We got Acorn when he was 4.5 months old. He was already broken – scared, shy, hesitant. Whatever had happened to him before we got him was enough damage to last a lifetime. Even now, a year and some days after we brought him home from Mississippi, he cowers every time he goes in or out of the back door; he remains terrified of wood/linoleum/tile floors; he begs for attention constantly. He’s the same nervous baby nugget we brought home with us, cowering, terrified, alone. He’s a beta, through and through. (Nothing wrong with that, of course.)1
I’m so very happy that our rescue situation worked out for us – he definitely needed a lot of love and discipline, but at his core, he’s the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet. Trouble, definitely, but the best kind. I’m so grateful that he found us and that he’s melded so well into our lives. I feel for people who’ve loved and had to let go of dogs who just aren’t a good fit. I know it’s hard and horrible, and I respect the choice to let them go. I hate it (for both human and dog) but I know that sometimes, it’s the only option. (It also helps that Acorn had probably never seen a cat – or been inclined to attack anything – our cat Carlos hates him, but they’ve come to tolerate each other – when Acorn isn’t trying to eat the cat’s wet food.)
Our dog needed so much love to bring him into the confident dog he is today. He’s bad, but only when he hasn’t been walked enough. Case in point: the last three days. No walks = chewed up papers all over the house, chewed up trash in the backyard, catching him in the alley in the morning after I’ve let him out.
He doesn’t run though. Our yard is open, and we live on a busy street. He hangs out in the backyard, and every now and then we’ll find him in the front yard, lounging, or the alley, where, when called, he’ll guiltily sneak back through the gate like he hasn’t been gone. He doesn’t even approach the post man. He knows we’re his family. He begs for our attention, which I hate, but tolerate since I understand how much of it we had to give him in the beginning to earn his trust.
We couldn’t have been luckier. That post in the New York Times reminds me how lucky we are to have such a funny, expressive, adorable fur-child in our lives.