All I ever want to do is make a difference.
I didn't select Yogi because he is a pit bull. In fact, I've never even considered having a pit bull. Perhaps even I was misled by the pit bull stereotype. I never did like stereotypes...I've made it a point to break them as much as possible, actually.
The universe has an interesting way of making things happen.
I was playing around with the idea of getting a pet for about a month. I looked at shelter websites, adoption flyers posted at Starbucks...I even considered getting a cat; less maintenance and less needy--the thought of my couches being scratched to shreds made me shudder though.
Then some time in January I received notice from a colleague that a friend had a litter of 9 puppies. I told him I was interested. "What mix are they? How much?" I asked.
"Staffordshire Terriers. Free," he replied.
Upon some quick research I became conflicted with the high profile and pressure of owning a notorious "pit bull." Not only did my couches come to mind, my shoes, my roommate, my neighbors, my niece--Oh boy. "Please don't eat Lucie." I sent a prayer out into the Universe.
Then I saw this picture ("the males"):
And then this one:
I didn't have a gender preference, but something told me he was the one. Something about that brown eye patch. And maybe because my friend said he was a mellow one.
"Let's do this." I talked myself into it. No yard, not a lot of space, already a lot on my plate, and a list of concerns. Still, "I got this."
The countdown began and I grew increasingly excited to bring home a new companion. I fell in love the instant he was carried into the kennel in the back of my car, parked in a loading zone at Universal City Walk.
"His eyes should stay green."
"His eyes are green!?"
"WTF am I doing!? This isn't a game! This ain't practice! (Practice?!) This is the real deal. Opening night AND the Finale. I got 80 pounds and 12+ years ahead of me! The show must go on!"
And of course I agreed to pick up another one and sit Assata for a month. Either I'm a fool, or...yeah, I'm a fool.
After four weeks of soaking up pee, wiping up poop, mopping and laundry more than ever before, and over $1,000 later, I've learned several things:
- Get a sturdy, seal-able container for the food and use it immediately.
- Use rubber gloves; Oxy Clean and vinegar is treacherous on the hands.
- Reusable sponge wipes and the Bissell Green Machine are gifts from magic elves.
- People love Staffordshire Terriers but hate "pit bulls."
- Unconditional Love is scrubbing the bathroom floor 2 times a day.
- The kennel is their safe space, and my sanity. No love lost, and no more scrubbing the bathroom floor 2 times a day.
- I fall in love too easily. And I'm ok with that.
- Routine is alright after all.
- "Ain't nobody got time for that" is my new theme.
- "Keep Calm...you got puppies."
- Talk about "Living in the Moment." One moment play, next moment fight, another moment pee, grunt, cuss, tail wag, and love. Repeat and shuffle as necessary.
- Never underestimate the power of Love and a pea-sized treat.
- Fools fall in love because Love is emotional, illogical, and makes no f'ing sense whatsoever. How appropriate to label those who fall 'fools.'
- It's all worth it.
"I got this."
As I sit here typing this, the last few moments with Assata are upon me. Her new papa comes in tomorrow and they will be heading up to Sacramento this weekend. She has one last night with me and a day to show off what a sweet, loving girl she is. Something tells me they somehow know. Something about the way they've been extra good lately. To me, and each other.
I know she'll be in good hands, but I can't help but want to keep her. See her grow up. Watch her antagonize her brother (and me). Witness the miracle of life. Experience her Unconditional Love. Then I think about her princess-diva-like sneakiness. I'm gonna miss her.