A Very CrankyPants Birthday

A Very CrankyPants Birthday

January 8, 2009: The day Katie Greyhound died. The (theoretical) day Vesper was born.

We adopted Vesper in 2012 over Thanksgiving weekend. We had lost Dingo to osteosarcoma about 6 weeks earlier, and were still very much grieving. But Vesper had been in foster care for nearly 2 years and his adoption group was desperate to find him a forever home. And I thought, “broken souls bringing home another broken soul? What could possibly go wrong?”

So, yeah, perhaps not one of my best ideas…but when I saw that date on his paperwork, I sobbed and decided this was 100% meant to be. 

I think most of you know some basic facts about him: He’s reactive. He’s allergic to just about everything except turkey and fleas. He loves running up "Mt Whippet" (a steep dirt mound in our yard) to do his bouncy-spin dance. He loves snow. He hates coats. He has 3 distinct personalities, and he can switch from one to another seemingly on a dime. (Not as widely known: His rescuers gave him a code name. Yes, there’s quite the story there…and we only know part of it.) We dubbed him “Mr CrankyPants” and told everyone that he’s essentially the Hulk in Saluki form.

If you have a shy or reactive dog, it’s Vesper you can thank for our Private Appointment service. Because there’s absolutely no way he’d ever come to the shop during store hours, and I know we’re not the only one who needs a secure, well-fitting harness to keep everyone safe during walks. (Also, a well-fitting and warm coat, though Vesper will disagree with me on that one. “I am fine, Mother,” he tells me. “The cold does not bother me.”)

We had to work hard to gain Vesper’s trust and make him feel (semi) safe. Multiple trainers have helped us with multiple issues, and we had to learn new ways to interact with a pet. Despite all of these challenges, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. There’s something special about the bond you create with a dog who takes his time to decide that he’ll love you unconditionally. 

It took several years to get there, but we got there. He smiles. He roos. He plays. He asks for affection (sometimes) and even (again, sometimes) lets me hug him. He’s still cranky — he’ll snap at the other dogs if they even consider getting within a foot of him when he’s laying down — and his personality can still switch on a dime. But that’s just Vesper being Vesper. And if he’s willing to accept us, faults and all, then we should do the same for him.

That’s what love is and that’s what living with a reactive rescue dog is about.

Happy Birthday to you, Voo! May we celebrate many more!

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