Buddy the Shepherd Mix
Julie found that a rescued pet could rescue her.
All of my adult life, I have lived with cats, and I had no pets growing up. I’ve lived in Indiana, Colorado and California, and my cats had been a huge part of my life. I have done my share of rescuing animals – including an injured possum, several cats, and for some reason, five “bully breed” dogs who “found” me over the years. I never considered keeping any of the dogs – only one had an owner, who was found quickly. I did not feel it would be responsible, since I am still a tenant, and I’ve had to perform the “dog and pony show” often for prospective landlords to convince them to rent to the cats!
In late summer of 2006, I found a young female pit bull – she was a little beat up, but very sweet. I took her to the dog wash, and then I relinquished her to IndyHumane later that day. I admit that I had some underlying fear about keeping her – not only due to my own “rules” about not having a dog, but due to the cats, and her breed – even though I had some decent education about the “myths” that plagued these dogs, and I had helped several of them prior to this day.
At the time, I was involved in some talk therapy with a counselor, and as I shared my “life issues,” etc… I shared the story about the latest dog I had helped, then “gave away.” My therapist asked if I’d ever considered having my own dog, and offered that I seemed to give much to the animals, but not keep them, and get back the love they offer in return. I told her I had the cats, and she uttered a few sentences about the different connection we form with a dog. She was merely making an observation (although she confided that she had two dogs!), and I adamantly announced all of my reasons for not adding a dog to my life, including that I was unemployed at the time, although I did have some funds in the bank. That was a Friday afternoon, and on Saturday morning, I found myself driving toward the Humane Society of Indianapolis!
I walked through the kennels and spent a few hours taking some dogs outside with staff members. I knew I could have a dog – my landlord was a big dog lover, and I had a small fenced yard, but I was still unsure about the commitment. One of the dogs, Buddy, caught my attention in his kennel. He was surrounded by large pit bulls, and all the dogs were whining, or barking, but Buddy was calm – but not cowering. When he chased a tennis ball out in the yard, he stretched out on the grass like a frog and crawled for a second – it was hilarious! When the staff member and I walked him back to his kennel, he came to the front of his cage and barked as I walked away – first time I’d heard him bark at all! I did not take him, and decided to “sit with” the “dog” decision, but I went back to the shelter the next day. I decided to adopt Buddy, and took him home, not really knowing yet what to do with a dog! And my little serene scene at home with the cats was about to be dashed…
Buddy was a little over a year old, and had obviously been cared for well by his previous owners, who were unknown to the shelter. But, my life was not so great, and I was struggling. As good as Buddy was, I almost re-homed him within the first month – a friend had offered to take him everyone who met him observed how great his temperament was, etc… I just felt like I could not handle the added commitment. After about six weeks, and a few people who expressed interest in taking him, I had a day where the events that occurred somehow showed me that Buddy was possibly the best thing that had happened to me at that point in my life. Everything shifted, and I knew there was no way I would give him up!
It’s almost four years later, and I credit Buddy with pulling me out of some major depression, and getting me “out of myself” in order to care for him. I love him dearly, and he continues to get compliments on his demeanor – he’s called “polite” often, among other things! I can’t imagine life without him, and if I die before he does, there is a list of people who would fight over custody of Buddy!