We met Stella, originally named "Dolly" for the very first time on Sunday, January 23rd, 2011. You see, Adam and I had been talking about getting a second dog pretty much since Oly was about 6 months old, but we'd yet to muster the courage to pull the trigger on another dog. Especially if we were unlucky enough to pick another dog with the energy Oly possessed. The idea of two Oly's terrified us for a number of years.
Adam wanted a bigger dog for dog number two, and we only made it to one meet-and-greet with the breed of his choice. It was the only time I've ever seen Oly HATE another dog. Then we went on vacation for our yearly January trip to visit my parents, and randomly one afternoon while on vacation I checked Facebook to see that Tori had adopted a new puppy.
Before I knew it, I WANTED A PUPPY TOO. NOW!
I jumped on PetFinder, went right to the no-kill shelter we adopted Oly from, and there they were.
Nine of the cutest damn mutts you ever did see.
Black, white and brown spotted, all white, white and tan, and one mix of everything.
Since I already dealt with more yellow fur than I knew what to do with via Oly, I thought it was best to stay in the white/tan world, and inquired about the two mildly golden retriever looking pups.
They had already been adopted.
The only one left was a brown and white puppy. Were we interested?
I won't lie to you. I stiff armed the fuck out of Adam for Stella. He didn't want a second dog right at this moment, and he most definitely didn't want a 'whatever the hell mix' she was either. But he knew he was fighting a losing battle.
We met Stella that Sunday to check to make sure Oly didn't hate her, and I remember that when we walked in the room and Stella bounded over I was DONE. In the car on the way home I asked Adam what he thought, and he actually said, "Did you notice how when she saw us she did that whole submissive peeing thing? I'm not sure I like the idea of a dog that pees uncontrollably." I told him it was just a puppy thing, she was fine.
As some of you know, not three days after we adopted her we were in the vet's office wondering why it was that our adorable little puppy seemed to be constantly leaking pee. Awake or asleep. The vet, who was trying to win an award for "Most Compassionate Vet EVER" suggested we put her down. Since we'd only owned her for three days and all. I'm sure we weren't attached or anything.
I have never sobbed so hard as I drove home from the vet with this sleeping puppy in my lap. But I knew that I wasn't giving up on her, I couldn't, it wasn't in my nature to walk away because something seemed hard.
And it was hard.
Life with Stella this first year has been a roller coaster. There was a point in time where I had Stella in diapers 80% of the time, where most of my house was covered in towels and blankets, where I was setting alarms at 10:30, 12am, 2am and 4am so I could wake her up, change her towels, and take her to the bathroom. Stella was unable to tell she needed to go, and was incapable of waking us up to ask to be let out of her crate for a bathroom break. Because Stella would uncontrollably lose her bladder out of excitement as well, in the mornings I would close Oly in our CLOSET so I could rush Stella to the bathroom before she spotted Oly, her best friend in the world who would make her instantly lose her bladder all over my carpets. On our road trip to Alaska there were more mornings than I'd like to admit where I had to hold a hotel towel between Stella's legs to catch an accident, because we weren't making it out of the hotel for our bathroom break. Yes. I did that.
There have been tests, tests, and more expensive test. There was controlled water intake, medications, weird schedules, and times where Stella had to go wherever we went because she could needed to go out at least once an hour.
But now? All these months later?
Now she's just Stella.
We finally found a medication that works. Ok, two medications that work together, but whatever, we did it. Her water doesn't need to be monitored. She no longer needs to go out every hour. My home is not covered in towels and blankets. Oly no longer has to be locked in the closet in the morning so Stella can be rushed out the door before she has an accident.
For her incontinence Stella takes one pill and an eye dropper of medication twice a day, and for her bad hips (yes, at 1 year old), a squirt of fish oil twice a day plus a vitamin once a day.
She is my blind in one eye, anxious, hater of hardwoods, tail chasing, "roooo-roooo-ing," NON-snuggling, snow loving, bad hip wielding, diabetes surviving, best trail dog ever, Stella.
And I wouldn't trade her for anything.