~By Skye (Mom)
When I began to write this article about me and my rescue pup, multiple questions popped into my head. Like should I tell them about the time Aspen dug a hole in my brand new mattress? Or the time she destroyed my favorite baseball cap that I can't get replaced because they no longer make them.
I say all that to say this, no pup is a perfect one but boy are they worth it. So here is the story or Aspen and Skye. Aspen (aka Scuba to FCAR volunteers) is now a 3 1/2 year old German Shepherd/ Lab mix (we think). She is my partner in crime and does everything with me. And when I say everything. I mean EVERYTHING! She goes to work with me, bikes with me, kayaks, runs, naps, wrestles, shops, and even goes to restaurants with me. Luckily we just moved to a very dog friendly town in AL. But this is now. After almost 3 years of bonding and training. The first year...was a battle to say the least.
I'll start out with how I met Aspen (I call her Spen). I was living in an apartment in Corinth, MS, and was incredibly lonely. I started at PetFinder.com and t asked what breed I was looking for, age, my zip code, and tons of other questions. The first puppy that popped up on my search was my Spen! She had those massive German Shepard ears that were bigger than her head and a smile from one big ear to the other. She was super young in the pictures, definitely still a puppy.
Well Aspen had been in the shelter almost a full year before we met. FCAR had actually put her in a foster home prior to me adopting her. So I contacted the shelter and they put me in contact with her foster mom, Alisa. It was a cold day in December when I drove the hour to finally meet this puppy I was so excited about. I pulled up to this huge farm with horses and fields for days. I met Alisa and then out came Spen. She was kind of stand off-ish and a bit older than the photo I had seen, but still just as gorgeous as I imagined. I was so dumbfounded in the thought of "why hasn't someone adopted this dog?".
But Aspen was independent. She didn't like being petted on the head, or people in her personal space. She wasn't super affectionate. But neither am I! She wasn't the typical dog. But hey, I'm not typical either. That was my thought at least. We immediately clicked. Alisa said I bonded more than anyone had ever with Aspen and it was instantaneous. So the minute I left I called my landlord and was told the heartbreaking news - I couldn't have a dog over 25 pounds in my apartment. Aspen was 60! So I decided that day that I would move. Just to get this dog. It sounds crazy now and even more so then but that's what I did.
It took me over a month to find an apartment that would allow a dog Aspen's size. I was terrified that someone would adopt her while I couldn't. The day I signed that lease, I adopted Spen! It was February the 13th of 2015. The day I picked her up I was moving into my new place. A more expensive, even smaller place, but it was so worth it to have Spen! The first year was tough. She had accidents inside even though she was already potty trained. She had never been on a leash and was so strong. She drug me everywhere. She was wild. She tore up things, peed on things, and wouldn't sleep through the night. But we went to dog training, spent plenty of time together, and learned each other. And not once did I ever think about taking her back to that shelter when things got tough. She was my baby!
Now, almost 3 years later, she is the best dog! She's a momma's girl but loves everyone! She's let her guard down and cuddles with her momma (mostly hogs the bed) every night. And she has this sweetness in her eyes that I didn't see before. She no longer has to be independent because she has me! I get told on a daily basis that's she's so sweet and so pretty. That she's such a good dog. It makes me smile because her and I have both worked so hard! Now I can't imagine my life without her. I can't thank FCAR and especially Alisa enough for fighting for us to be together. She's the best thing that's ever happened to me. We are coming up on her 4th birthday in January and our 3 year "gotcha day" anniversary in February. She's super healthy and full of personality. FCAR and Alisa changed my life!