Of mice and bears… the story of adopting one Kodiak B-Bear
// October 7th, 2009 // Uncategorized
Even though I embrace and accept that I have a major case of OCD, I confess to occasionally losing my mind for a moment and indulging in crazy, outlandish and extremely spontaneous decisions. They are never little decisions either, except where hair product purchases are involved. They are usually huge decisions that should require careful thought; however, I make them on the fly and am lucky so far that they ultimately better my life in the long run even if they usually have huge, immediate and occasionally catastrophic impact on my life as usual at the time. Wandering around Europe with no money, living in my car for three months after telling my dad’s side of the family to kiss off, picking having a baby over my career and my company, marrying Jason, and divorcing Jason are all examples of this behavior. So why would adopting Kodi aka Kodiak Bear on a whim be any different? For months, I’d been searching the rescue shelter pages for a lab or lab mix. Why so specific? Well, first, I love labrador retrievers, particularly English labs with their big, square heads. And second, I love their disposition and willingness to get dirty and wet and go frolic about with you with a devil-may-care attitude. I know many dogs have similar dispositions but seriously, how many dogs would do this on a regular basis?
By the way, don’t try that at home, kids.
I wasn’t actual serious about adopting a dog. In fact, I armed myself with a list of reasons against adopting a dog and pulled that list out every time Drue would stomp into my room and inform me that all she needed to make her life complete was a puppy, a horse and a zebra shark of her very own. The horse and zebra shark were easy since our lack of backyard and a large tub was reason enough to get her off the subject of adopting those animals. Convincing Drue we should not adopt a dog required a list filled with logical reasons as to why we absolutely could not adopt a dog right now or maybe ever.
Right after Christmas, I was uploading pictures of Mimir to the Second Chance adoption website. I adopted Mimir back in 2005 and wanted to let folks know she was spoiled rotten and doing well. The “Dogs of the Day” pop-up appeared and OHMIGOD there he was. Before I knew what I was doing, I clicked on the EMAIL ME HERE link and in three paragraphs explained why we were the absolute most perfect family ever for this dog, sight unseen and even unnecessary. Like a kick to the gut, I just knew… this dog BELONGED with us! Then I had to go downstairs and ‘fess up to everyone what I had done.
We received a polite email back from Second Chance letting us know that they appreciated my exuberance – they were being polite, I was maniacal – and that since I had successfully adopted from Second Chance before they were happy to contact the foster parents. We were warned that the foster parents were very picky and had turned away 11 other families so we should not get our hopes up. We were also told that Second Chance takes about two weeks to complete the adoption process. Jason clung to that and spent a few moments trying to make me see reason. Failing that, he tried talking me down off of my high, pointing out that we might get turned down and, with a two week wait, there was no way we could adopt this dog. Drue and I nodded and said we understood what he was saying. Once Jason left the room though, we started jumping up and down and squealing and getting our hopes up and talking about Kodi as if he was already ours. A few hours later, I got a phone call saying we could see Kodi the next day. Problem Number One: We were in North Carolina at my Mom’s house at the time and we were supposed to go home to Virginia the next day.
Instead of heading back to Virginia, we drove out to the middle of nowhere and fell in love with this dog. He had us at “Ball!” and after playing with him, tossing the ball for almost two hours, and having Drue fling her arms around him and declare there was no way we were going back to Virginia without him, we had to figure out a way to adopt this dog and do it right away. At 3 PM, and with Kodi’s foster parents’ blessing, I got on my cell phone, called Second Chance and promised them the moon if they would waive the two weeks waiting period and let us adopt this dog right away! We went home while the lovely woman manning the agency during the holidays located the person in charge. At 5 PM, we got the call – they would waive the two weeks and we could come in the next day, write a fat check and walk away with our Bear. I agreed immediately and Jason, who had finally accepted that this was going to happen and there was no reasoning with me, helped me load the car up with Christmas presents and dirty laundry. We hit the Pet Smart and dropped $350 in 20 minutes flat and then we headed for home.
