Dogs and Nomads

It was a big day for Tisen.  We drove to Atlanta last night and stayed in a La Quinta (did you know they allowed dogs for free?).  Pat hung out with Tisen until my work meetings were over and I could take the rest of my meetings from the car while he drove us back home.

Tisen did not seem like he felt well from about an hour into the drive to Atlanta until we returned home today.  He was clearly nervous about traveling.

After returning home, we took Tisen with us to McKamey Animal Center to officially adopt him.  Nearly every staff member on duty came to see Tisen and to thank us for adopting him.  I’m not sure why they were thanking us–we are so grateful to them for saving him.

I have spent much of the evening with eyes brimming with tears, overwhelmed with gratitude.  Gratitude for the people who saved Tisen.  Gratitude for Tisen himself.  Gratitude that my sister-in-law fosters cats (which gave me the ides to foster dogs).  Gratitude that Anna introduced us to Tisen.  Gratitude that Tisen picked us as much as we picked him.

While we are at the shelter, Tisen flirts with a boxer/bulldog mix named Rosie through a glass door.  She has the opposite eye patch from him and they seem like they were made for each other.  She is so ridiculously cute, we are suddenly tempted to bring home a friend for Tisen.  But, when we do the “meet and greet” to see how they get along, Tisen will not allow Rosie to get any affection from any human in the room.  When someone starts to pet her, he dives between human and Rosie, making growly noises.  We decide Tisen wants to be an only dog, which is probably for the best.

After another stop at PetsMart for a couple of items we forgot last trip (which results in the purchase of yet another squeaky toy), we return home.  I cuddle Tisen on the couch.  He lays across my lap and sighs like life just doesn’t get any better.  As I sit here petting him, I think he might be right.

But, I am trying to write my blog.  Tisen seems to want to be between me and my laptop.  I tease him that he is both helping me write my blog by providing a subject and preventing me from writing my blog by physically interfering.  He doesn’t seem to get the joke, but he sighs again and readjusts, hoping for a belly rub.

As I contemplate the long-term commitment we have just made, I realize I might have to change my domain name.  We came to Chattanooga thinking we would live here 6-12 months and then move on to a new area.  Instead, we have extended our lease on our apartment, committed to lease a manufacturing space for 3 years, and taken in a dog.  So much for being nomads!



The End of Foster Care

We’ve decided.  Tisen stays.

We took him hang gliding on Saturday.  Tisen ran over and start licking my face in the middle of a hang check and then follow my glider all the way down the big hill and back up again.  When I told the instructor he was a foster dog, she said, “That’s your dog.  He has claimed you.”  She’s right.  He is my dog.

It’s funny how this happens.  I wonder how a dog decides you are theirs?  And you cannot resist.  You find yourself committed until death do you part.  Except you’re committed to a well-behaved 3 year old with fur who will never be able to use the toilet.

Upon deciding that Tisen must stay, we immediately went to PetsMart to celebrate.  Since we are working on crate training, we, of course, needed a cozy matt to put in the crate, special chews to keep him busy while we’re gone, and a new squeaky toy since I’ve discovered he’ll do about anything for a squeaky toy.  He picks a bear for his squeaky toy, but then is so enamored with a ridiculous long, red dog that I cannot resist getting it for him, too.  It’s a good thing I don’t have children.

When we get home, he picks up the red dog and carries it in from the car, trotting along with his head held high like he’s won some sort of award.  The joy I experience watching him is well worth the extra $8.  When he gets to the living room, he plops his new toy in the middle of the floor and then pulls his stuffed squirrel out of the crate, laying them out on the floor side-by-side.  It’s hard to know what goes through a dog’s mind sometimes, but I have to wonder if he really just wanted squirrel to have a friend.

I pick up the dog and give it a squeeze.  Tisen starts poking at the dog with his nose trying to make it squeak.  Pat joins in and starts squeezing, too.  I grab my iPhone and try to get a shot (not having time to change lenses on my camera).  Tisen gets irritated with the flash, picks up red dog, and hides out in his crate.  I take this as a sign that crate training is going well.

Tisen’s obsession with squeaky toys reminds me of a story my mom used to tell about me.  When I was about 2, I was given a doll who would cry if you squeezed her.  Except, I wasn’t strong enough to get her to cry.  But, I figured out my own method.  I horrified a nice lady at the bank one day when she complimented me on my cute baby and I responded by throwing it on the floor and stomping on it.  My mother smiled weakly and said, “It’s the only way she can get it to cry.”  It’s really a good thing I don’t have children.