It seems as if a number of things have pointed me in the direction of this post. A few days ago I saw a cute photo with white type over a picture of a dog. As it happens, I can't find the quote any more; it went as quickly as it came. But essentially it said 'that moment when you realise you've found YOUR dog.' I thought a little bit about this and then, a few days later, I was reading one of my favourite dog blogs and I came across this post.
It didn't really happen like that with Caesar. In fact, when I first saw his picture on the rescue centre website, I gave a little shudder and scrolled down. He looked aloof to say the least and I chuckled as I thought 'I'll probably never sleep with a dog like that in my house'.
And I wasn't far wrong. I remember the horrifying moment when I first got him and I realised I was drifting off on the sofa. Damien was at the gym and Caesar and I were sitting together in the front room. I shot up off the sofa in terror, not believing that, not only had I taken my eyes off the dog, but also that I'd fallen asleep while he was there. He was staring at me unnervingly. I realise now he was probably feeling the same. Unsure of what I was about or what I might do to him. Unclear about what he was supposed to be doing while I was dropping into a doze on the sofa.
I remember thinking to myself 'it shouldn't be like this...' I felt stupid for being afraid of my own dog. What sort of person adopts a dog that they're frightened of?
In hindsight, perhaps I should have waited for the 'moment'. Maybe I'd have seen a dog and a lightning bolt moment would happen. I'd be struck down with love for them. I'd be overwhelmed with a desire to have them and care for them and love them. I didn't feel like that with Caesar. I was overwhelmed by an urge not to be eaten by him.
So why did I adopt a dog I was frightened of? I hear you ask. And rightly so too, of course. The pure, and not very responsible answer is, I was desperate to have a dog. Firstly, because Damien didn't want one. This was rectified when he saw Caesar and told me that if I wanted a dog it had to be 'that one'. Even though, later, he admitted that he was also frightened of the ginger mongrel - mainly because he used to sit in the lounge and stare at us; something that also unnerved me. The second issue was that, on arrival at the kennels, there were no dogs left to adopt apart from Caesar.
My issue now, though, is that I no longer believe in lightning bolt dogs. I firmly believe that Caesar was the dog for us. And I genuinely worry that there won't be another. He has challenged me in ways that I never knew I could be challenged but training him and being with him on his journey has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far. And yet, completely unexpected.
My visions of running around with a dog and a ball in fields. Of playing fetch, of dog shows and fun agility are all smoke. Unrealistic dreams of things that Caesar could never achieve. Yes these dreams seem to have been replaced with something more. The success of building a relationship where a dog that was so unsure before looks to you for everything.