The only thing worse than losing our beautiful, brave, perfect dog Dee Dee after 17 years was living in a still, dogless apartment afterwards. The very soul of our home had disappeared. The grief was overwhelming and paralyzing, but the void of having no dog at all was unbearable.
I started trolling pitbull rescue websites a week after Dee Dee left us. They were strangely unresponsive to my inquiries. So I turned to San Francisco’s Animal Care and Control’s website. I started scrolling through the images when I saw her. Tammy was a chunky, 6 month old, big headed grey pitbull with a bite history. I chose her because, in my grief, I believed that Dee Dee had psychically communicated to me while I was on a trail run that my next dog would be a grey female pitbull. And also I knew that a bite history with a pitbull in the pound was pretty much a death sentence.
I called up the ACC and it turned out the “bite history” was her tooth hitting a volunteer’s hand when she jumped up on her during a walk. She was three days into her 10 day hold to be cleared for rabies. I became her advocate, calling every day to check on her. When I came in on the eleventh day to visit her for the first time they told me she was unavailable. Some lady had been calling about her every day for a week so she’s reserved for her. “Oh, that was me!” I laughed.
I was ushered into a cement floored room to meet Tammy. The tech brought her in. She was a big headed puppy that sat down for the treats I brought. She wasn’t Dee Dee though. But since I called so often I felt responsible for her. I took pictures and told them I’d bring my husband that afternoon.
Britt was in love with Dee Dee and could barely think straight during his grief, much less decide on getting another dog. He big heartedly agreed to meet her when I asked him to. A few hours later we were waiting in the meet and greet room when Tammy pulled herself and the tech into the room with us. She gave me a quick sniff in greeting and then immediately went and sat on Britt’s lap. She was polite and engaged with us and calm for a puppy. But she wasn’t Dee Dee.
“What do you think?” I asked Britt, unsure myself.
“I just don’t know.” He said. “I , I don’t know. If you get her I know I’ll love her and if you don’t, I’ll be fine too.”
Could we love another dog?
We sat with her until our time was up, trying to decide what to do. When the tech came in we had pretty much decided we weren’t ready for a new dog and that Tammy would just have to wait for another savior. That is the moment when Tammy saved herself. When the tech pulled on her leash to go, she resisted. He pulled again and she put her head down and tried to plant her feet on the slippery floor. He managed to slide her out the door but with no help at all from Tammy. He scooted her down the long hallway with her looking over her shoulder at us the whole time, never breaking eye contact.
Britt and I looked at each other. “I’ll pick her up in the morning.” I said.
The next morning, armed with new toys and bones, I picked up Tammy who we renamed Jasmine. Our life with the sweetest, most loyal, scared and stubborn dog we’ve ever met, began.