Eight months ago I was sitting anxiously at Dulles waiting for a tiny little ball of fluff to clear customs. After the heart break of “the dog that wasn’t” I hadn’t intended on getting another puppy, let along a feral dog from Afghanistan but in the weird world of the interwebs our paths crossed and I knew from the moment I saw her that she was my dog. Now I am convinced that the Universe sent her to teach me about myself. I pretty much realized this when the very first picture captured of her she had her tongue sticking out at the camera. (Subtle like a sledgehammer Universe.)
Charlotte, while yes still technically a puppy when she got here, is still a feral dog. She is a product of survivors. Between being a source of food, target practice, or dog fighting life expectancy isn’t good her kind in Afghanistan. She was incredibly lucky that some soldiers took in her pregnant mama (against the rules, by the way) and they knew of a charity that would help them find the puppies homes in the States.
The first few weeks here she was super skittish about everything, but her bravado was big. While her tail was tucked between her legs she would still act like she wasn’t scared. (Subtle Universe, subtle.) Over time she began to trust me. She still won’t effuse love the way that Perry does, but here and there she demonstrates it. As she grew to trust me her personality began to show. She has a wicked sense of humor. She can also throw the best fuck you face I have ever seen in a dog.
Still the only time she will be vulnerable and cuddle with me is early in the morning in that time between waking up and actually getting out of bed. I learned if I “nibbled” on her coat with my fingers the way that she did with Perry she responded positively. She started licking my arm or burying her head in my neck and sighing in response. What started off as just a few seconds slowly grew to a few minutes. She isn’t, nor ever will be, the cuddle sponge that HRH is, but the fact that we have developed a way to express our love for each other is huge. I guess we just had to learn each others love language. (Again, subtle Universe.)
Don’t get me wrong, there are days that we can’t tolerate each other. She hates it when I put the citronella bark collar on her when I’m trying to write a paper. I hate it when she destroys something she knows she shouldn’t. No love is perfect, not even HRH at his ripe age of 9. (Universe I learned this one a long time ago, thanks for the reminder though.)
Patience has never been a virtue of mine. Throughout my life the Universe has sent various lessons into my life to teach me patience. Apparently for all the strides that I thought I was making, I guess, the Universe felt otherwise. Love is patient, love is kind (1 Cor 13 4-13) takes on a whole new meaning when after 8 months someone is finally asking for belly rubs something that I take for granted with HRH. She has started to trust me to the point where she will cross over a creek on a tree suspended 6 feet in the air. For all the lessons the Universe as taught me about myself I’d think she has learned that she can trust and love which runs counter to her every survival instinct.
Oh baby trail dog, I look forward to all of our adventures.