It has been brought to my attention that the Kotyk family has a history of adopting dogs in the month of December and in fact, all of our dogs became family members during this month. So why do we tend to open our home to the canine community this time of year? Perhaps we are feeling extra giving during the holiday season. Maybe it’s just fate. Who knows. In the end, we’ve gotten some great friends to call our own.
In December of 1992 we got Sam. My parents knew the people who had the mother so we all went up there in November to go meet the pups. A few weeks later we brought home Sam who, within only a few days after arriving here, proved to be a lot of work. How could such a teeny tiny little creature escape from such a tall pen?? Sam had a mind of her own and there was no way we could ever contain that dog. Ok, I'm beng nice here. Sam was the biggest pain in the ass to ever live. She had the spirit and ego of a Rottweiler but was in the pint-sized package of a Shit-zu. She barked at everything that moved and the only thing we could ever do was just accept her for what she was and try not to shake the living daylights out of her when she rebelled against our every command. Proof of how tough this dog was is that the vet had to wear leather gloves when she was on his table and she survived being attacked by a coyote. She may have been a handful but she was ours. Sam was put down at the ripe old age of 18 (nearly 2 years ago) and will never be forgotten.
It was December of 1997 when Rizzo joined the family. My mom and I went along with a neighbour to “look at” a litter of pups up in Fruitvale and when I saw that one little puppy I just picked her up and never put her down until we got home. For the first year I wasn’t sure if mom would let me keep Riz because she was such a handful (we couldn’t keep her in the yard no matter the measures we put in place) and mom was concerned that Riz would never stop growing! But Rizzo’s size and energy started to level off and she grew into the great dog we all love. Sure she has some issues...like she's obsessed with sucking on her blanket, any toys that squeak and she wants to eat any small white dog that crosses her path. She’s 13 now and it’s hard to watch her grow old. She’s gotten much older physically the past 2 years which is sad. The walks have to be shorter and we can’t play the way we used to because she gets too sore. It’s hard to believe that she used to be able to outrun any dog that she met and could pull us across the room during a game of tug-of-war. Why do dogs have to get old? It's not fair.
Then there’s Splash. I adopted Splash from the SPCA when I used to live in Nelson. It was December of 2005 and I was going through a hard time when I was volunteering at the shelter there. I think I was drawn to Splash because we were both these neglected creatures looking for a companion to share our lives with. Bringing Splash home was instant happiness. She was a lot of work in the beginning because she had some major trust issues and hated men, skateboards and baby strollers(?). We went to a dog trainer which helped some of her issues. We went everywhere together. Unless I was going to work, Splash came along with me. When I decided to move to PEI, leaving her behind with my sister was the hardest part of leaving BC. My friends and family could still talk to me over the phone or via email, but Splash would never understand where I was going and why I disappeared from her life. Plus I’m the best dog-walker in the world and I knew she’d miss our giant walks! Splash is my heart. She’s just so sweet, forgiving and patient.
Now some of you reading this may wonder why I am devoting an entire post to the dogs. I’m guessing that the same people who wonder this are also people who have never had a dog. When they get hurt or sick, there’s nothing you won’t do or price you won’t pay to make them better because they are your family and you’d do anything for your family.
So now it's December again and I have been told to steer clear of all dog shelters and pet stores. Damn.