*Note: This post has been in the works for ages, and I’ve been slow to get it posted, but my little dude deserves his due. He’s currently curled up next to me, snoozing the day away… spoiled little bastard that he is.
Since the day I moved home from college and into my own apartment, there has been nothing I’ve wanted more than a dog. My own little canine companion, one that would wag his or her tail at me enthusiastically when I get home from work, cheer me up when I was feeling down, and basically be my furry friend. Apartment after apartment, however, pets were not allowed. My family constantly advised me against adopting an animal (mainly because for quite some time, I was rarely ever home), and for a while, the outlook on getting a dog was grim. Upon moving back out of my parents’ place last September, I refocused on adopting a canine companion.
My landlord at the time was dead-set against the idea at first; she had plans to eventually sell the house I was living in, and didn’t want it to smell like dog. The tenant in the upstairs apartment had a dog, so I figured there was hope. After working through the holiday season and stalking petfinder.com and delcospca.org like it was my job, I found a listing for a little guy named Elmer. He was different than the larger bully breeds I had been looking at (I had fallen in love with a deaf American Bulldog the SPCA had listed, but they required he go to a home with a fenced in yard, which I did not have). Weighing in at only 9 lbs, this little guy was listed on the website as a poodle/terrier mix. He had been found as a stray, and came into the shelter in pretty bad shape. He was so horribly matted they had to shave him bare, and he had infections in his ears and eyes.
I immediately called my mom, after shooting her an email with the link to his Petfinder page. She agreed that he might be a good choice… if only I could get permission from my landlord. Early the next morning, I called her up, and laid the situation out for her. He was a tiny little guy that wouldn’t shed (poodles don’t shed) and his online listing said it seemed as though he was housebroken. After some persuasion and hemming and hawing, she agreed to let me have him. One of my favorite people in the world had arrived at my house by this time, watching me make frantic and excited calls to the shelter. As it turned out, the shelter was frantic to find either a foster or permanent home for little Elmer, and I needed to get in there ASAP if I wanted to make him mine.
We piled in the car, and took off to the SPCA. After filling out some paperwork and getting instructions, he was mine!! I had a dog. An old, scared, fully shaved tiny little dude.
I decided before even getting to the SPCA that I was going to be renaming this adorable little creature. Elmer didn’t suit him, but I was at a loss. I called him Little Dude for roughly his first 8 hours with me. After much deliberation, I settled on Dexter – yes, I’m an obnoxious fan girl. I’ve read the books and watch the series, but Dexter just fits. As his fur grew in, I learned Dex is a Maltipoo – a Maltese/Poodle mix. He is the sweetest, most loving pup I ever could have chosen. He’s now happy and mostly healthy (he has occasional seizures that scare the everloving shit out of me), and is just an absolute joy.
Since adopting my little old man, I’ve become a better person. I really, truly believe being a dog owner initiates you into some sort of secret club. Adopting Dex has made me more selfless, and has taught me what it’s like to have to care for someone other than just myself. Owning a dog makes you friendlier when you’re out in public – you stop and say hello to other dog owners while you’re out. You meet people at the dog park (or in the case of my most recent vacation, the dog beach). You find yourself wanting to volunteer or donate to help other animals, because it’s simply not possible to adopt them all. Dex has made me more patient, as caring for a Senior dog takes more care and attention sometimes. He has shown me what absolute, unconditional love is… I’m talking the kind that I’m not even sure humans are capable of feeling.
He’s a strange little guy, this one. In the old apartment, he used to drag his bed around the house for the sole purpose of humping it. He chews his feet and licks the air – both habits are inexplicable, according to the vet. He zips around the house like crazy, right before promptly passing out in my lap. He hates having his feet played with, even though he spends most of his days messing with them himself. He’s got these funny little duck-feet, which have earned him the nickname Scuba Steve from my friends. I really can’t say too much more about this little guy and what he’s done for me – so I’ll leave you with some pictures you can go “AWWWWWWW” over.