I have lived on my own for a while now and longed for a pet for two main reasons; the first one being that I love animals, and secondly being that dogs undeniably make for great company. For many years due to rental reasons I wasn’t allowed to own a pet, but I recently settled into a place which was pet-friendly. The only thing I had to overcome from there was my fear of my inability to be a good pet-owner.
I was looking online at Adopt a Pet when I came across Pepita’s picture. I fell in love with her picture and upon reading that she was a three-legged dog from the streets of Mexico, my desire for her grew. I filled out an application and within a couple of days I was going to meet Pepita at her foster home.
The entire experience, from start to finish, was not in anyway what I had imagined. I pictured me meeting a happy, friendly dog filled with excitement and me unable to leave her behind. Instead, she spent the entire meet cowering in fear away from me. Despite my repeated attempts with treats in my hands, the closest I got to her was her taking the treat from my hands and running away to enjoy said treat – far away from the weird human who gave them to her. Instead of leaving feeling happy and excited, I left feeling nothing bit disappointment and discouraged.
That being said, I also strongly felt I couldn’t walk away from her. It wasn’t as though it was too late because meet and greets are just that – a meet and greet and there are so many dogs that need to be adopted that finding another one wouldn’t really be an issue. But as fearful as I was, I also had a strong feeling that I could not give up on Pepita. It’s inexpiable looking back why I wanted her so badly, but it all makes sense now.
When Pepita first came home to me she was excited but confused. Coming into my apartment she started to trust me a bit more although she didn’t really have much of a say in the matter. It was quite a while before she began to fully trust me. I call her the gift that keeps on giving, because with each day that passes she becomes more trusting and more like her true dog-self.
I had my fair share of worries in the beginning. I worried that her high anxiety would be too much for me to handle, I worried she wouldn’t ever play with all the toys I bought her but most of all, I was incredibly worried that we would never bond. I’ll never forget the time I had an emotional breakdown, calling my boyfriend and crying to him that my dog doesn’t love me nor will she ever. He, of course, told me how silly I was being and reminded me what a short time it was since I had gotten her- and that I needed to be more patient with her. He wasn’t wrong. On her own time, when she was more comfortable, she began showing me affection and a lot of it. She’s now a cuddle bug who eagerly greets me with her tail wagging, ready to shower me with licks and anytime I come back from being gone- even if only for a couple of minutes!
Although Pepita definitely has her issues (behavioural to be specific), she has come such a long way in such a short amount of time. She’s made amazing process with humans and although still timid with strangers she barks a lot less now, and if you’re lucky she’ll let you pet her. She’s eager to please and will do anything for a treat.
Despite what she has been through she remains resilient. To be honest, I don’t think she really realizes she’s different in that she’s missing a leg, and I surely never treat her like she is. In fact, I often say her getting hit was a blessing in disguise. It’s why she was found, taken in, and thus brought to Canada to end up here, with me.
When looking for my furever friend I had originally set out for a young dog, little to no issues, good with people and animals, non-shedding, and overall didn’t require much training. I definitely didn’t get that in Pepita; instead I got a four year old who has high anxiety, doesn’t do so well with other dogs and who sheds more than I do (and I shed a lot!).
What I did get, was everything I needed in her without even knowing it. I have the most loving, loyal, 24/7 best friend and companion. Nothing makes me happier than to see her happy, and nothing makes me more proud than to think of how far she’s come since I first met her. She’s the perfect balance of crazy and lazy, just like her mama, which makes us two peas in a pod.
Who could have guessed that a three legged friend was all I was missing in my life.
“Adopt, Don’t Shop”
I have nothing against those who choose to buy from a breeder but I do urge everyone to always look into adopting first. There are so many animals of various ages, sizes, and breeds in desperate need of homes. Some may have issues- whether it be behavioural, medical, or unable to be homed with other animals, but these issues are often made very clear prior to adoption. Work with your local shelter and let them know what you’re looking for and they will help set you up with the right friend.
If you aren’t ready to have a dog just yet then I suggest looking into fostering. Foster homes are always needed for dogs as shelters are overpopulated, and an actual home is always better than a stay at the shelter.