My Boy

Five years ago this month, I adopted my Giddy. His story was a sad one. He was left in a crate on an access road that runs past a humane society. He weighed around 38 pounds (Boxers typically weigh at least 55 pounds) and had some fresh scratches on his face and nicks on his ears. My friend (and fellow rescue volunteer) Kim took a call from the shelter and retrieved this skinny fawn-colored boy. His age was estimated at around two. We'll never know for sure because most of his teeth had been knocked out, which made it difficult to determine how long he'd been around. A veterinarian surmised that the dog had probably been hit by a car at some point. His left foreleg had been broken but not repaired, leaving the radius and ulna bones permanently twisted. Most of his top teeth were broken off at the root, resulting in exposed nerves and lots of pain. It was too late to fix the foreleg, but we sent him in for surgery to remove the broken teeth. Today, he compensates for the broken leg by walking higher on his toes on that side. He only limps when he's been playing and running a lot.

Kim had named him Reed. I met him when I was at her house for some reason or other (I can't remember now why I was there). My Lucy Annabel had died recently and I had started thinking about adopting a new friend. I knew I needed one who was nothing like her, as any sort of resemblance would have been too painful. I started asking Kim lots of questions about Reed. He seemed like a gentle soul and I liked his face.  "You seem interested in him," she said. "Why don't you just foster him?" This dog was technically a stray and I had an eighteen-month-old daughter at home. We tend not to place strays in homes with small children, simply because we don't know the history of these found dogs. However, I like to think I have some instincts when it comes to dogs and I knew he would not harm my baby. I decided to take him home. 

My husband was not thrilled about having a new dog in the house. Lucy hadn't been gone long and I really think he only had eyes for her. To this day I am not sure he will ever fully accept any other dog. I, however, was immediately smitten with this new boy. Something about his face just sent me (and still does). And, his story made my heart hurt. I couldn't imagine how he must have suffered when his leg broke. I kept picturing him holding it up and hobbling around as the bones healed in their jumbled way. I wish his former owner had surrendered him right away, as we could have had his leg fixed immediately.  Based on his body weight, I'm sure finances were a concern.  About a year later, I took him to visit with an animal communicator and she seemed to confirm this theory. She also said that Giddy lived with a family where the lady loved him but the man did not.

It didn't take long before I began lobbying my husband to make the new dog a permanent member of our home. I don't think he was ever really a foster dog to me. In those early days I would lie next to him on the floor, run my hands over his protruding ribs, and try to imagine all that he had been through.  P put up a minor protest but knew I would never let the dog go.  My next step was to give my new boy a new name.  I didn't care for Reed (just to show you how oddly my brain operates: the name Reed made me think of Robert Reed. That, in turn, would cause me to think about the Brady Bunch and also how sad it was that Robert Reed had to hide his homosexuality all those years. Then I would start wondering why the Bradys had astroturf instead of real grass. And since they had astroturf, why was Mike always telling Greg to mow the lawn? It just didn't make sense. And so on it went.)  I made a list of new names and asked my friends to vote. Ultimately I decided on Gideon, which is frequently shortened to Giddy, Gids, Giddy-up, etc.  Gideon was an important figure in the Old Testament, but I have to confess that I wasn't really thinking of the bible when I named him. I simply liked the name.

We finalized the adoption on January 1, 2007. My rescue friends got together and paid the adoption fee in memory of Lucy.

So, that is the tale of how Giddy came to be my boy. Gretchen is my daughter's dog and Giddy is mine. I absolutely adore him. Sometimes, when he is sleeping, I call to him softy and say, "Are you my boy?" and without opening his eyes, he will wag his nub. Yes, I am your boy.

I took Gideon to obedience classes shortly after adopting him (and later helped him obtain his Canine Good Citizen certificate).  However, he is neither obedient nor a particularly good citizen. He jumps up on visitors, barks and drools in his crate, flings himself at the back door if I don't let him in fast enough, and carries on at mealtime by jumping high into the air as I scoop the food. I believe he suspects that if he doesn't complete the jumping routine, this will be the time I finally decide to stop feeding him. He is a complete goofball, albeit a harmless one. A running joke at our house is, "Watch out for Giddy. He might just bite you with his tooth." He has separation anxiety and has been kicked out of boarding (after breaking out of two crates - apparently he dismantled them completely). His farts are so potent they could "knock a buzzard off a shit wagon" (to borrow a colorful phrase from my stad). I have no explanation for my utter devotion to this silly dog.

Happy five-year anniversary to my sweet boy. I don't know how old you are (your expressive eyebrows are suddenly grey), but I hope you are immortal. I need you to stay with me. Good boy, Giddy. Good boy.