A few weeks ago, my wife and I did the hardest thing we have ever done as a couple.
We had to put our beloved dog, Dude, down. After my wife and I had been married for a few years, we bought our first house. My wife had wanted a dog for a while, as we both had dogs growing up. We are dog lovers.
Once we were settled in our new house, we decided it was time to adopt.We adopted Dude from the humane society when he was approximately 1 year old. He came in as a stray, but we believe he had been living with a family. He was house broken and knew a few commands. He had an extreme fear of being crated.
We went to the shelter a few times, hoping to find our new companion.
We were looking for a medium sized dog, something around 30-45 pounds. We weren’t having much luck finding a dog we could agree on. Dogs that are kept in the shelter are usually traumatized – they are cramped in a small place with dozens of other dogs, only exercised once a day for a short time, eat strange foods, and smell weird things and death. This makes most of them jumpy and on edge, so it is difficult to see their true nature. I think this frightens off many possible adoptions.
We went to the shelter again one evening. My wife saw a big lonely dog. He was sitting quietly at the edge of his cage looking out at her. He stole her heart. She said we should consider him. I was hesitant because he was so large and very muscular, weighting 72 lbs. We asked if we could meet him one-on-one, and the shelter staff took us to a small room away from the main area. They brought Dude in, he was happy to be out of his cage and glad to see us. He was very dirty from life on the streets. I was sitting in a chair, and he came up and rested his big old head on my lap. I was sold. He stole my heart as he looked up to me with big soulful eyes.
We decided to adopt him.
We filled out the application, paid the fee, waited a few days for the house check. They approved us to adopt him, we were so happy! We went and picked Dude up the on July 3, 2009. He was so happy to be home with us.
He was still a bit of a puppy, and I was still a bit anxious to have such a large dog. I didn’t trust him at first. I requested we keep in him garage. I had just done a lot of work on our house to make it nice, and I was worried he would destroy something if left out unsupervised. We didn’t know his history.
Well, he hated being isolated in the garage, and nearly destroyed the wood door to the house trying to get in. I kind of freaked out a little, worried there was something wrong with him. Without my knowledge, my wife started leaving him in the house when she went to work. He was fine. He mostly just slept on the couch. He chewed a few things the first year: a hat, some shoes, and a few TV remotes, but quickly grew out of it.
We spent a lot of time with Dude. We walked him every day at the local park. He was good for us, and we were good for him. We grew to love him like a family member. The highlight of my day was coming home from work and seeing Dude overjoyed to see me. His tail would be wagging a mile a minute and he would spin in circles. He really helped me calm down after a long day at work. He snuggled with us in bed. He barked to warn us of anything suspicious. He truly was man’s best friend.
Read on in Part 2…