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I have some news. While I resisted quite a few quarantine trends – sourdough bread baking, whipped coffee, tiny pancakes – there was one that I couldn’t say no to. I adopted a dog!
Wilhelmina (known as Willie) began her Nashville adventure Saturday, August 1. After a rough start of being found running across the road near the apartment I left in October, she is settling into a life full of love, toys, and a 70 pound goldendoodle roomie.
Willie is a chiweenie – part miniature chihuahua and part dachshund – who weighs around six pounds. Her current hobbies are playing with her Kong balls, sleeping the majority of the day, and playing tug-of-war with her aforementioned big brother Cash.
Willie’s adoption backstory
To be completely honest with you, I had no intentions of adopting a dog until I had a house. I wanted a Chow, and I didn’t feel like it was fair to keep such a large dog in an apartment that was already home to another large dog. But after two weekends of dog sitting my roommate’s goldendoodle around the same time I fell in love with my mom’s teacup chihuahua puppy, I decided I’d like to have a small dog. It would be a good companion while working from home, much more manageable than a large dog, and the housing marketing here has been extra insane due to Covid-19, so who knows if a house would even be a possibility when my lease ends.
I started with rescues in the Nashville area. Compared to previous pet adoption experiences, this felt like a different world. While there was a common set of requirements, each rescue tends to have its own set of additional requirements. I also felt like a couple of organizations had some absurd requirements that intentionally prevented certain groups of people from being able to adopt, and I can’t get down with that. I’m so appreciative of the very difficult work that all of these organizations do, it just wasn’t a good fit for me.
From there, I moved on to the weird world of Craigslist. 0/10 do not recommend. I used to read my friends the “missed connections” posts when we would come home from the bars in college, and I’m very glad (??) to see that it hasn’t changed a bit. It’s lots of pitbulls (which made me sad because I want to rescue all of them), English bulldog breeders, and people looking to rehome a dog that they’re not really sure what it is, but they’d like $200-$600 as a “rehoming fee” to ensure it goes to a good home. Hard pass.
So, I gave up. I decided I’d give this a try a few months from now. And then the next day I got a call about a tiny chihuahua found running across the road that wasn’t chipped, had been deemed a stray, and was about to head to the pound. I was shown one really bad photo of half of the side of her face and exclaimed, “I’ll take it!”
My parents and brother took good care of her until I could come home from Nashville that weekend and bring her back with me. And the rest is history!
What about Francis?
Francis lives with her dad and is alive and well. When I moved back in with my mom in October, I felt it was best for both of them for her to stay with him. He has worked from home for years, and it seemed incredibly unfair and selfish to take her away from such a positive situation. I still see photos of her on social media, and occasionally a friend will see her out on a walk and snap a photo of her to send to me.
Does it break my heart not to be around her? Absolutely. I miss her every day, and I see so many similarities between her and Willie and would love to see them play together. But I also think it would be cruel to uproot a very anxious dog’s very happy life just so that I didn’t have to miss her.
What does Pearl think?
If you’re an OG reader, you remember my cockatiel Pearl. I like to think that if there is a Heaven for birds, Pearl is looking down on us, cat calling Willie, and calling her a pretty girl.
Pearly passed away in January, and to say I was devastated was an understatement. She was old
Enough of that — what’s next with Willie?
Right now, we’re working on potty training. She did really well at the house she stayed at for a few days and my mom’s home after that, but she has started to regress. She has been through a lot of change and definitely struggles with separation anxiety due to that, and I think that’s why potty training has been a bit of a challenge for the two of us. She is also incredibly stubborn.
My mom and I joke that her teacup chihuahua, Maxwell, is me as a child – follows the rules, stays right with her, is pretty quiet – and that Willie is just like my brother as a child – fearless, sneaky, into everything, loves a good mess. So Willie and I are still figuring each other out.
She also really loves the dog park. I would love her to enjoy the passive dog side, but she is happiest on the active dog side, running with doodles and boxers and pitbulls. (My family has a rescue pitbull, and my roommate has a doodle, so she loves both breeds.)
I joke with my friends that I am a helicopter dog mom. She stays leashed at the dog park, I don’t let her walk in parking lots, and my friend Amy’s old Kate Spade bag has become her doggy diaper bag. I’m planning on ordering a ramp for her to get on my bed, because I worry about future hip and back problems. (Maybe with my second fur child I’ll be more chill?) Despite spending most of the day wanting to pull my hair out, when she snuggles up next to me at night, I’m so thankful for this sweet pupper and the kind of unconditional love a dog provides.
Adopting a dog has also been a good reminder that I have the best group of girlfriends – both here in middle Tennessee and back home. We’re all so excited about what the future holds for Willie girl and I.