After a seven hour drive in post-New Year traffic from hell, I got home just after midnight. I proceeded to puppy-proof the house, Jason built Kodi’s crate, and somehow we still managed to grab three hours of sleep before the alarm rang at 4:30 in the morning. 5 AM saw us back on the road, coffee in hand, with me muttering to myself that I was insane to do this with a crazy work week coming up. Every time traffic slowed, I was online figuring out what sick and vacation time I had remaining and trying to figure out how to ask my boss and clients if I could telework the next week (or at least chunks of the next week). At 9:30 AM, I picked up a sleepy Drue and somehow made it to the Second Chance headquarters in Cary in record time. I was only 15 minutes late and hyped up on six cups of coffee. By 11:30, and another outlay of cash, Kodi was ours! We met my Mom for a celebratory lunch where she told me I was nuts at least three times (not counting the six times she told me I was nuts the day before) and then hit the road back to Virginia, happy as clams and with a Kodi coming home with us.
By the way, this post is not a ringing endorsement of adopting pets on a whim. In fact, I would highly recommend against adopting a dog on a whim. In my own mind, my thought was that I have had labs before and I was pretty darn sure I knew what I was getting into. Or so I thought. I never factored into the equation that Kodi Bear is only part lab. The other part is Chow, a dog I have zero experience with and know nothing about. I also never thought about the fact that, to date, I’ve only had girl dogs. And Kodi is all boy.
I know what you’re thinking. What’s the diff, right? Well, it’s huge actually. It’s about as huge as the difference between human boys and girls. Girls may play with trucks but boys seem built to smash them into other objects, take them apart and roll in mud while doing it just because. And before you start accusing me of stereotyping kids, just remember what David Cronenberg said: “All stereotypes turn out to be true. This is a horrifying thing about life. All those things you fought against as a youth; you begin to realize they’re stereotypes because they’re true.” Okay, yes, David Cronenberg is a filmmaker and screenwriter and not a cultural anthropologist or philosopher but 1) he’s Canadian and 2) he’s one of the principal originators of the body horror genre which makes him a genius in my book!
Anyway back to Kodi and his all-boy, Lab/Chow proclivities. As I was saying, Jetta Bear, my first lab and the original Bear-dog, and Kodi share many traits, including that fantastic English lab block head. This is probably why I fell in love with Kodi the moment I saw his picture on the Second Chance website, called the number on the page, and made an immediate appointment to go see him even though we were in North Carolina for vacation and were supposed to leave the next day. But we solved problem number one and even though I was twitching from lack of sleep and too much bad gas station coffee, I was also excited and exuberant and giddy over bringing the Bear home with us.
Problem number two occurred almost immediately. Kodi, his blanket and his ten new toys were comfortably placed in the hatchback when Kodi decided he liked the back seat next to Drue better. I caught Kodi starting to crawl over the seat when I glanced back in my rearview mirror and immediately told him to sit down and stay. Kodi halted with his front paws on the top of the seat and looked at me to see if I was serious. Well, I was serious and he knew it. So he took the path of least resistance and allowed his paws and entire front end to sliiiiddeee down the back of the seat. I immediately told him to sit down and stay again, this time with the SUPER FIRM, I am deadly serious and do you WANT to be grounded until the day you die tone that works so well on Drue. Granted, this was not the smartest thing to say when half my dog is in the back of the car and the other half is on the seat in front of him. Kodi took that as permission to jump into the seat – because, seriously, where else would you sit down – and snuggled up next to Drue. I could have let it go except that when I say he was next to Drue, I actually mean his butt was in her lap and his head was pressed against the opposite window and his tail was beating her waist and hips. Beyond that, I had to make a point with this dog. I am the alpha and the omega, ruler of the Gloege house – except when Mimir is – and he needed to accept that right now. I stopped the car, Jason and I got him out, walked him to the back, told him to stay, gave him a squeaky toy and high-fived each other for being consistent. Less than two miles down the road, we hear a shriek from Drue and Kodi is in the backseat again, this time with his front paws in her lap, drooling on her while trying to wedge his head out the space between the top of the door and the window I’d lowered back in Durham. I pulled the car into a gas station, got out, grabbed Kodi’s leash, took him to the back seat and had a stern talk with him. This consisted of a series of No’s, Stay’s and a bunch of mwah-wah-wah-wah-wah akin to Charlie Brown’s teacher.
