When Greta, my 3 year old rescue pittie, was first diagnosed with blood cancer, it hit me like a ton of bricks. For the first couple weeks, I walked around in a daze and it constantly felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. Her oncologist told me it could be a matter of a few months, and this was something I just couldn’t wrap my head around. She has become such a huge and positive part of my life, and after having her for less than two years, I just wasn’t ready to let her go. After she had the amputation surgery to get rid of her tumor and she began to heal, it became apparent that she isn’t ready to go anywhere either. Her energy is still up, she is getting around great and she still has a lot of life left in her. She is one tough cookie, and I am continuously inspired by her resilience.
Before she was diagnosed, I started thinking about fostering a second dog. I have a very flexible work schedule and was finally feeling financially stable enough to help out another furry friend. This idea was put on the back burner while figuring things out with Greta, but soon after she healed from her surgery, I was more interested than ever in a second dog. But, given the circumstances, I decided to adopt instead of just foster. I felt like it would really help Greta enjoy her time left, give me some comfort for the future, and then there was the added bonus of providing another dog with a very loving home.
When I mentioned to some of my close friends and family that I was considering adopting another dog, the responses ranged from “Oh you should! Do it now!” to “After all you’ve gone through??” to my personal favorite, “Are you NUTS?!” As I began to lay out the pros and cons in my head, that old favorite excuse ‘It’s just not a good time’ kept popping up. Do I really want to train a dog heading into winter? I’m busier than ever with work, can I handle the extra responsibility? With Greta’s special cancer diet and impending vet visits, can I support another dog? Etc. etc. But I imagine it’s like the decision to have another baby…when really is a good time? Sometimes you just have to ignore all the questions and go for it – figuring it all out along the way.
Now the big question: How do I find the right dog to bring into our family? I’ve been a fan of the blog Two Pitties in the City for a while now, and when I saw Levi, their fun-loving foster dog, I fell in love. Greta can be a little picky when it comes to her companions, but she has a big soft spot for male pit bulls with lots of energy. Plus, his alter-ego is Super Levi, so maybe he would be able to tap into his super healing powers to help Greta? It sounded like a match made in Heaven.
The very last hurdle before pursuing him was approaching my roommate with the idea of a second dog. As fate would have it, as we were having a beer one Friday night, she turned to me out of the blue and said “I think we should get another dog.” How ironic is that? I didn’t have to ask her why, as Greta has become a huge part of her life as well. I replied with, “So funny you should mention it, I actually think I found the perfect dog. His name is Levi and he is adorable…check out his picture…look how silly he is…he lays like Superman…” and on and on.
The stars were all aligning, so we contacted New Leash on Life (his adoption agency). Somehow this adorable little monster was still available, so we put the wheels in motion. Things went great with our first meeting and with his meeting with Greta, thanks in large part to Greta’s trainer, who helped with a proper intro. Pretty soon, we were set for a Foster-to-Adopt period of two weeks.
When we first decided to bring Levi into the household, I remember saying to my boyfriend “I wonder if he will have as many strange quirks as Greta?” I should have known better after reading the Two Pitties blog…what a goofball! So far he has kept things so light and fun around the house, we’ve barely even thought of Greta’s cancer at all. Although it took her a couple days to warm up to his overzealous nature and inherent lack of boundaries (check out the pic below of him sitting on her), he has grown on her significantly. They are best buds now, and I have never seen her so happy and at ease. She grows to love him more and more each day, and it’s actually quite amazing to watch.
Not to mention, he is a fabulous dog who is great around people and other dogs. Since Greta is leash reactive and now can’t walk very far on 3 legs without getting fatigued, I’ve really enjoyed being able to take long walks again with Mr. Levi. We’ve only had him with us for 12 days, but we’ve been on some pretty awesome adventures already, including a Super-hero themed walk around Wrigleyville to raise money for his upcoming eye surgery, a long hike through Hyde Park and even his first trip to a bar! Below are some pics of his adventures…you will quickly notice that Sir Levi loves to roll around on his back – all day, every day. Pretty cute, huh?
As I type this, there are two snoring, smiling pit bulls lying next to me. Greta with her nose tucked in my armpit and Levi curled up practically on top of her. Of all the moments that make up my days lately, the ones with my dogs are among the most happy and the most fun. Greta introduced me to the joys of having a pit bull (and my first very own pet) two years ago, and thanks to Levi, I think I will always have a two-pittie household. We look forward to updating you on the many adventures to come. Maybe it’s time to change this blog to 7Legs2ndcity?