“Oh Andy”, I find myself saying that about 100 times a day with my new-ish furry friend. You know what i’m talking about? When you open your door to a new family pet, it’s fair to say that in the first few months you are generally always amused, shocked, alarmed or sometimes downright disgusted by some of things you learn your furbaby can do. For instance, Andy’s favourite food seems to be his Step-Brother Rocco’s vomit. Classy.
How did I end up opening my door (and ¾ of my bed) to a 7lb animal? Well I wish it was the world’s most interesting story. I’ll save that for his step-brother Rocco, and another time, that’s more of a war story. Andy’s is pretty common unfortunately. A well intentioned family got him as a puppy for their daughter, the relationship broke down, and it became obvious to them that he would not get the attention he deserved, so he wasn’t always placed in the best situations for the first year of his life. So my radio colleague Claire (who is one of the best dog mamma’s I’ve ever met) kinda took Andy under her wing and looked out for him, lots of sleepovers with her two girl puppies, tummy rubs, walks, you know the drill. But he ultimately needed a forever home.
I was turning into a bit of a couch potato, I’m in a relationship, but (at the time) we lived apart because we love(d) our own space. So I would come home to an empty house, which is never fun after talking about politics, world & local news on the radio – for four hours a day. I had been thinking about rescuing an animal that needed a forever home. It was most likely going to be a cat, as I’ve always been a cat guy (even as a kid). We had both dogs and cats but I always hung with the latter, for whatever reason.. Even when I first moved to Canada 8 years ago I was a volunteer kitten wrangler for one of the local rescue societies here in British Columbia.
So, I had been thinking about it for a long time, I’d watched my partner go through the same thing for over a year, visiting the BCSPCA every couple of weekends, to meet candidates, and see if there was a connection with one of the many adorable and forever home worthy furry friends. It took months for him to meet Rocco. By chance I saw a photo of Andy on Claire’s Instagram, I asked her about him, and found out that he might be looking for a new home. I said “ME” on the spot.
That weekend I met him, he didn’t like me at first – he barked then walked away – but as I do with all animals (even Racoons) I thought he was adorable. Then it fell through, the family had changed their mind. I lamented about what could have been, and got back on with it.
Three weeks pass and I find out, they’re ready to give him up… again. Claire asked if I could come by and get him that weekend, I said yes, walked back to my office, immediately turned around went back to the studio and shouted “Today!” at Claire, that very afternoon my new doggy daddy life started.
Honestly I didn’t even know where to start!
My partner Brian took the lead, we went to Tisol, got him good food, got him new toys, new leather collar, new leather leash, new bedding.
Everything, spoilt him rotten.
I even got the jumbo peanut butter tub knowing that there would be peanut butter stuffed KONG’s on the menu from time to time, It was something I had loved watching Andy’s step-brother Rocco lose his mind over. Who ever knew that a hilariously shaped piece of silicone stuffed with peanut butter would keep a dog occupied for a considerable amount of time?
So, about Andy. Andy is…. well… ON. He’s got more energy that a kid that’s only been eating sugar at the midway. He’s always ready to play, and always ready to roughhouse. He thinks he the biggest dog in the room. (don’t they all?) But he’s more than happy to chill on the couch with me while we watch Colbert.
I made all the mistakes in the first few days, I let him sleep on the bed, i didn’t take him out right away first thing in the morning, i picked him up when he started barking at dogs, you know…. all the mistakes.
We’re on the right track now. He has a trainer named Hayley who teaches him and me how to be better at all things dog, plus she also doubles as his doggy daycare. She usually has anywhere between 3 and 8 dogs a day that she and her crew look after, from other Chihuahua’s to cattle dogs, pit bulls, you name it she has them all and they go for huge forest hikes up in the north shore mountains of Vancouver during the day which is better that sitting in a house all day.
What’s fascinating about Andy is that there wasn’t much structure the first year of his life, so when I got him just before his 1st birthday it was obvious he didn’t even understand “SIT” so we literally had to start at the beginning, and as you know if you’re reading this… It will take time.
In the meantime, I think my radio station CKNW should switch out the green shag pile rug in the producers pit as Andy thought it was grass, and well…you know.
Another thing I discovered tonight, while writing fun things about Andy as he stares at me from the couch he’s still bashful after he was spoken to about stealing my dinner.
On the way home from the radio station tonight I picked up my favourite meal, a rotisserie chicken, I get the leg and thigh…(my favorite part). I make the mistake of getting up from the table, for 30 seconds, to grab a glass of water and while in the kitchen I hear an almighty crash of cutlery….and the scrambling footsteps of a dog being spooked while standing on hardwood floors… (like Scooby & Shaggy when they’d get scared by a ghost). Ya. Like that.
I dunno, I’m still new to this. I might be bad at it, I’ll make a heap more mistakes, but he’s awesome, and I’ve had no end to the offers for people to dog sit him.
How can you not? Looks at that face!
Here are a few extras, just because….
Jody and I met via Twitter, of all things. I invited her to come and fill-in on CKNW — and now she does, a lot. So….if you don’t like it, blame me. (written by Jody)