While all this was going on, Jason was doubled over, laughing hysterically in the front seat. When I got back in the car, and thanked him nicely – somehow I managed not to thwap him so, yes, it was nicely – for helping, he reminded me that I had to have this dog. Ass. Before I could even start the car, Kodi was over the back seat, licking my neck, swatting Drue in the face with his tail and thinking this was the most fun, bestest game EVER! I hit the roof, pulled him out of the car via the front seat, took him back to the hatchback and tied him back there, using his leash and the cargo net divets to keep him in place. Problem solved, right?
I’d love to tell you that we had an quiet, pleasant drive with our new dog from that moment forward. But if I said that, I’d be lying. Problem number three reared its ugly head when we hit the North Carolina/Virginia border. There is a lot of water around the North Carolina/Virginia border. Did you know that? Well I knew it but I did not know, know it until we got Kodi. It seems that Kodi loves water. I don’t mean tail-wagging, this is fun, loves water. I mean the kind of love that sends Kodi into a whining, tapping, nose-whistling, crying, shake the car repeatedly until you think you are going to take flight, kind of loves water. And when you tell Kodi it’s all right, and that he’s fine and to please sit down, Kodi’s natural response is to bark. And while I’ve met a lot of mouthy dogs, I’ve never met one who can and will bark for four hours straight. Yes, you read that correctly. Four hours straight. My response was to tell Kodi to hush, over and over. There were other things I wanted to say but I try not to teach my child new words that, once repeated in school, ensure I get phone calls from the principal. So for four hours, I sat there with my teeth and jaw clenched, hissing “HUSH KODI” every few minutes while the dog barked away in the hatchback. Drue had the benefit of her iPod and, at some point, found respite by falling asleep with the tunes of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers covering the “Woof, woof, whiiiinnnnee, nose whistle, woof!” coming from the back of the car. For the first time, I found myself regretful that I had purchased my car back in 2005 because if that car had come with a proper trunk, Kodi would have been stuffed into it.
When we got home, I was twitching from lack of sleep, too much bad gas station coffee and the ringing in my ears from Kodi’s four hour bark-a-thon in the back of the car. I stomped around, flung open the hatchback and picked up his leash, ready to lose my mind all over my beast of burden, this albatross who sold me a bill of goods with his block head, slobbery ball and lab-ways. So I snatched the leash, ready to tear into Kodi while stuffing him into his crate where he would live for ALL ETERNITY. Well, the leash came with me but Kodi did not… because in-between his nose-whistles, barks and yodels, he was chewing his leash into pieces. I facepalmed myself so hard, I slapped myself into the next week. But then it dawned on me, he was home, we were insanely in love with him and wait for it… HE STAYED IN THE HATCH AREA all on his own! He could have jumped into the backseat with Drue any time after tearing his leash apart. BUT HE DIDN’T! At that moment, I just knew I had made the best, the right decision. There wouldn’t be any more problems because Kodi’s great in that better than chocolate cake way and because we love this dog and as John Lennon said, all you need is love!
7 Responses to “Of mice and bears… the story of adopting one Kodiak B-Bear”
Leave a Reply
- Jeri said: I hear you, TerriAnn. My first draft list was a h...
- TerriAnn @ Cookies & Clogs said: My list would be too crazy that making a list woul...
- Jeri said: Mom, it's okay! By the time I finished working, n...
- Jeri said: You're so right, Aunt Janet. :-) It was a good b...
- Mom said: I wish I had known. I didn't call you on Friday to...
- Janet said: Those are the best birthdays!!!! It took me a whi...
- If Hollywood can reboot, so can I!
- ...you might find, you get what you need!
- Relaunching the 101...
- A moment of gut clenching truth
- Do's and Don'ts