My First Dog
A video by the artist NEeMA for a song called “Elsa’s Lullaby” (google it, get a tissue!) made the rounds on Facebook and found me yesterday. It is a very sweet song and video about the singer’s relationship with her dog. I watched it with tears pouring down my face. It reminded me of my first (as an adult) dog, Sweet Georgia Brown Dog. Later that evening I started bawling again just thinking about the video and my own relationship with Georgia.
Georgia was a German Shepherd/Collie/Husky(?) mix who I adopted while working at PAWS, an animal shelter north of Seattle. I was in my mid-twenties, single with 2 cats. Georgia was about a year old and had kennel cough. I was on euthanasia duty that night and we were out of kennel space. She was on the list. I wasn’t even really a “dog person,” I always preferred cats but that night I thought, “this is ridiculous, she’s cute, nice, tri-colored, she will get adopted. I’ll just take her home for a few days.” She was with me for another 15 years until she died of bone cancer a little over a year ago.
I am currently searching for my third dog and have been thinking of Georgia a lot lately. I’ve met a lot of great dogs in my search but so far, none have seemed to “click.” I am certainly analyzing the dogs much more harshly now because I know so much more. The only analyzing of Georgia I did was to make sure she was good with my cats and when she passed that test I fell in love. I’m starting to wonder if anyone will click in the same way as Georgia and I did. I certainly loved my second dog too but it never felt quite the same. When I first adopted Georgia it was just the two of us. I didn’t have a husband, child, and business of my own to take care of. She was there when I met my husband, had my son and built my business. In fact she quite literally changed my life – I fell in love with dogs and built an entire business from that love.
After that first dog, I wonder if we ever get to have that same precious and close relationship with our dogs that follow. Is there even room for that kind of relationship now that we have all these other people and things that need our attention? When Georgia “happened” to me I wasn’t looking for a dog and certainly not one that had to fit all of the criteria that is now my life (“must be good with dogs, cats, kids”). I need a family dog now, not a dog for me. I have to remind myself that Georgia wasn’t perfect. She had pretty bad separation anxiety. Of course, that wasn’t too much of a problem since she went everywhere with me. “If my dog’s not invited, I’m not coming!” My age and attitude have since matured. But I remember her perfect, the perfect dog for me. I’m not sure it’s possible but I truly hope I get to repeat that kind of love with a dog in my future.