I think it is time that I gave some credit where credit is due. Albeit, a little tardy, but still present nonetheless. I would like to give a shoutout to my dog. His full name is in the title, we just call him Foster. He’s my first dog and truthfully, I’m not sure how any dog that follows is going to live up to him.
When Brad and I moved in together we talked about progression. If I could keep a plant alive for 6 months, we could move onto a cat. If the cat lived for six months, then a dog. And finally, if the dog lived for a year, maybe we could consider having a baby. We decided on a bamboo and closing in on the 6 month deadline, we started visiting PetSmarts on weekends to see if they had a declawed cat up for adoption. After the first visit, I returned home feeling like I was catching a cold. Following the second visit I broke out in hives. We looked at some alternatives, rats (I was desperate, people!), rabbits, and guinea pigs (revisiting my youth) to no avail. We were living in an apartment and Brad was traveling Monday-Thursday every week and I had never had a dog before, and didn’t have much of a clue of how to discipline one, so we shelved the idea and kept the bamboo.
I grew up in a household with allergic and lazy parents when it came to animals. One year for Christmas all I asked for was a dog. Instead I got a book on dogs. I was also mildly terrified of them until I was in college and Brad and I would go walk dogs at the local Humane Society and even then, I didn’t love every dog, so I felt a little anxious about having a dog to care for on my own with Brad on the road as much as he was.
Two and a half years after we were married and after we had a house with a fenced in backyard and before the baby bug really set in, we decided that we wanted a dog. I had switched jobs, had more flexibility, Brad was getting tired of his constant comings and goings and was looking for a new job, so we started the hunt. We agreed on terriers and compromised on Schnauzers (Brad) and Yorkies (me) with Westies. We found a reputable breeder who was located in the same small town in North Carolina where my father was working, so we took a road trip to find a dog.
The first one was crazy. The second one was wild. The third was on perfect. A ten week old puppy with a calm disposition who didn’t mind being held and was so relaxed with us that he fell asleep on my lap. We were sold! That night after spending the first ten weeks of his life with his littermates and momma, he whined for five minutes, then fell asleep.
Almost five years later, Foster is still a wonderful dog. He doesn’t really act like a dog. When other dogs are barking and pull and tugging on their leashes, Foster just looks at them as if to say, “What?” He lays in the sun and moves as it moves like a cat. He fetches (Westies don’t really do that). He only vomits on linoleum. Most days he is smarter than we are and refuses to eat until we put a treat in his food bowl. He loves people and will go where ever the people are in the house. He will learn just about any trick we teach him. He doesn’t run away, and the one time he attempted it, we found him on the front stoop. He is a constant companion and will wedge his butt into your leg to snuggle with you. He hasn’t met a person that he didn’t like and not many people don’t like him. He’s a good looking dog. He has never bared his teeth or growled at anyone in aggression. He loves going down slides at parks, being chased, and going on walks. When it snows I will take him on walks around the neighborhood without his leash and you can honestly see him prance.
He isn’t perfect. He still hasn’t completely warmed up to Chase. Despite that, he still barks more than he used to and guards the house more than he ever has. When Chase wants to jump into the pool at my in-laws, Foster will get in between Chase and the pool. He will kiss Chase, but only tolerates being pet by Chase. As soon as Chase has some kind of aim with a ball, the two of them will become better pals.
Foster, thank you for being the epitome of Man’s (and Woman’s) Best Friend. We promise that you will never be “just a dog” to us. Happy 5th Birthday!