Origin 1: Nigra
Once I had graduated college, moved back from Tennessee, and was preparing for grad school, I knew I would need a companion to share my apartment with. Evan and I were engaged by this point, which meant any companion I chose would eventually be shared by Evan and I. I spent the summer looking for a pet that would meet my needs. I was looking for a pup. While I think cats are okay, my sister is a super-powerful asthmatic and is allergic. Plus, there was only one cat I had ever met that was interactive enough for me and he belonged to my future brother-in-law. His name is Trouble and I call him a dog-cat. So I continued my search. I looked in shelters because I thought it would be nice to give a home to a pup that really needed one, but they were all too big. All of the apartments I had looked at so far had requirements that dogs had to be 25 lbs. or less. For some reason, every dog in the shelters was over 50. I turned to the newspapers. Dogs from breeders tend to be expensive (although less so than pet stores), but my mom and I kept searching just in case. One day in late July, my mom saw an ad that seemed promising. A breeder had a litter of Shelties for sale. We called and set up an appointment to take a look at them.
We traveled to Muncie, where Evan was at school working at a Journalism workshop at Ball State, and found the house where the breeder lived. She led us (my mom, my brother and sister who were 9 at the time, and I) to a barn where there was a small corral of 4 small little puppies. 3 of them were excited, hyper, and ready to greet us. They came to me and licked me and hopped all over me and then ran past me to my mom and siblings. Then came the one in the corner. She had waited there until the others ran past and then slowly came toward me. I knelt down to greet her and she very carefully put one paw on my knee and looked me in the eye. Right then I knew. My heart melted. She had picked me. I scooped her up and told the lady I would take her. She nuzzled in and I petted her while I paid for her and signed the paperwork we needed for her AKC papers. And then she was mine.
I had a notecard with a list of names that I was thinking about for a pup. Lucy and Winston were two of my frontrunners, but something about this pup said she should be called Nigra. Nigra was on my list, but it wasn't a name that suited just any dog. But since she seemed so different, Nigra was it. We drove over to Ball State so Evan could meet her. She was scared of the car and climbed up my chest and sat on my shoulder.
Nigra and I have been inseparable ever since. I tease that she is an extention of myself, but really it's true. We have our own language and we are connected. One morning I awoke to find her facing me (she slept on the other side of the bed, like a human) with one of her paws on each side of my face and she was asleep. It was precious. She turned 5 at the beginning of this month and I can hardly believe it.
Origin 2: Raible
Raible's introduction into our life isn't as long. Mostly because she was an accidental enterance into our lives. It was January and I was on my way to the laundromat on my day off from doc school when I noticed a dog in the middle of the street. People were honking and yelling at it, telling it to get out of the way. I drove past, figuring someone would come out of their house and get it. The dog was also not in the best area of town, so I wasn't overly interested in finding out more about the situation. As I kept driving, though, I kept hearing the honking and such and it got the best of me. I knew I had to turn around. I didn't really know what would happen, but I also couldn't let that dog get hit by a car. I turned down a side street and got out of the car. I started saying, "Here, puppy" (not knowing what else to say), even though the dog was at least 50 pounds and obviously NOT a puppy. It took about 5 to 10 minutes of coaxing, but she finally turned and walked toward me down the street. Once she reached me, neither of us knew what to do. I wanted her to get in the car, but I didn't know if I should touch her. She was covered in burrs and scared. I opened the car door and tried to nudge her in, but she wouldn't go. Eventually I hoisted her inside the car and got back into my seat. The moment I fastened my seat belt and started the car, she came through the front seats and crawled onto my lap. That was the moment I knew we would be best friends. She had chosen me to protect her.
We put an ad in the paper, but no one claimed her. Well, the humane society tried to, but they weren't successful. They called in response to our ad and asked if I would bring her by so they could see if she was one of theirs who had escaped. I put her in the car and drove her there. My first sights of the humane society building should have told me to never stop the car and to keep going. The fence was falling down and the building was somewhat crooked. We went inside and 3 elderly ladies greeted us. One of them was convinced that she was their dog, one stated she had never seen that dog in her life, and the third wasn't sure. While they were deciding, Raible decided that the best place for her was in my lap. That was answer enough for me. I thanked the ladies for their time and told them if we decided we couldn't take care of her, we'd bring her back. I was thinking earlier today how our lives would be drastically different without her - if I had never gone to the laundromat that day and hadn't picked her up. She was meant to be part of our family.
She's been with us ever since. It was 2 years in January.
Origin 3: Fauna Leena
In April of last year, Evan decided he was not complete without 3 dogs. We originally sought out a little Jack Russell we called Fossa Brown. I did not feel the initial oneness with Fossa that I felt with the other 2, but Evan thought we should try it out.
Needless to say, Fossa did not love us. Well, she loved Evan for a short time, but after discovering she was deaf and would rather live in her house of Jack Russells, we gave her what she wanted. Evan still felt incomplete.
I kept looking online for other possibilities of pups for us. Evan wanted a small dog, but Fauna's ad and picture struck me. I asked him if he would be interested in going to see her. He agreed, and we drove the 45 minutes to go see her. We got out of the car and went to the pen where she was being kept. The instant we met her, she showered us with kisses and we decided she was for us. She chose us and decided we would be good parents. She's been a neurotic mess ever since, but I don't think she would be happy anywhere else.
That was one year and 2 months ago. Her birthday is in 2 weeks. She'll be 2.
For now we are content. Someday though, I'm sure another pup will decide it needs us.