almost missed my connection

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one thing i’ve learned from living with a pack of dogs for the last 18 years is that each and every dog is special in their own way and you establish different levels of connection with each one. i’ve been lucky enough to have deeper than usual connections with several of our dogs. that is not to say i’ve loved them more than others or they were more important to me but for whatever reason our souls seemed to speak to each other (i’m looking at you kody, murray, reilley and owney).

last year a few months after we lost murray i was searching for special needs dogs available for adoption and came across gonzo. he was listed as a 3-legged, 6-month-old cocker spaniel rescued from a puppy mill but in the only picture he looked like a miserable old man…

and i rest my case. one of the things that made murray special to me was that he was basically made to my specifications…he looked like my perfect dog. knowing full well how shallow and selfish this will make me sound i will admit i couldn’t imagine this craggy, downcast dog being the next member of our family.

because murray held such a special place in my heart i was dreading “filling his space.” i was certain there would be some level of disappointment because whoever came in next wouldn’t be…well, murray but time and time again i would search special needs dogs and look at pictures trying to feel some connection or receive some sign.

over time i really just wanted to get the process was making me too sad...and gonzo popped into my head but i couldn’t remember his name and i couldn't find his posting so again he went to the backburner. somehow a few days later i randomly came across him again and, because he just seemed like he needed a break, i decided to email the rescue. for us the adoption process is very hit or miss: i have to very carefully word the email so we don’t look like hoarders or crazy people (ahem) and many times i never get a reply. fortunately that was not the case with gonzo and we made an appointment to meet him the following week. this was the first time we met a dog before bringing him home - look at us, clearly if we meet a dog it’s coming home with us - so this was all a new process. unfortuantely the meeting did not assuage my fears - he was terrified of us - but after talking to his foster it seemed like he would be great with the other dogs so we decided we would bring him home the following week.

this is really an old story – zig (formerly gonzo) has been part of our family for over a year but sometimes i laugh at myself at the way he found his way here. truth be told i really didn’t want him but he honestly seemed to need a break and because i was certain i wasn’t going to have any connection with another dog ever in he came. this is really the long way of telling you that zig has turned into one of my greatest finds. i don't attest to doing many things well but i’ve said it before and i'll say it again damnit: i’m an amazing dog picker outer. the thing zig taught me is that sometimes it’s an innate, subconscious process.

because of his puppy mill status he definitely has some issues. he’s absolutely terrified of anything beyond our gates or of anyone that isn’t dave or i coming through our gate. when we have people over, even if he’s met them many times, he turns into a quivering shell of a dog who stays at the furthest point of the house from the guests as he can. but when it’s just us he is an enormous presence in a tiny package. he is full of personality and character…so much so that i can’t figure out where he puts it all when he puts it away. he loves everyone here but most especially speck and odin…and thankfully me. he's eccentric and wonderful and yet an annoying little bugger...dave dubbed him "the poison dwarf" which sadly fits him to a t. i absolutely adore him. he’s such a character that we often forget about his idiosyncracies until we make a new noise and he runs for the hills, or someone stops over and the zig as we know him disappears, or i take him somewhere and he goes somewhere deep inside himself. i wish he was more comfortable and not terrified of everything and i wish the world could experience him and his joy but i’m also exceedingly grateful for whatever (fate, happenstance, luck) brought this creature to me and that in this house with this family he is comfortable and deservingly adored. here’s a tiny bit of the little monkey in action…

(and just a tiny bit of the jewel barking dave referred to on facebook).

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