“If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human I am.” – Charles Yu
One day in the middle of February 2010,
I found my husband looking at a picture of a dog on the internet. Both of us animal lovers, I didn’t think much of it but did notice it was on a website for adopting animals. I remember mentioning that we weren’t adopting a dog and that we had enough trouble taking care of ourselves. A day or two later I walked by and saw he was looking at the same dog. I reiterated that we weren’t getting a dog, it would take away some of our freedom. We had a cat but cats are easy. You can leave for a day or even overnight if they have plenty of food and water. Not dogs, though. They have to go for walks!
“But look at his face,” said Kris, in that drawn-out, look-how-cuuute kind of voice. You know what I mean.
“I know, honey,” I said. “But we can’t get a dog.”
I had never considered having a dog, putting them in the same category as time-stealing, needy kids. I’m too selfish and introverted. It would take too much mental energy. I didn’t want to take care of another animal that needed so much attention.
When it happened again I felt like a jealous woman catching her man watching porn. He couldn’t seem to help himself. He was drawn to Dagmar and kept going back to stare at his picture. Probably the fourth time I saw him looking, he said the dog would be at an event that the rescue that had him was holding in a store and we could just go meet him. I agreed, figuring we could get some shopping in and knowing full well we were not adopting a dog.
When we entered the store Dagmar was huddled on the floor and a little girl had her arms wrapped around him. He didn’t look comfortable, in fact he looked terrified and shut down. The rescue people explained that he was extremely timid, that he had been found in the woods in a live coyote trap, the cage ones that close behind an animal once they enter. He had heterochromia iridis, one blue and one brown eye, and looked kind of wolf-like, with his head hung low, panting with anxiety. Honestly, he was a bit scary-looking but didn’t seem vicious, just very afraid. He needed a quiet home, somewhere to chill for a while until he got adopted. Did we want to foster him? Knowing it was temporary and figuring such a beautiful dog would get adopted pretty quickly, I agreed to foster him. I mean, he was really pretty. And no commitment, right?
He was such a scared dog. He sat in a corner and just stared at us, panting. We talked to him quietly and calmly, tried to ply him with treats but they were no motivator for him. He wouldn’t eat in front of us. Any sound, especially clicking noises such as a light switch, made him start. Touching him, however gently, made him flinch. Every single time. My heart ached for him. I just wanted him to feel safe. To relax. To know that we would never hurt him.
He moved both of us.
A few days after we brought him home the rescue told us there was an adoption event the following weekend and we should bring Dag so people could meet him. Kris and looked at each other. No words were needed. Dagmar wasn’t going anywhere. We had a dog.