Saturday, September 12, 2009
Everything I need to know, I learned from Cheyenne
I first met her in June 2001. As soon as I saw her, I knew that she was perfect. She had big honey brown eyes and blond hair. She was the perfect height and the perfect weight. She had what looked like a smile on her face. When I talked to her, she tilted her head and I knew that she was actually listening to what I had to say. Something that I felt like no one else was doing at the time. I knew that it was love at first sight. I kept on going back to visit her every other weekend until it was the right time to bring her home with me. In August, I filled out the necessary paperwork and wrote out a check for the best spent $95 I have, and will ever, spend in my life. I was going to bring her home in October, but I wanted to make sure no one else fell in love with her before I could bring her home so I paid for her far in advance.
On September 12, 2001, I decided to bring Cheyenne home. After what happened on September 11th, I felt the need to bring my four-legged furry friend home ASAP. I called the foster family and told them that I wanted to pick her up that afternoon. The only problem was that I would have to drive on the highway. It is now 2009 and I am still a nervous wreck getting on the highway. Imagine what I was like 8 years ago! So, I got in my car and brought her leash and her special doggie seatbelt and got on the highway. When I got to the family's house, she was in the backyard running around like a lunatic. I put her in the car and attempted to get the seatbelt on her, but it was too big. So now I had to drive with her on the highway bouncing around the car like a jumping bean. Not so good on the nerves of someone who can't drive on the highway! I actually got lost when I was trying to find my way home again. I had to stop at a gas station and get directions. It was lovely when, everytime I would try to get back in the car, she would attempt to break loose from the car. When we finally got home, I gave her a bath in my dad's garden tub. I quickly found out that Cheyenne was not a fan of water or baths. She was covered in Georgia red clay and turned into a muddy mess when I got her in the tub. The really fun part was when she took a leap out of the tub and she started to run through the house leaving giant footprints everywhere. It was a great first nite!
My dad always came home on the weekends and I specifically asked him to call me when he got close to the house. He is always big on the element of suprise and, boy, did he get a suprise when he opened the front door and Cheyenne came barrelling at him full speed ahead barking and growling. I had a whole lot of explaining to do. The worst part was having to tell my mother. She had a few comments for me and didn't really speak to me for a few days. So, I did what any person would do and laid on the Catholic guilt. In the mail, I sent my mom a picture of Cheyenne and a story about dogs in rescue groups. This particular article was written by a woman who runs a rescue group and goes to the kennel the day the non-adopted animals are put to sleep. She selects the ones who she thinks will be adopted quickly and is forced to leave with a heavy heart. I explained to my mom that I was simply making room for another dog who needed to be rescued. Needless to say, she and Cheyenne are the best of buds now. She will always be my parent's first granddaughter (sorry, Christina!).
Most importantly, I felt like Cheyenne and I had a whole lot in common. The rescue group had her for about 3 years before I adopted her. She had been adopted by several families but was always returned. I had been in several relationships, but was always "returned", too. I felt like no one was ever listening to me and that I was not needed. I have a feeling that Cheyenne felt the same way as well. Before Cheyenne was rescued, she had been beaten and used as a bait dog in pit bull fights. She has the scars to prove it. My emotions and my heart had been scarred from what I had to deal with during that time in my life, so that was just one more thing we had in common. Cheyenne trusted me even though she had been disappointed by humans repeatedly. She taught me how to trust again. She had faith in me that I would walk her, feed her, give her water, etc. Many times, when people find out that she is a rescue dog, they say that I probably saved her life. On the contrary, she saved mine. She gave me a reason to get up in the morning, she returned the love that I gave her, she never ever turned her back on me, and she was there whenever I needed her. She got me through the most difficult time in my life. Well, Cheyenne and my family did (which I know was very difficult for them to do). I know it sounds ridiculous that a dog could do that, but she did and that is why I treasure her so much. She has been my pillow, my teddy bear, my tissue (fur absorbs tears very well), my nurse, but most importantly, my loyal friend for 8 years. Today is her birthday and I plan on spoiling her rotten with bones, treats, and doggie ice cream. I figure it is the least I can do for saving my life!
I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner
My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown
You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us. ~Robert Louis Stevenson