The Many Adventures of Keira!

This is our page to document our family's adoption journey- starting from when we first started planning for our little one, to when we brought her home. We're also going to keep this updated with all of the things that Keira has been up to since she's been home with us here in the U.S!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Tonka Truck

Those of you that know me know how much I loved my dogs Jackson and Lucy and how heartbreaking it was to lose both of them. Lucy was the kindest, gentlest little girl and adored children. Jackson was my baby boy for 16 years. When each of them went over the Rainbow Bridge, I knew that I would not be able to get another dog for quite some time... it would be just too painful.

Lately, about a year later, I have found myself with a void that I've wanted to have filled---the need to have a dog in my life again. I am home more and would be able to devote more time to a dog and feel that I could open my heart to a pet again. I made the decision that there were a few things that were extremely important to me:


1. That any dog we find be gentle and get along well with Keira. Having a small one, all of you know that what that means when looking for a dog. Keira loves dogs and gets so excited to see them at the pet store. She is gentle with them but little ones sometimes do things they don't mean, like pull a tail etc. I would never ever allow Keira to hurt any animal and she would never mean to...but she is still a toddler and toddlers do toddler things. It would be really important to find a dog that would be tolerant of little things and little people.


2. Not be too high energy. Although it's great to go on walks and do fun things together, working and having a little one would not allow me to do high energy activities with a dog. A nice, happy but mellow dog would fit in great with our family. One that we could take on walks and to the park, but not have to spend hours throwing a frisbee back and forth while wrangling Keira up- that would be great!

3. That the dog be from an owner trying to find a new home for their dog, the Humane Society, shelter or rescue. I did not want to buy a dog. I know that many people want dogs that are purebred and from breeders. That is fine and totally a personal decision. I know that there are many reputable breeders out there, but so many dogs are from Puppy Mills, which treat the dogs so inhumanely and horribly just to turn a profit. I just don't want to take any chances in supporting the Mills at all in what they are doing....especially when there are so many dogs out there that need homes already. That is in no way meant to slam those that have dogs from breeders...any dog that can have a home is wonderful. Just a personal choice with me on how I would like to find my dog.


4. One that didn't look anything like Jackson and Lucy. The reason for this is that I didn't want to get a dog to "replace" my fur babies. I wanted a dog that we could start fresh with and that would have to go through any comparisons.


I have always loved French Bulldogs, so I decided that was the breed that I would look for. Granted, I am open to any dog that would be a good dog for our family that wasn't too big, but I decided that I wanted to see what was out there for a little Frenchie.


There is a French Bulldog Rescue Network (http://www.frenchbulldogrescue.org/) that does fantastic work rescuing abandoned and abused dogs. Some are owner surrenders, but many were rescued from Puppy Mills. The stories would make you cry had badly they have been abused. One of the dogs had sores, mites, was going blind and was going deaf from all of the infections in her ears. Her abdomen was totally full of scar tissue from them doing homemade C sections on her to pull the puppies out. I had my heart set on adopting a rescue dog from there (an was even in the finals to adopt one), but I also wanted to see if there were any dogs closer by that needed homes as well. I started looking through the shelters and Craigslist and found a French Bulldog up in L.A that needed a home. His owner got a new job where he had to travel out of town so much that this dog spent most of it's time sleeping waiting 12 hours a day for him to come home or in a kennel. He loved his dog enough to know that he wanted him to be around people more. We corresponded for a while through email and I asked a billion questions. Was he housebroken? How was he with small children? What was his demeanor? Has he had a history of aggression? Everything sounded great with this dog...so we made arrangements for him to bring the dog to our house so that we could meet him and see how we all got along.


