"Brandon" had a crooked tail and looked a little mangy; Riley was huge and very hairy. Brandon seemed calm; Riley was full of excitement.
We went home and thought about it. We weighed the pros and cons. Four days later, we were approved to adopt Brandon so we decided to go see him one more time.
This time, when Brandon walked into the room I knew I was not going to be able to leave him. This time, we connected and I knew he was mine. Hubs knew too, and we took him home.
The first month was trying. Brandon, now named Ransom, was adjusting to living in our home. And after being abandoned, he had issues. He ate through his crate, not to mention that he devoured a library book and much more. When we left, he would literally go crazy. We would find him soaked with drool, panting furiously, and a crazed look in his eye. He had "separation anxiety."
Hubs was done with him. It caused us problems and I, yes even I the lover of floppy-eared dogs, said that it wasn't worth having him. We could never leave without fearing what we would return home to. As a last resort, we bought a giant metal crate. This time we introduced him slowly to the crate with treats, instead of shoving him in and locking it. This time, we put it in our living area, instead of out in the sunroom. This time, we taught him that when he enters his crate it is a promise that we are coming back for him. There is no need for him to freak out because his crate is a security.
And we had a changed dog. In a year, he has learned many commands. He plays so well with other dogs, he barks only when someone comes to the door or is commanded to. He is calm when we have friends and family over. He doesn't jump on people. He has become a great dog, a running companion, and a true part of our family (read stories here, here and here). Some days I look at him walking into a room and am amazed that we have a 70-pound animal living in our house and that is okay.
Hubs said yesterday, "I wish we knew if he was happy here." We decided that a dog's sense of happiness is not like ours. Ransom is happy because he is fed each day, because he gets ample exercise, because he is taken care of, and because he has a home.
Not everyone understands or want to live with a dog, but for Hubs and I, it is a blast. We get exercise, we get to play with him, we get to clean up after him, we get to snuggle with him, we get to laugh at his antics, and of course we get to train him how we want him to behave. But the best is when we come home and that crooked tail just starts a-waggin back and forth. It's been a fun year; and I can't wait for more!