt. (I did keep up with the fate of that dog and he was adopted shortly after.)

Then I was content to be dog-less again for a period: scared of another failed attempt to let a new dog into our house and especially my heart.

I am a believer in fate/divine plan/ miracles (whatever you call it in your mind.) There came a day a few weeks later when I developed an obsessive behavior of searching online for toy poodles. I was emailing individuals, applying to rescue groups, texting sellers, and TALKING about this process all the time! I have no idea where the desire for a toy poodle came from, but I sure am glad it came. Before that time, I hadn’t expressed an interest in poodles since I was about three!

Anyways, so there I was- searching Petfinder, Craigslist, and every humane society around for a toy poodle- the opposite of the kind of dog I was previously attracted too. And I found this guy.

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If I said it was love at first sight I would be lying. My desperate searching self was in love with every little curly dog I saw at that time. If I said it was a match made in heaven, then maybe you’d understand.

I sent another email laced with hope, love, desire, and potential, just like all the others I was sending at the time.

I got a reply that he was still available.

I tried very hard not to get my hopes up.

For four days, I went back and forth through email, texting, and phone calls with the owner of the mop-like white dog. She was very frustrating, to say the least. She told me the small dog got on her nerves. She told me numerous lies. (One being that he was a pure bred toy poodle with papers.) She let me down, then got my hopes up, then let me down again. I was beginning to wonder if the dog she was advertising even existed. The more she proved untrustworthy, however, the more i wanted that dog (if he existed) out of her wavering hands and into my loving ones. Finally I asked my dad to intervene. He called her, asking about the dog, only to be told “I don’t have a dog on Craigslist! Leave me alone!” And she hung up.

He called back demanding the truth. After a few more calls and the stern voice of a father, it was decided that she would meet him the following day at a nearby gas station.