Remember Nelly? The Shitty House Dog, SHD, with body love and a problem with authority? Well Nelly’s back with a best new friend. Recently my partner and I decided that our hearts were too big and our bed was too empty to not rescue another, hopefully less shitty, house dog.
In December, after following a Facebook page where people gave up their pets left and right with no real intentions of picking one out anytime soon, we saw a dog that sparked our interest. “Axel” now Moose was in need of a home. His owners had four other dogs, had paid too much for what they thought was a purebred Husky, and had no time for a 9 month old puppy that just wants your attention. Overall, it was a rough situation.
On that day we decided to be irresponsible young adults and grab ourselves a new fur baby.
Here is where Moose’s story begins and Nelly’s life as an only child ends.
Introducing the dogs at first with the full intentions of “if this doesn’t work out we will find him a much better home” was everything we expected. You can say Nelly “likes” other dogs. She likes to lick them, sometimes play with them, steal all of their toys, and then destroy them. She was protective of me. She needed reassurance that if and when the time came to pick one of them to pet it would be her. We did our secret handshake and she decided to adopt her new forced friend.
The addition of Moose taught me more than I had ever anticipated. I have learned about balancing. Balancing petting, balancing while trying to tie a shoe because both dogs want to lick my face, balancing partner and puppy cuddles, balancing being strict and letting them run wild, and balancing myself. I’ve continued to learn from Nelly over the year but the addition of Moose has created a whole new world to live in.
Sometimes Nelly loves Moose. Sometimes the thought of Moose disgusts her. Sometimes I experience those same feelings. A personal moral principle of mine is kindness. A bad first impression or interaction, a ruff (LOL) day, or some stressor I’ve put on myself can cause me to retract instead of interact. Choosing to be kind and rewind, instead of turn on auto pilot and fast forward is challenging. Puppies are much like every human being. They make mistakes. Sometimes they know better and sometimes they don’t. Remembering that at the end of the day it isn’t that big of a deal helps kindness thrive.
Another driving factor for my life is to include. One of the worst things on this Earth is standing in or near a group and being either shut out because someone steps in front of you, or someone doesn’t move to invite you into the circle. Being part of the pack is important. Allowing everyone to come to the table so they too can be heard not only adds to the conversation but also gives them value. Nelly, Jake, and I were our own pack. Adding Moose to the house gave us the opportunity to step to the side and learn from another being.
Someone is watching.
Remember that Santa Claus song, “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake?” More often than not, there are eyes on me. This sounds creepier than it really is. You don’t know creepy until you roll over and see two sets of eyes watching you. I often find myself rolling over to a wet nose plopped on the bed waiting patiently for me to wake up. In my current role there are also usually a set of eyes on me. Those eyes belong to students in panic mode because they didn’t pass a class or they don’t understand how to register as a guest student for the summer. An administrator watching you because funding is tight and am I really that important? Colleagues making sure our office is serving students to the best of our ability. Feeling like all eyes are on you isn’t a negative thing. It’s a positive thing. This means that mistakes can be caught and feedback administered to heal the problem. You are putting your best and most vulnerable self forward because when we are surrounded by the media, you don’t always know what is real. All eyes on you also means that all of the crumbs are accounted for and calories don’t count when they’re shared with others.
Animals mean just as much to me as humans do. A life is a life and it is not mine to take. Due to that belief, I find myself learning from all animals, not just humans. Be kind, include others, and others eyes can be your biggest cheering section. Who would have thought that my personal ethics could have been solidified by a Shitty House Dog and her less shitty counterpart.