Happy 2nd Birthday Gina!

Gina_frisbee

You know the feeling… you meet a dog that needs a home and your gut just tells you that she belongs with you. Her forever home has just been found. That’s how I felt when I met Gina a little over seven months ago, despite all of my excuses to not adopt her. She is two years old today, and I am so grateful she is now part of my family.

For a year, I agonized over the decision to add a second dog to my already full life. I looked at puppies, rescues, shelter dogs, and a neighbors dog needing a new home. But, there was always some reason that it just didn’t feel like the right fit. Actually, no matter what reason I made up, I was terrified of getting a second dog.

I’ve always been a one dog at a time person. I didn’t believe anyone who told me that two dogs is easier than one. I knew better to listen because I wouldn’t just be putting them in the backyard to play together. I took Sanchez almost everywhere with me, and this would mean taking two dogs with me. Luckily, she was full grown at 42 pounds and probalby the smallest adult Lab I’ve ever seen, so not having room for two dog crates in the car was no longer an excuse.

Oh, I think back to the innocent fall day. I came across a notice in my agility yahoo group that a Black Lab was being career changed from Guide Dogs for the Blind. A trusted Guide Dogs evaluator highly recommended that she only be placed in a home where she’d have a new working career, and given her high energy and desire to please, agility was recommended. I had been on a break from agility practice and trials with Sanchez due to a knee I was nursing – mine, not his. My knee was getting stronger and I was ready to get back in the ring. But, as much as I love Sanchez, I didn’t really want another Lab, and I certainly didn’t want black fur to sweep up with all the blond fur, and then there was the bigger but…..did I really have the time, energy, and resources for another dog?

I thought, what’s the harm with just meeting her? I was pretty sure that I could come up with some excuse for not adopting her. The plan was to bring Sanchez with me to the San Rafael Guide Dogs campus so they could meet, but I wanted to spend some time with her alone first. I’d already made the mistake with another dog I was considering adopting. All the focus was on how the two dogs interacted, while I completley ignored my feelings of knowing that dog just wasn’t meant to be mine. In contrast, as soon as I walked Georgina (her Guide Dog name), I could tell how eager she was to please, how much she loved working, and I got a sense of her overall happiness level. I had promised myself that no matter what, I wouldn’t make an impulsive decision. At a minimum, I would sleep on it overnight. So, I called the placement director the next morning, asked a few more quesitons, and decided that it was an affirmative “Yes”! But, I couldn’t get back up to San Rafael for another week. Well, I can’t even tell you how many hours of sleep I lost that week, lying in fear that I wasn’t ready for another dog. But, as soon as I went to pick up Gina (the new call name I gave her), my fears were aleviated. Her non-stop wagging tail combined with her kisses and sweet demeanor clearly put me at ease and opened up my heart.

 

Gina_lying_on_sanchez

Seven and a half months later, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that I ignored my fears and paid attention to my heart. Even though it wasn’t an easy adjustment for Sanchez initially, he is now acting like a puppy again, despite the fact that he’s now eight. The first month she lived with us, he moped and acted as if he wanted to run away. He was used to being an only dog who received a lot of attention. Gina, on the other paw, fell in love with him instantly and wanted to be by his side 24/7. No matter that there are three dog beds in the house, she often wanted to share the one he was on. She’d squeeze her lithe body into any remaining area on his dog bed and lie her head on his hip, neck, or stomach. For the first couple of months, he’d get up and walk away as soon as she approached. Now he just sleeps through it. Sanchez has never been a dog who likes to cuddle with anyone, but he seems to really love it when she cuddles up to him.

 

Gina_teeter

In the last seven and a half months, we’ve attended clicker expo together, completed agilty foundation and beginning level agility classes, enjoyed playtime at the beach, had adorable pictures of her posted on Facebook, and I have fallen completely in love with her. She honestly is one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever known… just happy all the time. I consider my decision to add her to my family amongst one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Happy 2nd Birthday to my sweet girl, Gina! You are an enormous gift in my life, and I’m eternally grateful that you are my forever dog.

As co-founder of Through a Dog’s Ear, I am offering my readers a free download from our latest release, Music to Calm your Canine Companion, Vol. 3. Simply click here and enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy.

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, canine music expert, and Facebook coach. By combining her passion for music with her love of dogs, she co-created Through a Dog’s Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to relieve anxiety issues in dogs. She shares her home and her heart with her two adorable “career change” Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa’s blog here.

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