Growing up, I never grew up with any pets. Probably explains a lot I’m sure, but nope. The closest I ever had gotten to that was at the ripe old age of three, maybe four. Beethoven was one of my favorite movies at the time. Who didn’t love that HUGE Saint Bernard and all of his lovins’ he had to offer??!! My grandparents surprised me with a black lab puppy from the neighbors down the road from them. I lived in an apartment back then in town, looking back I think it’s more or less Mom didn’t want an indoor dog and so Beethoven became the sweetest farm dog you ever saw. I remember driving him around in my tricycle, him jumping in the pond; we were the best of friends. One day, playing fetch I grabbed the toy too soon and he got my finger. It broke skin, scared the bejesus out of me, and that was that. It didn’t make it any better having a hover mother for a mom. No one explained to my recollection that it was an accident and off I went. He was more of my grandfathers pup anyways considering he spent most of his time around him. What did I know? I couldn’t have been more than four at the time.
Flash forward a few years…. Fish were a welcome pet in both of my parents homes. I LOVED going to Walmart to pick them out. I always picked too many and I always wanted them all. One day, I probably had 7 goldfish in a tank (they all had names), and we were making the typical trip from Georgetown to Brandenburg, from dad’s to moms. Before choir practice that night, I put the special drops in the water (to purify it unaware I was to take them out first). I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I know I didn’t do it correctly (apparently). I couldn’t have been more than seven or eight at the time and after leaving the room to change clothes, I came back to find a few of them floating at the top of the tank. God it was awful. In a blubbering mess we saved a few but I didn’t want anymore fish after that. I had come to think that maybe my parents were right and I wasn’t cut out for it.
Flash forward the rest of my life and here I am… I went the rest of my days between them and now pet-less (minus a beta fish named Louie a few years back). Between my past experiences and the fact that neither parent was a fan of having indoor pets I wasn’t trying it out for myself. I always loved to rip, roar and run. I never understood why folks would get a small being they constantly have to take care of/it simply wasn’t something I was accustom to. The older I got the more I began reconsidering but I just couldn’t get myself to commit. If there was anything I knew/still know about myself it was that I WASN’T going to be that person that got a cute, cuddly furbaby and not be prepared/have to re-home not too long after. Timing has never been my forte, but I certainly wasn’t going to embark on this journey prior to being ready or at the very least be home more. I had always been a people person and while I loved animals, it wasn’t something I saw for myself.
After dating my boyfriend for a number of years, we had come to dance around the subject of adopting. He grew up with a mixture of dogs and cats. Never had a stray around that wasn’t fed. After volunteering at a few events with Lexington Humane Society, I KNEW going to a breeder was absolutely out of the question. I started quietly looking online at their website, not saying anything to him on it. When we found our Giulia she had been listed at LHS for at/almost over a month. After calling to confirm she was still there, once he came home from work we went. She had been saved from a kill shelter across the state and a parvo survivor. She had been passed up by many on the first contact list, as shepherd mixes are in high demand. During our meet and greet, she had been so excited to play with this squeaky yellow ball and was incredibly loving and sweet. It was love at first sight and we had to take her home with us.
Those first few weeks, I started questioning what i had actually been missing out on my whole life. We were so thankful to have her but it felt almost as though she felt the same. That’s the thing about rescuing a furbaby. I quickly came to realize while I might have been a people person my whole life, it took a pup to teach me a thing or two about love.
You see whether we like it or not, people almost always love with a condition. It’s not like that with animals. They may be a part of your world but to them, especially those who are rescued, you are their world. No matter how your days been, no matter what happened, they are always happy to see you when you walk through the door. While we’d like to think that’s how it is with our loved ones and such, sometimes we’re clouded and even foggy with the stresses of life and it’s never that way for your pup. Giulia has taught me an incredible lesson about a human beings capacity to love and to care for another. It has taught me we have so much more to give than what we do and that affection, compassion, love and attention are all free gifts that we often overlook time and time again giving out to scarcely when we really haven’t even began to open our minds and hearts. When it came to toys, squeakers have come to be her favorite, but the material toys are nothing compared to a good ear or belly rub or just laying in our laps for a nap. She specifically taught me I have more to give than I thought and I plan on doing just that.
Volunteering at the humane society makes me want to bring home all of the furbabies. My boyfriend was recently away for work and I spotted a 9 week old shepherd mix that looks like it could have been Giulia’s sister. I had decided to sleep on it a night to think it over. The day I decided to go up there she had been adopted just a bit before. Walking by the kittens on my way out, I made eye contact with one of them. He meowed and upon holding him I knew he had to be ours.
Winston has been quite the little kitten.
And to think it all started out with four paws and a squeaker.