This is a really big week for me, and especially for Reese-it’s her eighth birthday! Officially the celebration of the actual day that I adopted her, but we just call it her birthday. In honor of such a big celebration, I thought it was only fitting to share her story with y’all-some of you already know it, but I wanted to be able to share it with all of our new friends here.
If you’ve ever been in the shop, you were most likely greeted by our official “CCO” (Chief Canine Officer), Reese. She is very serious about her job, and takes it upon herself to thoroughly greet every single customer that walks in our front door, including the mailman, UPS man, and FedEx guy. Seriously-she loves them! In fact, most days she won’t stop barking until they pop in to give her a quick belly rub.
For a first time visitor, comments are often made about how cute Reese is (seriously, she’s the cutest), and quite frequently, a guessing game begins as everyone throws out the various breeds that they see in Reese. The most frequently asked question though, is: “Is she a Rescue?”
While that may seem to be a question with a simple answer, surprisingly, it isn’t. Reese is such a special dog, and as such, she has a special story.
Eight years ago, at the beginning of March, I was working just like any other day. The weather outside was beautiful, not too hot and breezy, so I decided to prop open the front door of the shop to let in the glorious fresh air. I was close to celebrating one year of business, and I hadn’t expanded into the space next to mine just yet (that would occur two years later). The check-out counter was a tiny little thing that, in retrospect, was comically small. I didn’t have an actual office or desk, so I did all of my paperwork at the front counter. Additional pieces of inventory were kept in the garage space in the back of the shop, where client furniture was also painted and sanded.
So on this particular day, probably mid-afternoon, I went to the back to grab a trunk for a new display that I was working on. I had to move a few things around, and when I walked back to the front, sitting right in my pathway, literally in front of the door I had to walk through, was this mangy looking dog. My first thought was, “Oh! I hope they find me soon!” mainly because I strongly felt like this dog was going to attack me, and I was alone at the time, and I just really hoped that someone would wander in to the shop and find me so that I could get the medical attention I was sure to need after this dog attack that I just knew was about to happen.
Much to my surprise, this dog just rolled over. I of course melted, and started rubbing her tummy. I immediately took pictures and sent them to my parents (I lived at home at the time) and to my boyfriend, asking for advice on what to do. My boyfriend responded immediately and asked if I was already falling for “this mutt” and my parents suggested that I give her some water, but not to tie her up, and to keep the door open—thinking she probably wandered over from the surrounding neighborhood, and that maybe she would go back home. Her little ribs were sticking out, and her leg had a fresh wound on it.
The rest of the afternoon, this poor dog stayed right by my side. When she woke up to get a drink of water, she would move in front of the check-out counter, and go back to sleep. By the end of the day, she hadn’t stepped outside once, and I began to realize that she wasn’t going anywhere. Not wanting to kick her out overnight, and also not wanting to leave this strange dog alone in my shop overnight, I called my parents and simply said, “I’m sorry, but I’m bringing this dog home.”
It should probably be mentioned that my parents, who have always had dogs, only had two animals at the time…two indoor cats. Our last dog had died when I was in college, and none of us were ready to move on to a “new” dog yet. Anyway, by the end of the day, I found a little rope and tied it to the dog’s collar—that was the weird thing—she had on a collar, but no tags—and I loaded her up in my car to head home. My intentions were to take her home for the night, and then bring her back to work the next day, thinking that her rightful owner would be out looking for her. I had taken pictures when she came in, so I was going to make flyers and distribute them in the surrounding neighborhoods, and I planned to call all of the animal shelters to let them know that I had someone’s dog.
Anyway, on the drive back home, this dog kept pawing at me from the passenger seat of my car. I finally figured out that she just wanted to “hold paws.” Once I just held her paw while driving, she calmed down. Weird, right?
When I got home, my parents had put the cats up, so that I could safely take this sweet mutt to the backyard, and they put sheets over the back windows so that the cats wouldn’t torment the dog. They pulled out the old dog bed, and put it in the backyard, too.
The next day, I made all the phone calls to the shelters, describing the dog and giving them my contact info. I made the flyers, and put them around the neighborhood by the shop. At the end of the day, I hadn’t heard from anyone, and the dog still stayed around the shop. Even with the door propped open again, she wasn’t interested in leaving my side.
This pattern went on for about two weeks, when finally, on my last phone call to one of the shelters, the lady on the other end curtly told me: “ma’am! We know you have this dog. Either bring it in, or quit calling us!” I was so shocked, I didn’t really know what to do! I took this dog home with me that night, and ultimately decided that I couldn’t bear to part with her now. The next day, I took her to the vet to “officially” adopt her, and I filled out all of the necessary paperwork to register her, so that I could safely continue bringing her to work with me.
When I initially took Reese to the vet, I told him how she was very skittish around men, and that she just seemed scared. He informed me that she was most likely abused by a male, and then let go. Apparently some people do that.
To this day, I have no idea how Reese found me, or what her background was. I don’t know where she came from, and I’m not even sure how old she is. I’ve never done one of those dog DNA tests on her, but I can name quite a few different breeds that we’re pretty sure she is. It doesn’t matter what her heritage is-she is truly the perfect dog!
What I do know, is that when she walked in to the shop that day, she changed my life forever. She is the most loving, gentle, loyal, compassionate, protective, and brave creature that I have ever encountered. She and I spend pretty much all day every day together, and I feel so fortunate to be able to have her literally living life right beside me. She and I have the most bizarre connection; I truly can’t even explain it. Many people have told me that Reese is my guardian angel, and I 100% believe that.
After I officially adopted her and cleaned her up, she started sleeping on the extra pillow in bed with me at night. Literally. Her head was on the pillow next to mine. Before I got married, I had to warn my husband that he would be taking Reese’s spot, and that if she wasn’t cool with that, he would just have to sleep in the guest room. He thought I was joking but….I was totally serious. Luckily for him, Reese conceded her spot on the pillow for an oversized dog bed on the floor, right next to my side.
If I’m ever gone for a conference or out of town or sick, Reese typically doesn’t come to the store-she has really bad separation anxiety, and she once bolted out the front door trying to find me when I wasn’t there. When customers come in and notice “us” both missing, they’re never really concerned with where I am…they’re mostly curious about why Reese is missing.
Thanks, guys 🙂
Stay tuned for Reese’s side of the story, and her view of our retail world here at the shop as CCO.