After making plans, I realized that I never asked him what the dog's name was, so I did. Ready for this? The dog's name is Jackson. Yep...you read that right....Jackson! That isn't that common of a name and was the same as my Jackson. Was it some kind of sign? What did this all mean? Was it a BAD sign--because I was trying to hard to find a dog that didn't remind me of my previous dogs and now here was one with the SAME name? Or was it a good sign? Maybe something telling me that it was ok! Wow! I was now totally excited to meet him! By the way, when I was telling Dan about the dog, he just happened to be driving on Jackson Street in Westminster. What are the odds????


Well, they came up to bring Jackson to meet us and things were just great! He was a funny little guy...well little probably isn't the proper description! LOL Picture this....the average size of a Frenchie is in the mid 20 pounds or so....Jackson was 45 pounds! WOW! He is a TANK! He is so funny and sounds like a pig with how he grunts...so much personality. We introduced him to Keira and she was excited...until he jumped on her a little. Then she was scared. That's ok...it's easy enough to try and get a dog to stop jumping. Plus we figured that it was just the excitement of everything being new since he's normally very very mellow. We decided to keep him and the owners, although very sad to leave him...they were glad that we were a family that would be able to spend more time with him.


Everything was going great. We knew that we wouldn't want to keep the name Jackson since that already belonged to our Jackson, so Dan decided he wanted to name him Tonka....as in Tonka truck! LOL


After a little while was when the problems started. Everytime Keira would jump around just being a toddler, he would jump at her. It was really starting to freak her out. He was just a goofy big lug and didn't appear to be trying to be aggressive...he was just getting excited, right?


I had to go to work the next morning, so I went to bed. After a couple of hours, Dan woke me up. He said he was so sorry to wake me up but he really didn't think that things were going to work out with the dog. It had gotten to the point where if she even MOVED, he would jump on her. Keira was afraid to leave the couch for fear of being knocked down and now Dan said he even snapped at her. Dan called the owner and told him the bad news and he was fine with taking Jackson back. I came out to the living room to watch Jackson/Tonka and the first thing Keira said to me from the couch shaking her head was "Me no wan no new doggie". She looked miserable, sad and scared. Dan took Keira in to brush her teeth and settled into bed. After they finished, I went back to bed, but I tell you, I couldn't sleep....


I felt so horrible! I realized now that I made a terrible mistake and how I possibly could have put my daughter in danger. I think that I allowed myself to get so wrapped up in "the signs" that I was just so dead set on this dog "belonging" with us and being "meant to be" that I was ignoring everything else. Apparently the signs were to say, No! It's a bad idea....and when I wouldn't listen, the signs moved over to Dan and he didn't want to listen either!


So we have to say goodbye to the Tonka Truck. When I woke up to go to work, I gave him a hug and said goodbye. He really truly is a very nice dog and hopefully will go to a good family that will take care of him with either no children or children that are much older. He's just too much of a big boy...mind you, he's 45 pounds, which isn't very big, but that is 45 pounds of all muscle in a little compact body. That combination can do some serious damage to a small child. Laura, Keira's godmother is going to watch Keira this morning while Dan takes Jackson/Tonka back up to L.A. He was even afraid to have them in the car together for fear that he might snap at her in the car and they would have possibly ended up in a car accident with Dan trying to hold him back. I'm sad about it. He really was a great guy, but Keira is and will always be our first priority....and I know that we made the right decision to let him go back home.

One of these days, we'll find the right dog that fits in perfectly with our family...ones of these days! I haven't given up hope....I know that he/she is out there, but this definitely was an eye opener and I'll have to make sure that I'm much more careful with the decisions that we make for the sake of everyone involved.

1 comment:

Christy said...

I went through the SAME thing! We adopted a foxhound mix named Annie and tried for five months to train her but she wouldn't stop knocking the kids down and running away. It was a nightmare! Now we have a Havanese and I couldn't ask for a better dog. She is AWESOME with the kids--just ask Tuesday! :) The average weight is 7-11 lbs but they can be as much as 15 (like ours). They are a rugged little dog so you don't have to worry about the fragility that a lot of small dogs have. They are very sweet, smart, and love kids--I highly recommend them!