Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Why I haven't given away my dog

Believe it or not, I am not a dog person. Or...wasn't a dog person.

I was insanely terrified of dogs up until the age of 10. I recall running and literally climbing a tree to get away from Tracey, the wiener dog with wheels who lived down the street.

Yes. The dog had wheels.

Seems kind of cruel now, but as a kid, it was terrifying.

I had to search "weiner dog with wheels" in order to give you guys a visual. This is exactly my mental image of Tracey. Except she was barking and wheeling her way in my direction. Like a small possessed cheetah. And I had to make a dead sprint for that tree or my leg would be bitten off.

I was in the 6th grade when we got Zoe, and by that time I was a little more comfortable around dogs. It helped that she was the most gentle, intelligent, well behaved dog on the planet.

Still though, she was our family dog. Not really MY dog.

We also had a cat named Penelope. I used to love that cat but she bit me once and I decided I didn't like her any more. I couldn't find a picture of her and I don't really care, because I don't like her that much. Sorry mom.

It really confused the crud out of Trent. "But it's your cat. How can you just decide to not like her?" Well I did.

Fast forward a lot of years to Spring 2012. I was temporarily living with my sister-in-law and her hubs before Trent and I got married.

That's when I lived with Hudson. The beagle.

Beagle stands for "worst dog in the entire universe". He once ate a whole frozen pizza after pulling it off the counter.

I always wondered why they kept that terrible dog. After living with him, I started to see some redeeming qualities. Mainly that he was snuggly and looked cute when he begged.

Still though, I had my reservations towards ornery dogs.

After Trent and I got engaged, he started pushing for a dog of our own.

Trent is a dog person. Like the dog is a part of the family kind of dog person. Like "we have a voice for our dog and we talk for him all the time like he's a real human" dog person.

One day we came across an ad online for "miniature pinscher / Shih Tzu mix puppies" at a local rescue shelter. We went to check them out, but didn't plan on making a serious commitment.

I fell in love with this tiny little puppy. How could such a small little thing be any work at all?

Before we officially adopted her, Trent and I had a serious conversation in the car. It went something like this.


Trent: We can't just make a decision because she is cute. Are you ready to make a commitment to adopting her for 10 or 12 or 15 years or however long she lives?


Trent: If we adopt her, you have to promise me that you won't choose to dislike her like you did your cat.

Me: .....Ok I promise.

Trent continued on about staying financially intelligent and learning to accept the responsibilities of a pet and not getting frustrated when she does something bad and blah blah blah blah. But I was all like "Let's buy her a tiny jacket!!"

And just like that Gracie Belle Raines was adopted into the family.

Little did we know, Gracie is actually a Minnie Jack (read about that discovery here). And she just so happens to be a TERRIBLE dog.

Congrats Gracie, you trumped Hudson, the beagle who ate through dry wall.

So here we are. With possibly the most energetic, destructive dog that ever existed. And I promised to never get rid of her.

As much as I love to highlight her poor decisions, she really does have some redeeming qualities that we occasionally see a glimpse of. Like a shooting star. It's there for a brief second, and then it's gone. And you will probably never, ever see it again.

But she has a personality. A BIG personality for such a tiny dog. Just a few of the things I love about Gracie Belle Raines:

(1) SHE LOVES TO PLAY -Even though her squeaky toys annoy the living crud out of me, it's cute that she plays with toys 90% of her day. No exaggeration. 90%.

(2) SHE STANDS HER GROUND -We were in Petsmart yesterday and she went up on her hind legs and barked at a gigantic pittbull. "No! You are a 10th of that dog's size you crazy!" This dog ain't afraid of NOBODY.

(3) SHE LOVES US -Every day I get home from work and she is ECSTATIC to see me. Like I have been gone for a year. She will not do ANYTHING until she has successfully been given an uninterrupted 20 seconds of 1 on 1 attention.

(4) SHE IS PROTECTIVE -It drives Trent NUTS when Gracie barks at something she hears, but I really don't mind. There is no way in heck she would allow a stranger to come in without causing some ear drum piercing damage while I'm sleeping in bed.

(5) SHE IS SMART -She pulled a frozen rotisserie chicken out of a 3 foot tall trashcan. Don't ask me how. In that hyper brain of hers lies a curious, intelligent mess.

(6) SHE LOVES TO PLAY FETCH -Hours and hours of fetch. If you sit on that couch, you better believe you have committed to a never ending game of throw the ball and I bring it back but don't always let you have it, unless I drop it, and I try to bite it out of your hand before you throw it.

(6) SHE IS A SNUGGLER -It is a rare moment that Gracie isn't playing with toys or running in circles. When she is 100% worn out and tired, she is adorable. Give it 2 years and maybe she will retire from her toy destruction career and focus on relaxing.

(7) SHE IS PHOTOGENIC -You wonder how I get her in the background of all of her ornery photos? I say "Sit". Then "Gracie!" all excited like. Boom. A 10 second window to take a photo while she stares directly at the camera. Those big ears don't ever bend down.

So there you have it. Gracie is not all bad.

She's actually semi-pleasant sometimes. And I would definitely bawl like a baby if something ever happened to her.

You are so lucky I made that promise, Gracie. Otherwise, I don't know where you would be right now.

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