The wonderful, beautiful Skyla Dawn Cameron (editor at Mundania Press) is celebrating her birthday today. (If you want numbers, talk to her, I'm not spilling.) Instead of asking for gifts though, Skyla is doing things a bit different. As a major animal lover, she's asking you to give a gift to your local animal shelter. In return, she's giving away a bunch of stuff. Click here if you want to know how to enter and what's up for grabs (a digital copy of "Of Course I Try" is part of the mix.)
She also asked that we post our pet adoption stories today. While most of my pets have come from a shelter of some sort or the other, our most recent addition, Zeus, came from an ASPCA adoption event at a local pet store. Like Skyla, if I go into the actual shelter, I want to bring everyone home.
When we adopted Zeus, we already had a senior dog, Bailey. She was kind of an oddball. She loved puppies, but wasn't really fond of other dogs. So when we made the decision to add to the family, she got the deciding vote. Everyone was kind of stuck on the idea of a puppy, and we found a couple at the event we liked (she had turned her nose up at everyone she'd met before this particular adoption). Once we picked her up from home and brought her to the store though, she made it pretty clear she was over the puppy thing. She wanted nothing to do with them. At all.
Then there was this kind of dopey, goofy German Shepherd mix that had glommed onto us. He was about a year old and neutered but that was really all the information they could give us (the ASPCA had rescued him from a kill shelter in Ohio). The moment he went nose to nose with Bailey, I knew we'd found our guy. Her tail went a mile a minute and her posture was all sorts of relaxed. We took them outside to walk together, and it was like they'd been hanging out for years. Zeus came home with us that day.
For about a week, there were little power struggles between the dogs. Then they seemed to work it out that Bailey was alpha inside, and Zeus was in charge outside. I remember trainers telling us it didn't work that way, that because Zeus was male, she'd defer to him. Obviously they'd never met our crazy kids.
While Bailey'd reached an age where she was content to lie around and just play in spurts, Zeus was boundless energy. When he wants quiet time, he hides by me, lodging himself under my desk when I'm working or between the couch and coffee table in the evenings. In a lot of ways, he became my shadow.
It wasn't long after Zeus came into our lives that Bailey's health started going. I think she'd been holding out until she knew we'd be taken care of. She had a year with Zeus when things were pretty good, but then she developed heart problem that required a pace maker and a spinal condition that got worse and worse as time progressed. This past February, when her therapy stopped helping, we finally made the decision to let her go.
Zeus was the glue that kept me strong for my kids. He held me up when I wanted to fall down and cry. Even now, as I'm writing this, he's here with kisses and his goofy doggie smile.
A long time ago, I said I never wanted a male dog.
Of course, back then, I hadn't met Zeus.
Happy Birthday, Skyla!