Follow by Email

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Background and how Clementine stole my heart and changed my life forever...

Okay, so most people who know me at this point think I'm a little crazy when it comes to my dogs. I blame my parents. Growing up, both my sister and I begged my parents for a dog and were always turned down. There was a brief period of time when I was about two, where there was a Cocker Spaniel in the house, who unfortunately met an early death at the hands of a Mennonite driving down our street.

Our parents did allow us to have cats at various points in time, and for my 13th birthday I got a pony. Yes, a real live pony! Her name was Fancy and she was an Arabian/Quarter Horse cross. Short, feisty and full of life. I took serious riding lessons for years - first in Jumping, then Dressage. You wouldn't know it to look at me now, but at one point I could do flying lead changes, side passes, leg yields and passage with ease. ahhhh those were the days.

I ended up moving away from home for college, and regrettably we ended up selling my dear Fancy. I got caught up in other things for a while, music, art, good friends and copious amounts of alcohol. As my undergrad years drew to a close, I once again began to feel that ache for a dog of my very own. For over a year I spent hours looking at dogs on Petfinder that needed home. My roommates dreaded hearing the latest sad story of abuse or neglect. It was a particularly confusing time in my life. Here I was, 24 years old, with a degree in Art History and a yearning to break away from the Midwest and get a four-legged companion of my very own. I followed a friend out to Denver and went looking for a dog as soon as my bags were unloaded.

Having been around my sister's dogs for a number of years now, I really wanted a pit bull. One problem - I now lived in a city with one of the strictest breed bans around (more on this later I'm sure). We ended up going to the Denver Dumb Friend's League where they made all adopters take a little quiz before browsing to see what kind of dog fit your lifestyle the best. I was told I would do best with a "Constant Companion." Nearly every dog that was a match was an Australian Cattle Dog (Heeler). Being from Ohio, I had absolutely no experience with the breed what so ever, but their size, markings and attitude intrigued me. After stops at a few shelters, I met Clementine (formerly Lainey) at the Buddy Center.
One head tilt was all it took for me to take her home.

See, Miss Clementine had been at the shelter for almost three months. Someone had stuffed her in the overnight drop box with no identification or information. They had her in lost and found for a month but no takers. After doing a shelter evaluation, they determined she was shy, sweet, low-energy and not good with kids. They explained several people had been interested, but were put off by her shyness, lack of a tail and fear of children. Since I have never planned on having kids and have a fear of human children myself - I figured we would be a great match.