They say dogs are man's best friends. I never quite understood what that meant until I adopted my dear Tuolumne Jones (TJ for short). My quirky little Border Collie x Labrador Retriever sure has been a busy handful, but he sure has captured my heart in a rad way.
As I was going through photos of TJ the other day, I realized that I never even made a blog post about him! What good is a blog if I don't post on it? And what good is a blog if I never post personal and exciting life moments on it? So, now that TJ is 6 months old, I guess I can share a little blog post about my best fur friend.
December 16, 2015:
So, I had been thinking about adopting a puppy for a while. A puppy that would grow up hiking in the mountains and camping in the forests, a puppy that would follow suit and have an adventurous heart like his adopted pop. I always planned that I would adopt a puppy like this one day way, way in the future; most likely once I was married or maybe if I still were single come 5 years from now. However, despite my future hopes for adopting a dog, I began to think about the responsibilities of adopting a puppy and what it would require me to sacrifice, learn, and pay for. The more and more I thought about it, the more I wondered why I needed to wait for it to fit into my future plans. I came to the conclusion that I could wait around to feel like "the time is right" or I can just take the plunge to adopt and know that all will fall into place.
Through the entire mental process I tried not to be selfish and really examined my life to ensure I had enough time and attention to tend to a puppy. All in all, I came to the decision that I would adopt a puppy. I spent weeks on end looking through the SPCA listings online. There weren't any puppies that really stood out to me or that I took interest in. Then, one day, there was the puppy I had been waiting for.
She was a cute little German Shepherd mixed with a Siberian Husky. Most beautiful coat and eyes I had ever seen. She was 2 months old and super small, but full of love to give. I called SPCA and they said that they would have her ready if I wanted to head on over. So, I got into my car and drove out to adopt the puppy I had been waiting for. By now, I know you probably realize I typed "she" and you're thinking, 'oh man, Mike made a typo'; I didn't make a typo though. I meant to type "she". TJ was not the dog I saw on the listings that day. TJ was not even known in my mind at this point. Anyway, let me fill you in on the rest. . .
Upon arriving to the SPCA, I was informed that the 2 month old German Shepherd x Siberian Husky, appropriately named Cassie, actually had some injuries that needed checking out. See, Cassie was born a street dog, birthed from a stray mother who was found on the streets with her few puppies. It kind of made me sad for the little gal when I heard this and it made my heart grow bigger for her. I couldn't wait to adopt her, to give her a home, to give her love.
The vet doctors checked Cassie out and discovered that she had broken her elbow in her front left leg in three different places; extremely difficult places to heal. They ultimately came to the conclusion that they would thus need to amputate her front left leg. My heart broke and I could feel my eyes welling up. As funny as some of you may take this, I actually felt heartbroken for Cassie. A small, helpless 2 month old puppy who got hurt on the streets and now has to live her life as a "handicapped dog". My heart swelled for her even larger. And, despite the fact that she'd be a three legged dog, I still wanted to adopt her.
However, the nurse gently talked to me evaluating if I had the ability to care for a handicapped dog. She explained how regular puppies require a lot of time, attention, and care; however, handicapped puppies require triple the amount of time, attention, and care. Plus, you have to factor in that there will be a lot of medical needs Cassie would need and many medical bills to pay. And even though she may one day learn how to walk with three legs (which would require a lot of time and help teaching her to walk), she most likely would never be able to go on hikes or camping frequently. My heart broke realizing that I didn't have enough time for Cassie and the ability to care for her. I'm thankful that nurse gently helped me recognize how I wasn't a good fit for Cassie, despite how much my heart wanted to take her home. So yeah, there I was, I was the jerk who was rejecting a handicapped dog. It bummed me out to hear these lies about myself trying to make me feel horrible for not adopting a handicapped puppy (despite the fact that she wouldn't have been a good fit).
Defeated, I thanked her and went to reach for my keys to make my way out until the nurse mentioned that they did receive a new batch of puppies which had just been put up for adoption 15 minutes earlier. She asked if I wanted to visit them and added that they might "change your mind" about leaving.
So, I headed into the puppy pin thinking 'why am I going to visit the puppies? It's not Cassie; I don't even want to look' but then I laid eyes on him. (Yep, now TJ comes into the story!)
TJ was the biggest out of a litter of 9 puppies. All of his brothers and sisters took after the labrador retriever's side while TJ obviously took after the Border Collie's side. I kneeled down and TJ came right up to me to greet me. He visited for a little before going back to wrestle with his brothers and sisters and then hide behind the water bowls. Right away I could see how rambunctious he was and I thought 'hmm, I don't know if I want a crazy dog'. But the more time I spent with them, the more I knew that he was the one that was coming home with me.
