Adopting a dog after meeting my wife changed me

My sisters often told me that living alone was not good for me. If I had a dog, they say, I would meet neighbors walking the dogs, maybe even a woman who has a dog.

But I’m not ready.

My wife left me. I had to sell our business. Our kids went to college. So I rented a one-room cottage in Mar Vista, with no room for dogs or anyone else.

This sounds weird, I don’t think I’ll live much longer. My father passed away at the age of 47. A heart attack killed him. I never felt I could or should outlive my father. I was 47 years old then. I believed that I would die at the same age as my father. But the day of his death came and went, and the shadow my father cast over my life began to fade.

I stopped smoking, made amends with my kids, bought a bike and took long rides by the ocean. I hiked in the mountains and planted my first garden, tomatoes and peas, but I still haven’t gotten a dog.

I found work producing audiobooks. I directed plays on radio for fun. I met a woman at one of those plays. We cheated. She doesn’t have a dog, but she does have a cat and a husband. Our love story was bumpy, but it opened my heart for the first time since our divorce. However, I am still not ready to have a dog.

Instead I started taking dance lessons. When I was 13 years old, I was my sisters’ side dance partner. They need a man to practice with before dating. I remembered how fun dancing can be so I signed up for East Coast Swing classes at Pasadena Ballroom Dance Assn.

That’s where I first saw Trish, even though I couldn’t dance with her. The person she’s with won’t let her dance with anyone else. Six months later, he was gone, so I asked Trish to dance. She took my hand.

My sisters will be very happy. I ended up meeting a woman with a dog, two dogs in fact. Jessie and Sydney are Trish’s dogs, but they’re nearing the end of their lives.

Sydney died first. He has Cushing’s disease. Four months later, his classmate Jessie was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. Nor can she be saved. I went with Trish when she took Jessie to the vet for the last time.

A veterinary assistant led us into a small room. She carried the trembling little dog to prepare for her. A tube dangled from Jessie’s leg as she brought her back. The veterinary assistant placed a towel underneath Jessie and placed her on a metal table.

The vet walked in. She inserted a needle into the tube. She looked at Trish and asked softly, “OK?”

Trish nodded. The vet pushes the plunger of the needle. Jessie swayed, settled, then closed her eyes. After a while her heart stopped beating. Her body collapsed and her intestines let go.

The vet did this too often to cry. Trish held back her tears as she kissed Jessie goodbye. We went to a nearby bar, and Trish cried. Tears ease her pain, but grief is always far from a memory.

Trish told me: “The house is empty without Jessie and Sydney.

She remembers how they barked at traffic in the morning, then ran downstairs, how their dog tags hit their bowls. When Trish gets home from work, Jessie and Sydney meet her at the front door. Jessie jumped at Trish’s feet, and Sydney ran happily down the hallway.

After they left, Trish was unable to scatter their ashes herself. Their chains still hang in the cupboard.

However, a year later, Trish found herself looking through funny dog ​​videos online. “I just look at the dogs,” she told me. One day, she clicked on a link and found herself at a dog rescue website.

A woman holds a small dog in her arms. He wiggled up her face and kissed her. She called him little lover. As if on cue, he kissed her again. The woman turns to the camera and says, “If you want more kisses in your life, this is the dog for you.” Trish asked me to watch the video.

“Do you want to adopt it?”

“I don’t think I can go through the pain of losing another dog,” Trish told me.

Yet she still watches videos of this little dog regularly. She asked me the question she asked herself.

“Why isn’t anyone adopting this cute little dog?”

“Perhaps he was adopted. Maybe they forgot to take the video down,” I said.

Trish called Baldwin Park Animal Shelter to find out. Small dogs are still available for adoption. The salesman added, “He’s been here for 19 days.”

Trish knows what that means. County shelters were overcrowded and understaffed. Dogs usually die after 15 days.

“We have to see him before it’s too late,” Trish tells me.

So, on a rainy winter night, we drove 20 miles to the shelter. We don’t talk about what we can do. We do not know.

Bad traffic. The shelter closes at 7pm. When we got there it was 6:50 pm. The door was open, but a man stopped us.

“We will be closing in five minutes. Come back tomorrow “.

Trish begs him. “We just wanted to see the little dog we saw in one of your videos.”

“We have hundreds of dogs here. Their number is on the computer. But it turned off to stay overnight”.

“I have his number.” Trish shows it to the man.

“Okay, but you only have five minutes,” he said.

A young volunteer led us into the dark cot. The dogs started barking, begging for attention. Some do not look up, their resignation is even sadder.

The little dog we caught curled up with a Chihuahua in a dark cage.

“Can we see him in the light?” Trish asked.

The volunteer said: “Running lights are better when dogs run.

It’s just a fenced corridor. The lights didn’t work, but the little dog felt its freedom. He dashed down the hallway and turned back. Trish knelt down and picked him up. He gave her a passionate kiss.

“Do you want to adopt it?” volunteer asked.

“Can we think about it?” Trish said.

I couldn’t take the chance. If we hadn’t adopted this little dog right away, it might have died in the morning by mistake.

Those words bounced off me.

“We’re bringing this little dog home tonight.”

That was my oath to Trish, but the volunteer was worried.

“I’ll have to ask at the office if it’s okay. Closing time has passed. “

Trish and I waited in the lobby. Then the manager called us to the counter. “So you’re the ones who want us to stay late so you can adopt a dog.”

“We drove a long way,” said Trish.

“The credit card machine is broken. We do not check. Hope you have cash. That’s 80 dollars. ”

We gave him money, and he gave us a form. “Only your name and address, ignore the rest.”

“Do you know how old he is?” Trish asked.

The manager flipped through some papers. “Speaking here for about a year.”

“Do you know anything about him?”

“The dog catchers picked him up on December 9. Someone called us. Report lost dog. Got down near the fast food places on the Mission. “

“Has anyone come looking for him?”

“Does not say. Guess no. But he has a kennel cough. These antibiotics will wipe it out.”

He gives Trish a pack of pills. “Bring him back when he stops coughing. We will fix him for free. ”

Volunteers bring the small dog in from the kennel. Trish picks him up.

“He is a cute dog,” said the manager. “But if you don’t like him, we have a seven-day return policy, no questions asked.”

Dogs have no say in their fate. Our little rescue doodle got lost in the street; No one knows for how long. That he’s cute makes him adopted so he’s still alive. His kiss-filled facial antics led him to appear in a rescue video, a new way to find homes for these abandoned dogs.

Trish and I took the step that love paid for that we took. We adopted this little dog. My sisters will be very happy. I finally got a dog, but only because Trish opened up and I went after her. Love is general. Two people want to be three, even for a couple that is past childbearing age.

The author is a three-time Grammy Award winner. He is currently working on a series of short pieces about cohabitation and learning from the rescue doodle he and his wife, Trish, named Woody.

LA Affairs chronicles the search for romantic love in all its splendor in the LA area, and we’d love to hear your true story. We pay $300 for a published essay. Send an email to LAaffairs@latimes.com. You can find submission instructions here. You can find past columns here.

https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2022-05-20/la-affairs-johnny-runnette-first-came-love-then-dog-adoption-now-we-are-a-family Adopting a dog after meeting my wife changed me

Russell Falcon

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