6 months ago I willingly brought The Madness into my family.
I promised The Man that I wouldn’t adopt another animal while he was deployed.
Clearly I can’t be trusted.
Does it count that I had good intentions??
Just a month earlier, I said good-bye to the best battle buddy a girl could ever hope to have. He was a true and loyal friend. My heart still hurts when I think of him.
He was perfect. Okay, as perfect as any puppy can be.
We found him at the local SPCA. He was a black ball of fur at 10 weeks old. We named him after The Grim in the 3rd Harry Potter book.
The Man loved this dog. He took him in his truck all over the place. He let him sleep on the bed (I am a no-furniture pet owner). He ran with him. Grim barked whenever anyone was within 5 feet of the house.
We worked well together as a family, after dog obedience class of course. None of this is possible unless you spend the time necessary to train a dog. In other words, no dog is born perfect.
So, it was not an easy decision to let Grim cross to the Rainbow Bridge on my time. Truth be told, it was the hardest thing I have ever done for many reasons. One of them was that The Man was deployed and wouldn’t get to say good-bye in person.
But Grim’s time had come.
I had already decided that I wasn’t going to be without a big dog in my house for long. I sleep better. Don’t get me wrong, we love the Diva, but a scary dog she is not.
I had thought I could adopt a retired military working dog someday, but after saying good-bye to 2 senior dogs in 1 year I decided that I am not that strong. Plus, The Man was a little more concerned about the littles and safety.
The Friday after I said good-bye to Grim I filled out an application for a German Shepherd rescue. The website informed me that the process could take a while so I felt comfortable. I wasn’t in a big hurry.
Remember, I promised The Man I wouldn’t bring a 2nd new dog into the house before he re-deployed.
About a month later, while The Man was home on R&R, I received an email asking for a home visit from the rescue organization. Sure, no problem. We straightened up and put on our best faces.
I honestly didn’t expect to hear from the rescue organization again for a while, but I received another email shortly thereafter informing me that they had a couple of dogs ready for adoption and could we meet on the upcoming Saturday at 1 pm.
Well, that settles it, we are not destined to adopt right now, I thought, because that is the day The Man heads back to Afghanistan and there is no way we have time. I emailed the woman back that it wouldn’t work because of the time and the situation.
She emailed me again telling me she could arrange an earlier meet and greet.
I didn’t mention it for a day or 2 and when I did I asked The Man what he thought. He said sure, let’s go look.
Have you ever just “looked” or “met” a dog and NOT wanted to take it home? Remember what happened when we MET the Diva?
Needless to say, we met Max (formerly Winston, yeah NOT a fan of that name) and decided he would be perfect. He was under 2, very energetic, and was a bit rough around the edges, but I felt up to the challenge.
The Man agreed. We paid our fee and decided we would pick him up the next day.
Fast forward a couple of months and The Man has re-deployed home. Prior to his return he had been “meeting” Max over FaceTime and decided that Max wasn’t anywhere near his standard, behavior-wise. My stress level started to ratchet up even before he got off the plane.
It has been a rough go since he has been home. Max is a 70 lb. puppy. Everytime you put your hand down he thinks it is fair game to mouth it. He slaps you with a paw and it is no joke. The Man is not enamored.
In all fairness, reintegration is HARD. Not only do we all have to figure out how to live with each other again, The Man entered a home with 2 new dogs and didn’t get a chance to say good-bye to his best friend. Emotions were running high.
I worked really hard with Max for about 2 months to train him to walk reasonably on a leash, come when called, etc. He is incredibly smart and a fast learner, but he is a puppy. Everyone once in a while he loses his mind (like the time in Maryland when he ran off after a rabbit or when he chased deer for that matter). There is no “relax” button on Max. He can walk for 5 miles, seem exhausted, but come home and chase a ball.
He harasses the other dogs in the house when he wants to play, hence The Madness moniker.
Max has been a battle ground for sure. I seriously considered giving him up because the ugliness wasn’t worth it to me. We have finally seemed to find a balance and peace since my surgery.
The Man and The Madness have bonded over daily walks. It’s not a perfect relationship, but it is coming along and that is all I can hope for at this point.