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Adopting Dajah: my first dog
March 29, 2012 - Kari Rose
It was the beginning of August, 2011 and I was doctoring in Rochester. I needed to go back to have things re-checked so my Mom and I set up a time and made the appointment.It was excruciatingly hot and the drive was uneventful. Prior to our trip we had decided that since we could be there one day or three we needed to research some things we could do that would cost very little or nothing at all. One of the things my Mom found as an olympic size, indoor, public swimming pool. I didn't even own a swimsuit so off to the Shopko clearance section we went! It felt great to be in the water and especially to have all that room! The fact that it cost the same as going to the Vogel Arena was a definite bonus. We had a divine meal at an Indian restaurant, which as it turned out has won awards ten years in a row! That was a little more spendy than what we had anticipated, but a wonderful rare treat indeed! We needed sleep desperately and had to wake up for a day of appointments early in the morning. Everything went great at the clinic and I was told that the issue wasn't something that warranted me coming back. Great news...for me and for Mom's wallet!
The previous day we had also decided we would visit Paws and Claws, a non-profit Humane Society run primarily by volunteers. It took us awhile to find it, but it was well worth some backtracking. Since the woman that gave the tour wasn't available for a half hour, we looked at the pictures of the animals up for adoption and talked to the receptionist about how their facility was run. All of the dogs and cats were adorable but my eye zoomed in on a medium sized black and white mix named Dajah. I can't describe what I felt, but I knew she was my dog and I could not leave without her. When the woman came to give us the tour we first saw the cats and kittens. Sadly there were so many just like at all the other shelters and rescues. They were loved and taken care of though and seemed as content as they could possibly be without a 'forever home'. Then we went back by the dogs and I saw her.....Dajah. She was wagging her tail and bouncing around but not barking or jumping. I looked over at my Mom and I think she knew right away to. The volunteer brought her out into a private room so we could spend time with her and she immediately won both our hearts. We were told she was a Boxer and Boston Terrier Mix or a Boxer and Pit Bull Terrier mix. Noone was really sure but I had experience with dogs and with many breeds and this was my girl! We had to leave and my heart sank. I knew that after doctors' appointments the next day we would be coming back. A hotel had re-done all of their rooms and donated the comforters. The volunteers offered to pack Mom's car full for her! That night I cried myself to sleep and woke Mom up at least twice. I just couldn't get Dajah out of my head or my heart.
After everything was said and done at the clinic, we went back to Paws and Claws to load up the car with blankets we would use at the Brown County Humane Society. My Mom asked if I wanted to see Dajah one last time and I asked through my tears "How could you do that to me?". I wanted to see her but I desperately wanted her to come home with me! My heart was broken. I was going to be moving in about two months and I had two adult cats and a boyfriend at the time that thought that that was a horrible combination. To make things worse her picture said 'Adoption Pending"!!!! I went with Dajah into the private room reserved for getting to know the dogs one on one and cried all over her. She kept licking my face. After a while Mom came in and said the car was loaded up. I think she took one look at me and then Dajah and knew she was meant to by my girl because she said "Dajah, do you want to come and live in New Ulm? Do you want to go home?". I left calling the boyfriend up to my Mom and after some paperwork and adoption forms we got Dajah into the car as well...barely! The car had very little space since it was as packed as it could be with the blankets. Dajah sat on my lap, laid her head on my chest and slept for a large portion of the ride home. We were both amazed! Before we hit home we made a stop in Mankato at Pet Expo where Dajah met her first friend, an American Bulldog. Then she saw a little girl. That little girl got so many kisses I don't think she needed a bath for a week!! Everyone was in love with Dajah. Outgoing, energetic, smart, goofy, sweet, gentle and an all around social butterfly, what was there not to love??
There was just one thing...she was a puppy! I had never had my own dog before, let alone a puppy and in fact had just recieved permission to have one where I was living. I knew we would have to work on potty training since I was informed that she was mostly there but not all the way. She ate things though and the cats hated her. Skippy and Casey would hide, hiss, run away, and swat at her. To make things easier I put food and water upstairs were Skippy would hide out and on top of the cupboards where Casey chose to hunker down. Dajah ate probably a half dozen pairs of shoes, a flashlight, pillows, all the cats' toys, her 'indestructible' leash, every toy of her own, blankets, a corner off a chair, the bottom run of a kitchen table chair, and two places on the couch!! It was insanity! There were days she was just horrible and I was ready to pull all my hair out, but I had made a commitment to her and I loved her dearly...no matter how naughty she was. Dajah turned one in January, 2012 and to this day she can still be a pain. When I got her she hadn't had any training. I've trained her myself to not bark at the cats, to sit, stay, shake, 'give', and to walk on a leash without pulling. Okay, so she still pulls like crazy sometimes, but she has come a very long way. I tried the choker but she would have pulled until she was unconscious. I tried a harness and that did no good. I couldn't use her regular collar because she would be dragging me. The gentle leader is what works the best for us and although she's doing well, she is still learning.
She is stubborn, smart, social, and a huge pain in my rear but it would be impossible for me to love her anymore than I do already! She loves cats and even got her own kitten, Quincey. I adopted him from the Brown County Humane Society as a kitten thinking that he would get used to Dajah's extremely high energy level and would maybe even play. Mostly he just smacks her. She loves children and the smaller the better! She loves all dogs but adores tiny ones and tiptoes around them. But most of all she's my girl and she's just simply amazing. She is Dajah.
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For Dajah's first Christmas she had her picture taken with Santa at Shayds of Color. Proceeds went to the Brown County Humane Society.