Bloggers I have big news — back on May 29th, after weeks of emails and waiting, J and I finally met our new fur baby!
Introducing . . .
Our 2 year old bulldog/lab mix — Miss Kitty from Texas!
Now I know what you’re thinking — who would name a DOG KITTY?!?!?!
J and I thought the same thing at first. But then we discovered that this fur baby was found emaciated and lactating on Kitty Hawk Road near San Antonio, Texas. The name felt more suitable after we heard her story, and we decided to take it as a sign that this pup was meant to be ours since we’ve frequently vacationed in Kitty Hawk, NC.
I’ll spare you the heartbreaking photos of what Kitty looked like the day her foster mom found her darting in and out of traffic. But every bone of her spine was clearly visible and several of her boobies were the size of water balloons. While Kitty was safe after her foster mom scooped her up, her puppies or an owner were never found (although an owner who would dump a pregnant/nursing dog doesn’t deserve to have her back).
Fast forward several months when J and I decided to start the search for a new fur baby after Comet’s passing. Since neither one of us had adopted a pet in over thirteen years, we didn’t realize that searching even local pet shelters cross-referenced you with the massive online database across the entire country. Thanks to some error in search parameters, Miss Kitty kept popping up on our screen, and neither one of us could resist her adorable face or her story that tugged at our heartstrings.
When we realized she was over 1500 miles away, my anxiety definitely perked up. How would she get to us? What if we didn’t “click?” Would she be traumatized after a journey that far? What if something happened to her on the way to Pittsburgh?
The first time we talked to Kitty’s foster mom calmed most of my fears. I learned that transporting adoptable dogs is a fairly common practice these days, and that the rescue organization that Kitty was being adopted through transported pets all over the country on a regular basis. Once Kitty’s foster mom gave us the thumbs up for adoption, we signed some electronic forms, paid her adoption fee, and the wait began!
The process took several weeks, which was delayed for two additional weeks thanks to the travel restrictions due to COVID. When the day finally came, I was experiencing all sorts of emotions — I was still worried about something happening to her convoy as they sped towards Pittsburgh; I was afraid she’d be scared of us or hate us; I worried they’d bring us the wrong dog or not show up at all. At one point I became convinced that the entire thing was a scam and that we were going to get kidnapped and sold as sex slaves.
And as dumb as it sounds, when we piled into our SUV to go pick her up, the realization that Comet was really, truly gone forever crashed down around me.
When the transporters with God’s Dogs Rescue finally arrived, Kitty had to be carried out of the van. She was trembling uncontrollably and absolutely terrified. J and I immediately gathered her in our arms, whispering calming words of love, and I promptly burst into tears. I was so happy she was finally ours but I was heartbroken that she was so terrified.
As soon as we got her home, though, Kitty was immediately affectionate and incredibly gentle. She even found the courage to play and had a healthy appetite right off the bat. Her separation anxiety was apparent from the get go, as she trembled anytime someone left a room for the first 24-48 hours. She was also scared of our steep staircase and our dishwasher, but all things considered, our first weekend together went pretty well.
While J had taken a couple of days off of work to help get Kitty acclimated, I had to go back to work the following Monday, and I was a bundle of nerves. Those nerves became raging anxiety when J returned to work, and I was absolutely beside myself those days that she was completely alone for hours at a time. Since I work 15 minutes from home, I came back for lunch, but my mind was constantly going a million miles a minute. Even though we had puppy-proofed our home, I was afraid she’d find something to eat or destroy. I kept picturing puddles of pee and piles of poop scattered throughout the house. My worst fear was that she was going to be so traumatized from the separation that it was going to negatively effect her health.
At the end of her first week, we had a rough couple of days. Kitty accidentally head-butted me in my cheek when I bent over to grab her ball, causing me to stumble backwards and hurting me badly enough that I was sore for a couple of days. I can’t believe she didn’t leave a bruise. She had three accidents three days in a row — all while we were home with her! And then on Friday, my neighbor texted me around 11am telling me that Kitty had been barking nonstop for hours.
I think the rescue people call this the “testing the boundaries” phase.
Now I’m well-aware that most of these things are to be expected when adopting a new dog and they’re learning your routine and adjusting to a new place. I expected the accidents, some chewing, and even the anxiety. But I hadn’t dealt with these things in decades, and certainly never in the middle of a global pandemic, when my anxiety was the highest it’s been in ages. Add job-related BS and drama to the mix and you have yourself the perfect recipe for an all-out meltdown panic attack.
When I got the text from my neighbor, I had the worst panic attack I’d experienced in months. I started shaking uncontrollably, my thoughts were spiraling at a million miles a minute, and I couldn’t concentrate on the simplest task. I started crying and hyperventilating and had to lock myself in the bathroom. All I could think was that I was a horrible dog mom and didn’t deserve this sweet pup. I kept thinking of all the possible mistakes I’d made and to make matters worse, I conjured up dozens of worst-case scenarios, from Kitty getting hurt to our neighbors forcing us to get rid of her.
Thankfully, that weekend was much, much better. Kitty continued showing an overflowing amount of affection, took several walks, and even confronted the vacuum cleaner and the lawn mower. And even though I’m still ridiculously nervous whenever we leave for work, we’ve laid out a few plans to help her deal with her anxieties (and mine!) and potential problems, and I’m hopeful that with time, the three of us will develop a plan that works.
Part of me still can’t quite believe she’s here and that she’s all ours. It’s almost like I’m dog sitting. There’s this little stranger in our house and I’m not quite sure what her next surprise is going to be — good or bad.
I feel even more pressure to care for her now, in the beginning, than I did once Comet became a staple in our lives. I want her foster mom to know that she made the right choice in letting us adopt her. I want Kitty to know that she’s safe and that she can trust us and that she won’t ever be abandoned again. I want her to know that we’ll always come home to her.
Most of all, I hope the three of us have many happy years together, just like we did with our sweet Comet.