One thing I swore I’d never do was buy something from Craig’s List. I realize a lot of people have great success buying and selling there, but there have been stories (frankly, one is enough for me) on the news in my area of people showing up to pick up an item and robbing and/or murdering everybody in the house. I’m paranoid.
Another place I put my foot down was buying a dog before having the chance to see it in action. You never know if a dog is sick or older than the sellers say. With females, you run a huge risk of getting a dog that was bred every six months, living most of her life in a plastic box or a cage, and spitting out babies in a puppy mill. These animals can be very ill and traumatized, presenting you with a lifetime of medical and psychological issues. Buying them – and their pups – only encourages the despicable humans running these operations.
A month ago, I broke both of those rules.
We’ve known for a while that Caesar needed a buddy. He’s incredibly active and gets bored very easily. We often joke that he’s our ADHD puppy. When I let him out to “go potty” he runs around the yard sniffing every blade of grass, searching for the perfect spot to do his business. More often than not, just as he’s closing in on the right place he’ll hear a squirrel or the dogs next door or – God forbid – a bird (his mortal enemy!), and he’s off and running. I have to remind him why he was outside in the first place. You don’t want to know how long it takes him to eat if a neighbor is mowing his or her lawn; and if he’s playing with one toy and runs across another, it’s as if he had no idea it ever existed, even though he left outside only a half hour before. There’s only so much wubba throwing and belly rubbing a person can do, and when he’s truly bored he paces around the room like an inmate on his last day in jail. He does well with bossy little females (hmm….), and his groomer told me he really perks up around other
Rottweilers Yorkies. We figured we’d start looking on the Internet to see what was available. If we found one, great. If not, it wasn’t meant to be yet, and our new “baby” was still “out there” waiting for us to find her. We never expected to find one the first day of our search.
What drew me to this dog’s listing was the number of pictures of her and what she was doing in them. One showed her snuggled up against a man’s foot, giving me an idea of her size. We didn’t want a so-called “teacup” Yorkie, and I could see that she was a normal-sized dog. Another one was of her running, which demonstrated that she was in pretty good health. A closeup shot revealed the sweetest face and deepest, most expressive brown eyes I’ve ever seen on a dog. After exchanging information, the other person and I decided I’d go get her the following day. The sweet little darlin’ was about 3 hours away, and the woman selling her offered to meet me at a Starbucks just off the freeway about halfway there. Didn’t sound like murderous intent to me. Still, I took cash and made sure I was on the phone with my husband when I got out of my car to meet her.
Her name is Lizzie, and her story is heartbreaking. Like Caesar, she’s three years old. Unlike Caesar, her original owners got divorced, and the ex-husband shot and killed himself on the ex-wife’s doorstep. Looking at the dogs (there were three) was a major trauma trigger for the ex-wife, so she decided to give them up. A mutual friend knew the woman who put the ad in Craig’s List and figured since she had a Yorkie, she’d be a good person to foster the three and find them new homes. The other two were adopted almost immediately, and as much as they wanted to keep her, they decided to give up Lizzie, too.
The closer I got to the exit, the harder I was falling. The woman called to let me know she and her husband were at Starbucks, but when I saw the caller ID on my dashboard, I instantly thought the worst, and my heart sank at the idea they might have changed their minds. Thankfully, they didn’t, and I met the newest addition to our family in a Starbucks parking lot.
She was a mess. One of the couple’s teenage daughters decided to give her a haircut to spiff her up for her new family and did a complete hack job (the woman was really embarrassed by it, I should mention). I drove straight from that Starbucks to my vet’s office. As much as I loved her already, I also love my boy, and if there was anything wrong with her that was communicable I didn’t want him to contract it. That proved to be a good move. Little Miss was covered with fleas. I could count on one hand the number of fleas our first Yorkie, Cheeky, had in the thirteen years she was alive, and I’ve yet to see one on Caesar. I hadn’t considered Lizzie might be completely riddled with them. She had an accident on the lobby floor, which conveniently provided a stool sample. Turned out she had roundworms. She had baby teeth that needed to come out, she needed to be spayed, and there were no vet records available. I got a de-worming pill for her and one for Caesar, and set off to introduce them.
I’m proud to say Caesar did a wonderful job greeting her, and they were instant buddies. My husband and I love her, and Caesar seems to be over the moon. He plays with her. He respected her space when she came home from the vet after having had teeth extracted, a micro-chip implant, and a rabies shot given, all while she was under anesthesia for being spayed. She’s coming out of her shell and initiating play more. Actually, she not only initiates, she instigates. They chase, fuss, and bat at each other. She puts him in her own brand of headlock, something we refer to as the “Lizzie Lock”. She shoved him off the couch a few times and he might have made it across the room had it not been for the coffee table. They wrestle by standing on their hind legs and wrapping front paws around necks. We call it Yorkie Sumo. (Short videos of first meeting, the “Lizzie Lock”, and Yorkie Sumo at the bottom of the post)
Lizzie can sleep pretty much anywhere and in any position. If she’s not half-draped across a human, half-draped across a pillow or arm of the couch, she’s curled up in a tight little ball. Caesar plops down in front of her between her and the edge of the couch , as if to shield her from the rest of the world. Last night I caught them spooning.
I don’t know if her story is true, there’s no way for me to verify it. On one hand, I don’t want to think I got suckered into taking a dog, so I need it to be true. The truth is, I really don’t want it to be true. I need to believe the reason Lizzie cowers in the presence of loud voices has nothing to do with any yelling she might have been exposed to day in and day out. I want to know the only reason she shakes and hides at the sound of a sudden, loud noise is because she isn’t used to her surroundings yet. Caesar curls up on my chest just under my neck. Lizzie not only curls up under our chins, she stands on our chests and puts the top of her head on our collarbones and starts frantically digging into our skin. She leans her head into our mouths for kisses. She cries so hard when we come home she sounds like someone’s killing her. It makes my soul weep to think she’s so affectionate because her previous owner relied on her for comfort and emotional security because she was married to someone who was unstable enough to commit suicide on her doorstep.
Regardless of her background, she’s adjusting quite well. She learned in a single fifteen minute session to go into her crate on command, she’s stopped screaming when we leave, and she’s much quieter upon our return. She doesn’t mind when Caesar steals her food, and she isn’t afraid to steal it back from him. Her favorite game is letting Caesar steal “chewies” from him and then stealing them back. He’ll drop his to get at hers and she makes a grab for it, running off with two of them hanging out of her mouth.
Best of all, she seems to understand that we are her “forever family” and have no plans of ever giving her up. She knows how deeply loved she is, and that she’s home at last.
The “Lizzie Lock”: