My blog will start just the way it should, with Cruz’s first day at the beach. After graduating college, and going through a job hunting slump, I finally got the yes I was waiting for. My dog friendly home equipped with dog lovers and dogs alike, finally had room for me to have my very own. But it was not as easy as I had hoped; we had a lot of requirements. One: must be submissive enough to get along with our once physically abused and emotionally damaged rescue dog, Kiki Dee. Two: playful enough to run around with our two year old rambunctious boy, Billy Joel, yet still submissive enough to not mind his toy stealing ways. Lastly, gentle enough to not rile our geriatric Chihuahua, Shanikwa. At six pounds, fifteen ounces, she ruled the house; never moving and never barking. She only sat and surveyed her kingdom, giving side eye to any who dared steal her pillow. That was just the requirements of the house, I still had a list of my own. I have a love for Australian Cattle Dogs, having been raised with them my entire life. So my dog had to be at least part cattle dog, I prefer floppy ears, downward facing tail, smart, loyal, adventurous, and it had to be a rescue. No puppy mills. I wanted to teach my pup well enough to let him off leash when we went hiking, to follow me freely, come when I called, sit and stay when I commanded, and I had some specialty commands in mind.
We went through round one, which consisted of weeks and weeks of traveling to all the shelters in the area, and I found the sweetest dog. Her name was Bug. Or at least that’s what I called her. She was a victim of neglect and when we adopted her from the South Central Animal Shelter in LA, she had no less that forty gigantic, breeding, blood sucking ticks. She earned her name, and her different colored eyes had me sold in a heartbeat. She was timid around humans, but she just had to learn to trust us. We took her home and introduced her slowly to our other dogs, but she mostly just slept for the first few days. After that, she started growling. After a week she had gone after the queen of the house, not once, but twice. The second time she sunk her teeth deep into my dad’s hand when he reached into save Shanikwa. From the size of his scar, it is still clear today that Bug did not belong in our house. So after months of effort, I was back at square one with a broken heart from having to drop a dog off at the pound for the first time in my life.
I went back to rescue websites and tried in vain to contact rescue agencies seeking up to $500 for a middle aged rescue dog with health problems. I stumbled upon a woman who had rescued puppies from a pound after a pregnant stray had got picked up. I remembered seeing the puppies months prior and thinking other dogs needed to be rescued desperately and these swoon worthy puppies would have happy homes in no time. But they were still there without homes months later, and after dealing with such an aggressive dog, I thought a puppy I could train and socialize myself would be the safest bet. I adopted Cruz, formerly known as “Puppy 1” a week later. He was the most social in the litter, and he knows it, because as I type this his head in my lap. The day I met him, he ran right up to me and sat in my lap.
Fast forward a few weeks later after getting to the vet, finishing up final rounds of shots, and getting started on some basic commands, we made it to the beach. It was then that I had a single crystallizing thought. “This dog is worthy of a blog.” My recent life goal of teaching a dog to surf with me (I can only surf small waves anyway) may become a reality with this one. He fearlessly putted around in the water, and freely followed me up and down the beach. Like a new mom, I feel the need to brag about the accomplishments of my five month old bundle of joy. I was so proud and confident in his brilliant abilities as we wandered around and found a wooden teepee someone had built out of driftwood on the beach. My supermodel of a puppy posed flawlessly. It wasn’t until five minutes later when I was taking in the views of Cruz happily rolling in the sand with a beautiful marine background, that I realized that what he was rubbing all over himself was a corpse of a dead animal much larger than either of us.
Welcome to our adventures.