How I met my dog

A few friends have been hounding me to share our story, and I figure today’s a good day for that.

I mentioned last time that a lot of intersecting stories brought me and Feebee together. But it wasn’t just stories. Picture a Venn Diagram with my various goals and struggles. From wanting to hike more, to finding a Netflix-and-no-really-just-Netflix friend, to pandemic loneliness, to remembering to exercise daily… the list goes on.

The possible solutions for all of these disparate goals and needs were all over the map, but somehow they kept converging on one solution: Get a Dog. I had to overcome many steps to get there.

Scared of Dogs

I’d never had a dog, and I didn’t think I wanted one. I didn’t know a lot of dogs growing up. Most were scary obstacles on the way to school or along my newspaper route. And when I did meet them up close, in addition to asthma and itchy eyes, dogs gave me an impression of neediness, violence, bad smells, fear, destruction, and a whole lot of poop and hair.

But I thought of my friends’ old dog. Ozzy the huskie mix had triggered my allergies, so I couldn’t even touch him without having to immediately go wash my hands. But he was so aware. It’s like he could see right into me. I could easily recognize what a cool being he was. The people I knew who loved dogs were cool beings, too. And my son kept urging me to just try.

Tolerating Dogs

I wasn’t so sure getting a dog was a good idea for me. But at the very least, I could work on allergy shots. That took several months, and let me tell you, they were SWELL. But I’m glad I did it. My serums helped me get over dozens of allergens, and with that alone, my quality of life has improved vastly.

Still, the jump from “hopefully not being allergic” to “getting a dog” was vast. I didn’t want to bring a dog home only to find out the allergy shots didn’t work well enough. More than that, I was worried about being the type of person who adopts a dog only to find out I’m bad at being a dog mom.

Liking Dogs

So a friend offered to share a dog-sitting gig, just to see how I would handle the work. Little did I know I would fall head over heels for a sweet pittie mix. But that good boy has a family.

I learned that not every dog was suited to me. No offense to his sister, but she was standoffish and she too pulled too hard on the leash. She was not the best fit for my personality. So I learned that I could handle dogs, but that if I got one, I wanted one with medium energy, who enjoyed cuddling as much as they enjoyed independence.

I also knew that some dogs would bother any leftover allergies more than others. How could I get to know a dog before keeping that dog in my home? A shelter in Southern Utah had a perfect solution for this: if I rented a cabin from them, I could borrow a dog for a few days, too. So I scheduled myself a little vacation at Best Friends in Kanab.

Meeting Feebee

Now we’ll have to back up a bit.

In 2020, a nomadic colleague of mine had been fostering dogs in Fredonia, Arizona. His first four fosters were adopted quickly. Then he met Feebee, a smart, curious, cuddly, but very reactive dog. Several weeks went by without any luck. At the end of his Arizona stay, he had to take her back to the shelter.

And then we met. He’d previously checked his travel map for any colleagues he could meet on the way to his next destination. We’re both veggie eaters, so would I join him for lunch? Absolutely! He was only here briefly, but he’s the kind of person that collects friends and takes care to keep in touch, so we’ve been friends ever since then.

He’s also kept in touch with Feebee in a way: he checked her adoption page frequently to see if she’d been chosen yet. She was such a good girl. So loveable. Difficult, but she really just needed the right person to give her a chance. But week after week, month after month, she still hadn’t found her human. Thankfully she was at a no-kill shelter—Best Friends in Kanab—but she was getting older. Would a reactive girl like her have to live the rest of her life surrounded by other scared dogs?

Now fast forward again to this past June and my little vacation to Best Friends. My friend had asked if I’d consider meeting this sweet girl Feebee. Clearly, I did consider it! I had a list of other interesting dogs to meet, too, just to get a feel for what I was looking for. But between her story, her pacing on hikes, her cuddles, and her delightful idiosyncrasie (can YOUR dog give you Spock eyebrows while watching Star Trek with you?) I fell hard for her.

I couldn’t take Feebee home yet. For starters, I still needed to finish my shots buildup. Allergy shots are worth it, but they’re hard on me. I didn’t know whether I could be a good enough dog mom when I’m completely drained for 36 hours each week.

I also felt like she deserved better than me and my no-yard condo in a noisy city. But even though I didn’t feel like her ideal match, I knew she was the dog for me, if ever a dog was. And I spent the rest of my summer trying to figure out how to get into a home with a fenced yard again so I could go get her.

I was still living in my condo when my friend pointed out that her profile had gone offline. Had she just been adopted, I think I would’ve been happy for her. But given her age, a part of me wondered if something else had happened. What if she had passed on? Regardless of whether me and my little condo were enough, wouldn’t living here with me in this less-than-perfect space be better than dying in the shelter?

A few days later, her profile was back. And this time I jumped on it.

Today Feebee turned 10. She’s not in a perfect home. I still don’t have a backyard for her. But I can say we are very, very good for each other. Happy birthday to my sweet girl, and here’s to the years we have left.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s