Sunday, July 3, 2011

Life with Apollo After 372 Days

June 27th of this year marked the one-year anniversary of the arrival of Apollo into our home & our hearts, and, being completely candid, into my very soul.
Those of you that know me well already know that a dog is never merely a "pet" or "companion" for me, but a go-between of my existence and my belief that there is unconditional love in this world sent from some Higher Being, personified (or dogified) in four paws, a tail, an exceptionally long tongue, & those eyes that say, "You can trust me. I will never leave you. I will never hurt you. I will always love you."
When searching for a new puppy after the loss of Peanut, my husband & I applied for two dogs from different rescues. We had to list personal references, which both rescues contacted. My friend Jeanette (who I listed as one of our references) told me, "You'll get the dog that's meant to be yours." So on Sunday, June 27, 2010 we drove to Kewaskum to "meet" "Red" as he was named by the rescue. He & his sister were being fostered by one of the rescue's volunteers, who welcomed us into her home to spend time with "Red" & get to know him. (As if there was any doubt I would turn down taking any 12-week old puppy home after he's licked me in the face.) He was listed on the rescue's website as part Dachshund & part Chihuahua which appealed to me because Peanut's biological mother was a Chihuahua (and his biological father was a Rottweiler pup. Those of you that know me well know that whole story too.) Then the lady brought "Red" into her kitchen & he jumped up into my lap and began the whole face-licking thing. This puppy looked NOTHING like a Dachshund or a Chihuahua. I ran my hand down the length of his coat: wire-haired. I looked at his stature: tall. I looked at his face: pure terrier.
Mark & I paid the fee & drove home with "Red" dozing on my lap the entire trip. Names kept flowing in and out of my head; "Red" was just not going to do it. As I was gazing out over the rolling hills of central Wisconsin, I thought about what this puppy represented in my life. Peanut had seen me through some gut-wrenchingly hard times. If that dog could talk, I'd probably be in prison. Or maybe jail...on work-release. So what was in store for this new little one? Mark & I were still grieving the loss of Peanut, but our home felt incomplete without a dog inhabiting it. The sun shone through some gray storm clouds on our way home, and I thought, "Apollo: God of the Sun and God of Healing" in the ancient world. I needed nothing more than some sun and some healing, so this 12-week old pup was officially saddled with the responsibilities that come with his name. He has never disappointed.
Outside of the emotional journey that we are now forever apart of with Apollo, here are some facts about his first year with us. I have no idea if these stats are withing normal range or not, and frankly, I could care less. Their documentation is for my pure enjoyment, and I hope, yours too.
Apollo's First Year: By the Numbers:
Total trips to the vet: 3
Total number of times he's escaped from the house & sent Mark & me on a search & rescue mission: 3
Total number of footwear lost during said search & rescue missions: 1 slipper (mine)
Total number of times he's escaped from my parents' house: 1
Total number of obedience training classes: 16
Total weight gained: 10.2 lbs
Total number of visits to a dog park: 2
Total number of photos taken: I don't even want to try to count
Total number of nibbles of human food consumed: 1 (that I've caught my husband feeding him)
Total pounds of puppy food consumed: 66
Total time it took for potty-training: 4 incredibly long weeks
Total amount of love given & received: C'mon. You can put a measure on that.

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