Today, I’m making Nelson a cake. I haven’t made a cake for human consumption since, uh…I actually don’t remember. It’s not important. What’s important is I’m making one for Nelson, because today is his two-year adoptiversary.
Also, we adopted a third dog.
To say this was not in the plan would be an understatement. We didn’t want to adopt a third dog until we were in a bigger house with a bigger yard and lot bigger gap between us and our neighbors. Some more money would have been nice too, but here we are. If you didn’t already know, dog rescue is messy and unexpected and joyful, and this is no exception.
To be honest, I wasn’t particularly attached to Celeste at the beginning. Sure, I thought she was a gorgeous dog with irresistible ears and the potential to be somebody’s fun, athletic, cuddly partner-for-life, but not my fun, athletic, cuddly partner-for-life.
When she was adopted the first time, I felt the general sense of melancholy I do when most dogs leave my house, but that was about it. It was Matt who, over the next few weeks, would periodically say, “I miss Celeste.” When she was returned and clicked right back into our household, we knew we were in trouble, but we were determined to stick it out.
“She can get adopted, I’m just going to cry a lot,” Matt would say. He wasn’t kidding. The day leading up to her next home visit was rough. The trip there was rough. However, the home visit couldn’t have gone better; Celeste seemed to love everyone in the family and was relaxed in the middle of the floor with a chew toy after 10 minutes. After her first family, I was nervous about how she’d do in a home with another kid, let alone FIVE kids, but she was an absolute peach around them. It went so well that, when we got in the car to go home, I told Matt, “If this one doesn’t work out, I’m taking it as a sign that we should keep her.”
I won’t go into any details, but after a fairly innocuous incident, Celeste made it perfectly clear to her would-be family that she was not comfortable there. We always knew she had a little bit of a diva streak, but our girl went full Sassmaster General on these folks. Like it was full-blown, pooping-on-pillows, gurl-don’t-TEST-me rebellion, and it happened literally overnight. I never like to encourage romantic notions like dogs “just pick their people” because it gives people a reason to not put work in; dogs require work and attention, and good relationships and well-behaved dogs don’t just happen, but damn if Celeste didn’t make me question myself. How could she be a little angel with us and immediately lose her halo with two different families?
Thanks to an assessment from the lovely people at Dog Educated, we got the bottom of how a simple whoopsie resulted in a 180-degree attitude change in Celeste. However, despite the best intentions of the family, they didn’t have the know-how to effectively improve the situation, so Celeste came back to us in January. It was another full month of hemming and hawing on our part, but at the beginning of February, we made it final.
Celeste is now Celia (after one of my favorite books characters), and when I say she clicked back into our household, I really mean clicked, like a puzzle piece that had been missing. Niles and Nelson, for as much as they love each other, don’t really play together; Nelson lives for fetch and tug-of-war, and that’s it. Niles wants to chase and be chased and wrestle, and that’s it. Celia loves both these games and both her boys; she will chase and tussle with Niles until they are both panting, and despite being about half Nelson’s height and weight, she will absolutely give him a run for his money in tug-of-war. She sounds like an absolute hellbeast when she plays, but she wins over everybody with her little underbite and expressive, coffee-dark eyes. There’s a lot about her to love, but my favorite thing is when, after she’s tired everyone out, she’ll go over and plant a few quick licks on Nelson’s sleeping head before she curls up in the nearest available lap.
So no, Celia wasn’t exactly in the plan, but I’m awfully glad she’s ours. Welcome back, and welcome home.