I picked him out and adopted him. He was 13 pounds and 2 months old. I named him Tuolumne after the Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. My mom suggested I add the "Jones" at the end to shorten his name to TJ. She said it seemed easier to just call him TJ rather than always having to say Tuolumne (which to be honest, was hard for the rest of my family to properly say - haha!). TJ it is, I said! As I filled out the paperwork, another person was adopting one of TJ's sisters and all the two wanted was to lay together. It kind of made me sad to know that he most likely would never see his siblings again, but at the same time I was excited to know how many adventures he'd take and how much of the world he would see.
Once the paperwork was finalized we headed out to the car. I set him on the passenger seat next to me so that way I could keep a watchful eye on him during the drive home. The ride home was a lot of fun attempting a start at helping him learn his new name. However, I think my excitement overwhelmed him mixed with the nervous emotions he probably was experiencing because he ended up having an accident. I couldn't help but to laugh because it was ironically a perfect start to our adventurous life ahead. And although I knew that it would just be the first of many messes I would have to clean up due to him, I couldn't help but to forgive him quickly with his cute little puppy dog eyes.
Little did I know, this little guy would be quite the handful but become my best fur friend. The first few nights, TJ was quiet and slept a lot. He wasn't really comfortable with the family yet (boy how that has changed in the past 4 months) and he mainly liked to sleep under the chair in the living room (which is still "his spot").
After the first few weeks, I began to take notice of more of his little personalities he had hiding inside. For one, TJ is quite a loving dog - but only on his terms. He is quite the cuddly pup - but only when he wants to cuddle or when he is half asleep. He does not like to be touched if he is not in a cuddly mood. He will avoid you at all costs. Not only that but I noticed how stubborn and ornery he is. My mom says that these personalities take after me. . . which I hate to admit is true; but I guess. . . But yes, TJ is very stubborn and ornery; if you tell him he cannot do something, he makes sure to throw a fit (which he has thankfully started to stop doing since disciplining him). He is very vocal when he is excited. The moment I walk in the door, he greets me excitedly with howls and howls of joy. He is also very social which means I have become very good at chasing him down the street when he wants to run and greet the neighbors 5 houses down the way. A lot of people don't know how to take TJ; they see this dog running toward them and the first thing I see people do is cringe with fear. But TJ just wants to love on people.
Since TJ is mainly border collie, he is VERY high-strung and is always energized (like most puppies are - but even more so). He is like a bull in a china shop and he cannot stop moving. It's actually quite funny to watch him move to a place and sit for merely a quick second before getting up to move to another place for a quick second before going to another place. With his high-strung energy comes pros and cons. I'll begin with cons: he won't sit for any good pictures, he wont stay still when I'm giving him a bath, he won't just relax and cuddle, and when you're trying to sleep, he is constantly making movement on the bed. However, there are some great pros! Some pros are: he is a great hiking buddy full of energy, he gets me up on time in the morning (most of the time at least) because he wrestles with me once the sun comes up, he keeps me on my feet so I'm not as lazy as usual (heh), and he even gets me out more for runs. Since adopting TJ, I have been running quite frequently. Even after running around 4 miles, TJ STILL has a bunch of energy. Heck, we've even ran 10 miles before and he was still pumping energy through his tiny puppy body. He is a machine and a trooper; I can see why they say border collies are working dogs meant for herding, too. He constantly herds my entire family around the house along with the other dogs. But through it all, I love em. I stare at him and just think he is the cutest (I am biased, I know). But really, I mean, just look at him:
He really is cute, you've got to admit. And just in the short 4.5 months that I have had TJ, he has been on adventure. I've been trying to get TJ out to see amazing places and to get him using his hiking muscles. He has even gone camping and there will be many, many more trips to come! Some places TJ has been is up to Little Table Mountain in Fresno and throughout Yosemite! I've taken TJ to Ventura once before but didn't manage to make our way to the beach, so he has yet to be in the ocean; but it'll happen soon! Check out some of the adventures and places TJ has been!
All in all, TJ has been on many adventures and you can see through these photos at how much he has grown these past 4.5 months! I cannot believe how quickly he grew. And he even has more to grow still. At the end of it all, I haven't regretted adopting Tuolumne Jones yet and I don't think I ever will. Yes, he is stubborn and I can't get him to sit still for the life of me; even to get just one photo is pain! But I love this little guy and he melts my heart with his personality and beautiful puppy eyes. If the emotions I feel about TJ are just a mere fraction of the emotions I'll have when I am a father to a real child, I can wait; but can't wait. However, if the rambunctious emotions TJ has are just a mere fraction of the emotions a real child has, then I can for sure wait. Not ready for all that (haha)! However, I cannot wait for the many years ahead of TJ and I (and to get out of the puppy years!). Love, love, love my Tuolumne Jones and I hope you all have a chance to meet him because he is a wild guy with lots of love to give.
You know what I mean? . . .
Until next time,