Sunday, November 17
Lucky alias Luck Duck alias Yucky Lucky
Kiah and I talked about getting a dog for a long time, but it never felt like we were super serious about it. It was a lark, like most of everything in our lives. "Wouldn't it be fun if we had a dog?" You know. We took it slow, with a ~if it happens it happens~ attitude. At random we'd visit our local animal shelter to see if we fell in love with any of the dogs available, even driving out of town some days to look at what other shelters had available. Our criteria was simple: a small(ish) dog aged 1-3 that wasn't yappy. I also had an inclination toward a Schnauzer or a Schnauzer mix because of my years with Snuggles, but I was open to terriers in general. Kiah, who doesn't really even like dogs, wanted a Bloodhound with one eye or some inane thing that doesn't exist. Unfortunately, the average rescue dog in our area was not what we wanted, as people here tend to only breed and buy hearty hunting dogs or teeny tea cups.
In the spring of 2012 we got a stroke of good luck when a friend who worked with a rescue in Minneapolis found out about a little Schnauzery guy whose family felt they should give him to another family who had more dog time. We were preapproved for the adoption and planned to pick him up on the way back from a trip to Ohio. We bought a Detroit Lions leash at a Meijer and were thinking about names when we got a text saying that the owners changed their minds. At that point I pretty much gave up. I knew we weren't going to find what we were looking for short of buying a puppy from the seedy local pet store (reprehensible, really), and I was starting grad school soon and didn't think I'd have the time anyway. The dog dream was dead.
Cut to last spring. It's 4 o'clock on a Friday and Kiah and I are in a TJMaxx parking lot. I don't know who said it, but one of us suggested we go to the shelter to look at the dogs. We only had an hour before they closed, so we sped over as fast as we could. We looked at the big dogs and were either scared or unimpressed, and then looked at the little dogs, who were very noisy and mad, except for one little scraggly guy in the corner who looked like Seymour. He seemed sweet and wasn't super agitated or yappy despite the environment, but neither of us was really sold. We thought he was cute, but didn't like that he was a boy and still had his testicles. We were hesitant. It took a moment to notice it, but when I finally pointed out that he was missing his front left leg Kiah's eyes lit up (he has a soft spot for deformed animals; one of our cats has a cherry eye if you remember).
When Lucky was with his previous owners he broke his leg somehow. We think it might have involved a bicycle because he's pretty agitated by cyclists. Anyway, he broke his leg and instead of taking him to the doctor, they left it alone and it healed and set incorrectly. When they finally decided to give him up to the pound he was no longer using it and the most cost-effective/least invasive option was to amputate it. The day we met him he just had his stitches and IV removed and was mostly healed up. Despite my hesitations, after a good lie involving our landlord (long story; he knows, it's fine, we are adults...) Lucky moved in with us. We had planned to change his name (I like Crab, personally, but would have also liked Shock or Hodain ~ Sorry I'm not sorry) but he was a lucky dude, and we were lucky to find him, and the whole thing just seemed kind of lucky, so we kept it.
The last 8 months haven't been totally easy. Lucky has a lot of trust issues that come out in different ways. He really does not like some of our friends for a private dog reason, and doesn't seem to care for strangers. I am always a little anxious when people want to pet him; he hasn't snapped at anyone (except when they try to kiss him/pick him up) but it doesn't seem totally out of the realm of possibility. It's a shame, really, because he's adorable and people always want to meet him.
Personally, I'm a kisser - I like to kiss dog faces - and it took some time before he'd let me get that close to him without snapping. He snapped at Kiah for trying to kiss him a couple weeks ago. It's a slow process. He is really just now, in the last couple of months, warming up to being snuggly with us, and after a whole season of dog park fun he is finally figuring out how to play and be a dog with other dogs. It's like he is, at the age of 2-ish, finally learning how to be a pet. In spite of my initial reservations (I don't like change honestly), I'm really glad we stumbled into the shelter that day and found him. He wakes me up in the morning with squeaky toys and he makes my husband sing. He was a good decision made on a lark - a running theme in our family.