My wife Christina and I are idiots.
That’s only slightly self-deprecating. The world works in unusual ways…you may remember that a few weeks ago someone wrote in about a dog breed known as a Sheprador…half German Shepherd, half Labrador Retriever. At the time, I commented that my wife and I would be curious about such a dog, since we own two Shepherds and a Lab.
And then last week, we got an email from a listener that I didn’t read on the air, whose mother has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and as a result, the letter writer had taken on mom’s dog…a sheparador named Callie. The listener wrote us for help because she was having no luck with all of the various rescue groups and shelters (which is a common problem these days after the Paradise fires as all dog rescue groups are overloaded). I sent the email to my wife with the note “I’m going to regret sending this the minute I hit send, but should we?”
And of course, Christina had the same reaction I did…we have to.
We met the listener and Callie on Sunday. She’s a black lab (the dog, not the listener) with Shepherd ears, basically. Immediately, you can see the lab and shepherd in her. She’s hyper (lab) and has serious ADD (lab) but is whip smart (shepherd). The listener is an admitted non-pet owner; very self-aware. She and her husband know they aren’t giving Callie what they need…and Christina and I, in the moment, know that Callie is an extraordinary challenge. She’s not a bad dog…not at all…she needs exercise, attention, discipline and routine. All of the things we and our pack can provide.
Keep in mind that my wife is in law school and I am running a company but hey, why not add a fourth dog, right? As my wife would say “what are we doing here?”
But we had to. The listener knew Callie needed better and knew we could give her better. We immediately knew we could give her better and we immediately recognized she would be a project to say the least; but a project we could handle. Kind of. And so, our lives have changed entirely. And for the better, but not without challenges.
Callie is not spayed and our shepherds, Maestro and Nellie, seem to have a real problem with that. Meanwhile our lab Scout couldn’t care less and he and Callie have become best friends.
Point being…Callie is the poster dog for why the expression “adopt don’t shop” is so damned stupid. Callie does not belong in the hands of just anyone. She needs us…and apparently, we need her for reasons I’m not quite clear on just yet. She is going to be a project, a handful, a challenge, and more. And Christina and I are ready, willing, and able to give her what she needs. But a moron, who just wants a pretty dog, and has no concept of how to handle a Callie would ruin this animal. We will not only not ruin her, we will make her…as the listener said in her email to me after we took Callie, she has been “upgraded to her best life.”
And so, we’re embarking on a new journey. Yes, we now have four dogs, weighing a combined 350 pounds and God only knows what we’re in for but somehow we feel slightly altruistic. This animal needed someone and we’re that someone. To watch Christina and Callie bond is almost as amazing as to watch Scout and Callie play; it’s symbiosis. Google it.