As many of you already know, Kevin and I have applied and been approved to adopt Bubba G.: a big, blocky-headed, grinning whirlwind of a boy from Colorado.
We are not forgetting Ray. We are not trying to replace Ray. That would be impossible. What we are doing is actually in honor of Ray. At one time in my life, I looked at my husband and said “no more after these dogs are gone”. And I meant it at the time. For although I loved each of the three who lived with us, the relationships were not personally consuming. That changed the day we brought Ray home. He became part of who I am. He, in some strange sense, helped me to become a better me. And I am mad that I lost that. All I can do is rescue another boy who needs us, to celebrate the life that Ray gave me.
Looking at Ray, it wasn’t easy to see the physical affects of dog-fighting. He wasn’t as torn and tattered as some of the Vicktory Dogs. But his emotional scars ran long and deep. Turtle, on the other hand, seems to have thrown off the emotional abuse of her past, even though her body is strongly scarred. Bubba has had his own trials in life, and seems, like Turtle, to be more damaged physically than mentally.
One of the greatest unexpected benefits of bringing Ray into our lives was the instant family we gained. The Vicktory Family is an amazing group of like-minded people. We celebrate each other’s successes, and we grieve as one when there is a loss. When McKaela the Turtle was rescued from dog-fighting in Ohio, she immediately became part of the family when Oscar’s mom Rachel took up her cause. It was a convoluted road she took coming home to us, but there were VDog families involved at every step.
When Ray died, I knew that I would not do well without a dog. I have a habit of going deep into my own head, and losing track of time. A dog requires walks, feeding, watering. A dog keeps me focused and on track. A dog is willing to listen to my verbal processing. A dog makes it easier for me to talk and relate to strangers. A dog gives me a feeling of being part of something more.
Shortly after Ray passed away I found myself looking at PetFinder again and again, trying to find a dog who would fit. But it was a frustrating process. The bios on PetFinder never address the things that are most important: does he get along with other dogs? How about cats, birds? Is he good with children? Would he be able to accompany me to work? It was maddening to look at a great picture, and not be able to determine if this was a dog who would work for us or not.
I work for a large animal welfare organization with access to literally hundreds of dogs. But Kevin and I decided to reach outside of the sanctuary to find our next kid. The dogs here are safe and cared for. But all over the country small rescues are struggling. They are working hard to keep their heads above water, and to save as many dogs as possible. Working with a group like that means you are not just saving one dog…you are actually saving two. The one you take home and the one who takes his place.
VDog Oscar’s mom Rachel has been volunteering for one of these small rescues: ColoRADogs. Based solely on that, I sent the organization the following email:
Hi…my name is Jacque, and the reason I am contacting you is because my friend Rachel supports you. Until last week I was mom to one of the Vicktory Dogs – Ray. Unfortunately, he passed away after surgery to remove his spleen. He was Babesia+, so he had more than his share of health problems.
It seemed like no time at all that I got a response from Nancy:
We actually have a great boy here named Bubba G we are searching for the perfect home for. He was found in Denver terribly wounded and with his ears completely removed. He spent 2 months at the Denver shelter getting fixed up and we pulled him a week ago.
He is so so sweet, loves being out around town, has done great with large dogs but can be a bit drivey around small ones. He is most likely a no cat boy but is super soft in temperament and so responds really well to correction. he has shown zero tendency to be destructive at all or to go to the bathroom inside the Rad Pad. Rachel hung out with him yesterday so she can give you a great run down. I have zero issue adopting to a BF person who Rachel vouches for.
Rachel was amazingly helpful: taking Bubba on outings and to work at her office. Trying to gauge how he would fit in our chaotic household. But even then, it wasn’t a snap decision. Something like this should never be rushed in to. I stewed about it. I read everything I could find about Bubba. And I talked to Kevin and Rachel. After an emotional reunion with VDog Layla and her mom Tess this past weekend, I knew it was time. With Kevin’s blessing I filled out the application and nervously waited to hear if we were approved.
Monday morning I got this message: “You…are…so..approved!“. I was beside myself…such joy after so much sorrow.
Now, the only things left to figure out are a) how we are going to get him here and b) how best to introduce him to Turtle. In the meantime, I continue to read every thing I can about this boy. I reached out to Calista’s mom, on how best to deal with a dog who has no ears. And I watch his video again and again.
I am looking forward to this next chapter in our lives. To building a working relationship with a goober of a dog who has not let his past abuse color his view of the world. And that is remarkable……