Monday, March 14, 2011

Introducing my Furry Little Vitamin

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
-Groucho Marx

Last year one of my friends gave me a great birthday card -- it says "Dogs are furry little vitamins for the soul", and I smile every time I see it on my bulletin board (yeah, that one is a keeper).

Anyone who knows me IRL knows that I am a dog lover who has been wishing and hoping for a dog of her very own for years. I thought that I would get my wish after I graduated from college. Finally, an adult living on my own -- I would be the boss of me and get to make any decision I wanted. Adopt a dog? How about a dozen?

Well, it turns out that lots of other people were the boss of me, namely all of the terrible, not-pet-friendly landlords I kept ending up with. (What's up with those jerks, anyway? If I am ever a landlord I am going to embrace pet-owning tenants. People with pets are wonderful!) After years of gazing longingly at dog parks and cooing at all of the tied up dogs in my neighborhood, I eventually found myself in a pet-friendly apartment. Finally! Now all I had to do was find the perfect dog.

After years of dreaming, I had come up with a few criteria:

1. I wanted to adopt a shelter dog

This was a must. I understand why people might choose to look to a breeder for their dog, but I wanted to adopt a shelter dog. There are so many wonderful, loving dogs that are in need of new homes, and I just knew my perfect buddy was already out there, waiting for a second chance.

2. I love dachshunds

Really, is there anything on earth funnier or more adorable than a long, skinny dog with ridiculously short legs? I love the way they walk, I love their happy little faces, I love their silly personalities. Even if a purebred doxie wasn't in the cards, I hoped I might find a cute little dachshund mix.

PS -- Do you like dachshunds? Do you like funny things? Check out Stuff on my Wiener and thank me later.

3. My ideal dog is more than a little bit goofy

I have a particular affinity for a dog that looks a little...different. You know what I mean. An ear that kind of sticks up when it shouldn't, a tail that is totally attached to the wrong body, maybe a tongue that is always hanging out just a little. Goofy. Adorable!

So I went about my search, checking as many different resources as I could find. I scoured PetFinder; I visited the local shelters; I reached out to my animal rescue friends. There were so many dogs, and I really didn't know how I would find the one that was right for me. But I didn't need to worry -- my dog wanted to find me!

Last spring I got a new boss, and I found out right away that she was a dog person. She mentioned a really amazing organization that I'd never heard of -- the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals. They do wonderful work in placing animals with foster or forever homes -- their goal is to keep these animals OUT of shelters, making the process of finding a new home less stressful and traumatic. My boss offered to reach out to her contact at MAFA to see if they might be able to help me, and the answer came back right away: what a coincidence, a purebred dachshund was just surrendered. Fate!

A few days later, the tiny pup was at my door, and as soon as I saw her I knew she was my doggy soulmate. A sweet little doxie...with six different colors of fur. For reals! Check her out:

Name: Audrey (Hepburn, natch! Those big brown eyes, those killer cheekbones, that charmingly off-key rendition of Moon River....)
Height: 6 inches
Length: Off the charts!
Weight: 12lbs (she is trying to shed a few ounces, too)
Likes: Baby carrots, big piles of snow, squeaky squirrels, eating garbage found on the street
Dislikes: Other dogs :(
Eye color: Brown
Hair color: ???

Audrey's fur is like a beauty school experiment gone adorably wrong. She has a chocolate brown body fringed with a thin row of carmel, a white belly, a cream-colored tail, white and brown speckled paws...and a little dusting of gray on the top of her head. My favorite quote -- a little boy passed us on a walk and said "I want a tie-dyed dog like that one!"

Not only is she perfectly adorable, she is also the sweetest, silliest, cuddliest dog ever. She makes me laugh every single day, she has licked more than a few tears from my face, and she makes my tiny little apartment feel like a happy home. And she naps like a CHAMP. Love that!

I have talked about being able to envision the life I want to lead, and being a dog owner has always been part of that picture. Audrey is wet-nosed proof that I can make my dreams come true, I just need to go after them. In my mind, I can clearly see me and Audrey running through the streets, pounding out mile after mile. Now its time to make that our reality....

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