I finally did it.
Took me a long time—I cried maybe 7 times in the last few days, and maybe that helped me be ready to bring new love into my life. The first of those 7 cryings was in my first Ayahuasca ceremony, which is now legal in Colorado. And half of it was about Redford, my dear too-soon departed best dog friend of 14 years. He had a hard end.
Yesterday, adopted from a Navajo Reservation via Soul Dog Rescue. Looks like Redford, but light eyes and his ears stick up. Half Australian shepherd or cattle dog, and half Pyrenees. Boy. 3.5 months. No name yet. But thinking Huckleberry (Huck) or Winfield (Winnie) or Halifax (Hally).
So yesterday I went for vegan brunch at Leaf, and was joined by one of my longtime best friends Steve Fenberg and his baby and later his wife Lindsay and their other child. And as I left I ran across an open dog adoption event being held at Arcteryx, out on Pearl Street. And I don’t fall in love easily with a particular puppy, which is one of the reasons I haven’t rushed into adopting a new best dog friend over the last 12 months. But I easily developed a crush on a particular light-eyed white and caramel puppy, in a pen with his 10 siblings. His mom was adopted, and a few of his siblings were adopted yesterday (one of whom lives near me, we’ll meet up for walks together so they can reunite a bit). But they said I had to go to Ft. Lupton to actually adopt and meet me and I don’t have a car, I just bike, so that wasn’t gonna happen, and I was already waylaid and late to bike to visit my friend, Ryan, who’s sick, and I biked up to his place in North North Boulder and we sat on the grass with his girlfriend’s dear doggie and caught up about my Ayahuasca experience and life generally and I mentioned the pup I had a crush on a bit and how I couldn’t get to Ft. Lupton and I wasn’t ready really anyways even though it had been a long time. Honestly I don’t remember much about what I talked about in terms of the puppy but it came up.
Then I biked back downtown, with a stop at Moxie, and ran into my good friend Ted near his house, and met up with Daniel and Daniel and I went for a walk with his now 18-year-old dog Kaya and it was brief, she’s old, we dropped her off and then Daniel said “yes, let’s go visit those puppies you mentioned on Pearl” and I didn’t even know if they’d still be there, or the one would be adopted, I had no, zero, none, no intention of adopting really anyways. But we went by and though it was hours later they were still there puppying about, maybe 20 puppies from various litters and a few older dogs and a crowd gathered and playing with and cuddling various dogs and folks with their own dogs on walks stopping by and hanging out.
And I pointed out the one I had a crush on and I think Daniel encouraged me to cuddle and I think I teared up a few times there was a sweet volunteer lady there who took my ID and then we went for a walk with this pup, Daniel and I, and I still had no intention at all, but it was sweet. And he really didn’t want to leave his family, despite Daniel’s entreating with a treat, and Daniel strikingly said “he’s love-driven, not food-driven” and we kept walking and as soon as we were out of sight of his family the puppy became more adventurous and brave and social. And then we walked back, photos, vidoes, and I think Daniel was starting to encourage me to adopt, and maybe I started considering it, but barely. But more and more, my heart and mind opened to the possibility. I loved the pup though he was slightly 3.5 months) older than when I adopted Redford, my deceased best dog friend, who I adopted at 2.5 months, and I like to get to train from the cute-and-early-as-possible. But on the other hand I figured this pup had an extra month of quality puppy and mom playtime and family time, and that’s good.
And then Leticia, Daniel’s wife, arrived, and immediately said “you’re doing this, you’re adopting this dog” basically and before you know it I was starting to give in with their help and encouragement and I teared up or cried a bit a few times and it’s so hard to move on and let go of an old love dog. Much harder than I expected; I thought I’d adopt a new buddy after a month..!
So here’s some photos. Daniel and Leticia drove me and the pup back to my house, in their Tesla, very Boulder-style, zero-emissions like my bike basically, and the neighbor’s kids were in the yard with their dad and I went over with the pup to say hi to them and Daniel joined and the family agreed to play with and watch the pup while we went to a dear bestie’s birthday party at 6 pmish. And we did and that was nice of the family, my neighbors, but the kids loved it and I adore my neighbors and they have a fun dog so it was good socialization and great for them to get to know my new doggie.
I returned a few hours later, got the crate out of my basement, washed it off (15 years since I’d used it), got the dog beds out and a collar and leash, all Redford’s, but a dog bowl of water out, and ran over to my neighbors’, picked up the puppy with thanks, and we then cuddled for hourrrrs and he boy lemme tell you is a pro-cuddler. Very enthusiastic and sweet and lots of bonding happened. And I stayed up late just so he could cuddle and bond before the crate challenge, and I wanted him as tired as possible too, and then the crate process took a long time, I went to bed finally after 1 am. I meditated by him in the crate for a long time so he could hear my breath, feel me near him, then turn off the lights, then breathe/meditate more, then move to the bed, breathe meditate more, then finally go to sleep. And he was pretty good about it with my patience, only a little crying and emoting, and he got comfy and snoozed finally. And I didn’t sleep well, I’m exhausted particularly post-Ayahuasca where you stay up allll night, but I was kinda on alert for the puppy to wake or have a hard time but he slept well all night, unlike me. Finally we got up and he was ready to go and I basically bolted out of the house with him so he could go to the bathroom. No shower or warm hat or money or phone or anything, just out the door. And it was cold..! But we wound up walking for 3 plus hours, first through the historic cemetery where he met Julia and her elder dog Burley, who was best friends with my Redford. And we walked with them to their house. And we walked on, meeting lots of dogs and people, often scared at first, but getting through it and relaxing and enjoying it a bit, and he is terrified of cars, trucks, buses, particularly if they’re loud. But he’s a good walker and we finally made it to the Trident and they let him in and a lady gave him dog cookies and pet him lots and everyone was excited to meet my new little pup and he relaxed and got joyful and felt safe.
We walked all the way back, a really long trip, but he still had lots of energy. And now we’re at home and he’s in the crate, I’m sitting on the floor, still haven’t showered, finally got some food in me, and anyways here’s those photos. He’s scared whenever I leave him or go out of sight and makes a ruckus, howling a bit, cute, but I want him to work on trust and relaxation but that’ll take time. So for now I’m hanging right by him always, mostly.
Anyways here’s those photos. Many more photos and videos on my Instagram @waylonlewis
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
~ C.S. Lewis
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