I don’t believe in soulmates.
The idea that only one person in the world can make you happy always seemed silly. At least until I met Roxie.
The first time I saw her, she was looking lonely and forlorn. She was missing great chunks of hair, and stared at me with sad, soulful eyes. I just wanted to give her a hug.
Roxie is a 3 year old purebred Shar Pei. She watched me from behind the glass cage at the Denver Dumb Friend’s League, where I came with my sister to browse. I had just graduated from college, moved in with the parents, and all I wanted as a graduation gift was a dog. My father, however, was proving an unforseen obstacle. He had very rigid stipulations about what kind of dog he would allow in his house. It couldn’t be small and yappy; it couldn’t shed; it had to be a purebred. Finding this combination within a limited budget had proved nearly impossible.
I poured over websites, shelters, and classifieds, but hadn’t found anything. So when my sister suggested that we go check out the Dumb Friend’s League, I didn’t expect anything to come of it.
But there Roxie was.
At first I was afraid she had a skin disease. She had five large bald patches. I asked the lady at the adoption desk about it, and it turned out Roxie had been in a nasty fight and her family couldn’t afford the medical bills. That’s how she wound up in the shelter.
They took us to a small room to meet her and she was aloof and standoffish. The trainer explained to us that Sharpeis are different from dogs like Labs or Golden Retrievers. They’re very devoted, but only to their family. They could really care less about everyone else.
My sister and I whispered together. She was adorable, even with all the missing fur. But what about Dad? We decided it was easier to ask forgiveness than permission, and I signed the adoption papers right there.
We took her home, and fortunately when my dad walked in the door he started laughing at the sight of her there. I wonder if he expected this at some point.
It seems like such a risk in retrospect. Here is a random dog from a shelter. We didn’t get to test drive her. She could have had any number of behavioral or health problems. We just took her home and hoped for the best.
And the best is what happened. That dog and I are weirdly connected. We both love sleeping, and often nap cuddled together. I hate mornings and so does she. While most dogs will bounce up, demanding to start the day, Roxie will stay tucked next to my leg until I get up around 11. She hates to run, so I never feel guilty about the fact that neither of us jog.
She can be a bit surly to people she doesn’t know, but is incredibly devoted to the people she’s close to. She’s unabashedly stubborn. She’s very quirky.
It’s like seeing myself in dog form.
And she can’t talk. I think that’s my favorite part of animals. Roxie just looks at me with those brown, loving eyes, and I’m home.
Lauren Baity is an elephant journal intern. By night she plays roller derby with the Denver Roller Dolls and skates under the name Shadow Cat. She loves dark chocolate, good coffee, and dreams of owning a house full of books. She writes a wildly inappropriate blog here.