There's something I've been not wanting to write about for a while now, but these past few weeks tell me maybe it's time. Shortly after Tom and I bought our town house eight and a half years ago, we were in a Petsmart I believe, and there was a German Shepherd rescue organization with a sign up sheet to be foster parents to a dogs that they received. The rescue didn't have a facility so when they received dogs from pounds or animal control or were found as strays, they had to have foster houses lined up so they could place the dogs. We had decided we were interested in this type of thing and put our names down.
Not long after, and I mean a week or so, we received a call saying they were getting a German Shepherd who had been injured and was being scheduled for surgery, but would need a home when she was ready to be released. I was home for the summer at that point and after discussing it, we agreed. I was so excited I went out and bought her dishes, a leash, and some toys. We didn't really know the extent of her injuries and we were only signing up to foster, not adopt yet. The day we went to go pick her up she came out of the room and could only walk on three legs. Her injured leg had been almost completely shaved, along with parts of her two front legs where they had put it in the IV's. We found out that in her previous foster home, she had been attacked by the owner's other dog and had sustained ligament damage. She was small and only weighed 45 pounds. When we got her home she snuggled into her crate and would limp ever so carefully when we took her to go to the bathroom. She was immediately sweet and already the bond was forming. They had called her Raquel at the rescue, but that certainly wasn't going to stay so we chose Jaina.
After a few months of fostering, we both knew she was ours. We made the decision to adopt her and I've never looked back. My poor baby came to us in bad shape, but after a year she was walking pretty well on all four legs. After her initial check up from our vet, we also found out she had early hip disyplasia and we immediately started her on glucosamine to help alleviate any future issues. We took her with us when we could. She loved the car, but wasn't a fan of other animals like cats, and definitely not dogs. She, understandably, had some serious dog issues that we tried to work on at various times and she was better sometimes than others. She was our baby and she was spoiled. She adores people and is fiercely protective. When Tom was out of town on various occasions, I never once worried about being alone when I had her with me. She has always been Tom's dog, but we had our own bond.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was sure she knew before I did. She had been following me around the house everywhere I went. This was something she usually only did when I was sick. For as much as she was Tom's, she always stayed by me when I wasn't feeling well. She would lay next to me when I was on the couch and sleep on the floor on my side at night. She has been one of the smartest animals I've ever seen, incredibly addicted to her routine, and insanely snuggly.
When we were in the hospital with Tera, Tom brought home one of Tera's blankets so Jaina could smell it. We were a little worried about how she would react because she has always been our baby, but when we came home, without Tera at first, Jaina was sleeping on the blanket. When we did finally bring her home, Jaina sniffed her a few times, and then didn't leave her side. When people came to visit, she watched their every move. If we took Tera out somewhere, she was waiting at the door when we came back to make sure we brought her back. She's licked her I don't know how many times and as Tera finally started to become more aware of her surroundings, she became her new best friend. Tera literally squeals when she sees her and spends much of her time on the floor trying to get closer to Jaina to "pet" her.
The part that is hard to write is that last June Jaina was diagnosed with cancer. We opted not to do chemo because in the course of the time we've had her, she's had a toe amputated, hookworm, two open sores, arthritis, bad hips, ligament surgery, been sprayed by two skunks, and got violently ill when we switched her food once. We didn't think she could take the chemo and we knew we couldn't. They told us without it, she had about 6 weeks to 3 months to live. Here we are in April and she's still with us. But I'm not sure for how much longer. This was a decision I never wanted to make and I'm still not sure how we'll do it, but we know it's getting close.
I'm glad I chose to spend more time on the good parts and not the bad, but I'm pretty sure in the near future it will have a different tone.