Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Constant Companion

Shortly after we adopted her.

Memorial Day weekend of 2008, we adopted the sweetest and calmest and (later to be discovered) most neurotic Jack Russell Terrier named Donner. At the time, I still had my two cats that were born into our family 16 years earlier, and Donner was meant for the hubs. She had other things in mind and began to follow me everywhere! Seriously... if I had to go to the bathroom - she was there; if I was cooking - she was there; if I was... well, you get the picture. As I'm typing this, she is laying beside me, snoozing, and yet still looking at me occasionally.

We soon learned that we got more than we bargained for. She was raised as a breeding dog. The breeder was a responsible one and after two litters, the female was retired and the oldest daughter of her last litter carried on the family line. Donner was one of these females. So at nearly 6 years old, she came to live with us after retiring from her "job." She was raised on a ranch and had never left, so life in the city proved terrifying for her. We lived off a major road, and going to the bathroom outside with the sounds of cars flying by was a challenge; as was walking on a leash, interacting with dogs that were not Jacks, meeting new people, and riding in a car. The hubs would sit in the front seat with Donner on his lap and just before she got sick, he would hold her out the window and let her "icky juice" (Missy's term) land out of the window. Yes.... riding in the car with her truly was a dream come true for us.

It didn't take us long to discover her other "issues." She had severe separation anxiety and would vomit and lose control of her bodily functions and chew her paws until they were bloody every time we left her alone. It didn't even matter if we were running to the store and were only gone for 30 minutes! She would do this every time! She was crate-trained during this time, so you can imagine the mess she created all over herself! She also had an intense fear of men. She would barely look at them and often butted heads with the hubs. She is very nervous and often makes "icky juice" for seemingly no reason. She also NEEDED a strict routine! Of course, she still suffers from separation anxiety under certain circumstances and is still wary of men, although, she is tolerating the hubs much better! 

When she wants a breather from kids, she lays on Missy's pillow pet and virtually disappears!

Having her was like having a child in every sense. In fact, I'd say the transition into life with her was more difficult than transitioning into life with kids! Shortly after I became pregnant with Missy, though, she proved to be invaluable! My health spiraled out of control in those first few months, but in that time, she learned to sense when an episode was coming and learned to alert me to sit down and would even position herself on my lap and wouldn't move until it was safe for me to get up again! Similar to how seizure dogs work, she just knew! Once Missy was born, we began down the road of certifying her as my service dog. We took her to training classes and saw vets and behavior therapists about her anxieties.  We learned valuable tools to help her mind settle and she and I became more in-tune with each other. The professionals we worked with lovingly referred to her as the "anti-Jack" because she is not jumpy, not super hyper, great with children, and just about everything that a "normal" JRT is not.

Becoming pregnant with Budboy changed our plans. My health settled down and became more manageable so I no longer was in dire need of a service dog, but she is still my constant companion at home. Going on vacation to visit family in California means that she goes to a dog sitter. Those few weeks are weird for me! It feels like something is missing when she is not constantly by my side! She "helps" me take care of the kids by joining me in their rooms in the middle of the night when they are sick or have nightmares, by licking their toes when they are crying and I have not yet arrived to the scene. She is their "second mother" in a way. She loves our children as if they were her own puppies!

Why am I telling you about life with Donner? Well, she is a part of our family and definitely adds to the chaos. Today is also her birthday! Yup! Today she turns 10! Time with her is growing shorter, but our life is greatly blessed having her in it! 

Laying with her babies. :) She likes to "mother" her toys. 
Happy birthday, Donner!!

Until next time!


1 comment:

  1. Aww ! So sweet , I loved this post !! Happy Birthday , Donner!!!