In January of this year, the bf and I took the HUGE step of adopting a pooch of our very own. We found our little Lexi online as her family were splitting up so she needed a new home. The instant he saw a photo, the bf knew she was the one; he kept coming back to her profile over and over again until he finally took the step of making contact with her family.
As soon as we met her, I was also convinced; she was shy, her tail didn’t wag but she still climbed straight onto our laps for cuddles and had the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen. Her eyes were and still are full of hope, trust and optimism; she really couldn’t have sold herself to us any better than she did. So we said we’d give her a new home and we haven’t looked back since.
When our baby girl first arrived home, she was understandably nervous, very clingy and couldn’t relax enough to fall asleep for any decent period of time. When we took her for walks, she’d stick to us like glue, unsure of what to do as if we might punish her. When we let her into the garden for toilet time she’d tremble like mad and refuse to go out there unless we both went out with her and proved that we weren’t going to lock her outside. It was difficult to watch and all we could do was give her love and time and hope that she’d settle in, luckily she did that just fine :-)
Then she attacked a dog.
We thought it was a one-off and she’d been provoked. Then she did it again and then attempted it many more times; no real damage to the dogs but enough aggression to know she couldn’t be trusted with other dogs. It petrified me and I freaked out, I thought we’d made a mistake and that we couldn’t possibly handle looking after a dog like that. But we had to, we’d promised her we’d look after her and that meant we bloody well would. The bf, being much stronger and more mature than me just told me to stop being so dramatic and that we’d deal with it one way or another and we have.
These days, we walk Lexi on the lead – always. We don’t let her get near other dogs unless she has her muzzle on and we’re good at spotting which dogs are riling her up before she has a chance to get fully into that frame of mind. It’s not a perfect solution and we want to get beyond this, to the point where she ignores other dogs but it’s a good start and it means we can take her out in public with safety. It’s the opposite of what I wanted though, I wanted to have that dog that I could trust to trot along by my side with no problems at all. I wanted that perfection that the media shows you dog ownership should be but I was being stupid.
As I sit here writing this, Lexi is curled up with her head on my lap, snoozing soundly because she knows she’s safe and that I’ve got her back so she doesn’t need to stay alert. Every time I look at her face I smile and I feel a warm swell of pride at my core, because this loving beauty is ours and we’ve given her a home that’s allowed her to relax with us and do crazy things like go in the garden on her own. In return, she makes us laugh and smile every single day; even when we were on holiday without her, we spoke about her and her crazy facial expressions constantly and that made us giggle like children. When I was ill, she was my nurse laying by my side almost constantly for 3 solid days so I didn’t feel alone. Every time one of us comes into the house or down the stairs, she greets us with utter joy and excitement that makes us feel incredibly loved and wanted. She gives us everything and in return all she asks for is cuddles, (lots of cuddles) some food and some walks. What an absolute babe!
So, what have I learned from having Lexi? I’ve learned loads; I’ve learned that happiness really doesn’t cost the earth, I’ve learned that real achievements are about the relationships you build, not the things you buy. My ideas of what perfection would be are not always right, sometimes you find that what you were looking for is not what you really wanted. Compromise isn’t always a bad thing; my dog doesn’t trot by my side with no problems but she is more cuddly than any other dog I’ve met and she’s never once woken me in the night. That’s not bad as trade offs go! Biggest of all though, I’ve learned that I do have that “maternal” instinct that enables me to consider the needs of others above my own and love unconditionally. There’s not a thing that Lexi could do that would stop me loving her, she’s incredible and genuinely has a heart of gold.
Having Lexi has been a real awakening; she’s shaken up my life and I can’t thank her enough for it. Here’s to all the gorgeous souls in this world helping people like me every day! x