One of the things I was most looking forward to when I moved out of my ex’s house was getting a dog. As I was only “allowed” cats, I couldn’t have a dog. For a period of years when the girls were little I actually didn’t want a dog. The girls first introduction to a dog of any kind was my former friend’s large, barking, slobbering, undisciplined Saint Bernard. My daughters were smaller than that dog when they first met her and she was always trying to lick them and be over-anxious with greetings. Because of that my girls were terrified of all dogs. They’d cry at the sight of even small dogs. This was very disheartening for me because I knew there were lots of nice, loving, well-behaved dogs in the world.
The first summer in my new home came and went and I still hadn’t gotten a dog. I thought I wanted to feel more settled in my place. Then winter arrived and the long, cold days inside without my girls became rather oppressive. In December of 2011 I started looking around at dogs in local shelters. I saw several adorable pups that I liked of all mixes and colors. Black, white, tan, brown, spotted, big, little, all needing a good home. If I’d had the means I would have adopted them all and built a huge heated barn for them to live in. They’d be my pack. But I didn’t have the means and I still don’t, so I knew I’d have to settle on one dog.
One day I was searching the pictures of one of the local shelters and I saw a sweet-looking yellow mutt they’d named “Chastity.” She reminded me of my good friend’s dog because she was a similar mix and as his dog sounded so loyal and loving, I knew I just had to meet her!
I decided to go to the shelter that weekend with a friend of mine and meet that adorable pup. It was chilly winter day and snow-covered the ground but inside the humane society it was nice and warm. We went inside and I said I wanted a dog so they took my friend and I back into the dog area. Every single dog started barking the moment we entered and the noise level was deafening! The yellow mutt was in the very first cage to the right and she was barking and jumping just like all the other dogs. I walked down the aisle looking over every dog but I came back to her because I just knew she was the one for me.
My friend and I went back out into the waiting area to sit while they fetched “Chastity” and brought her out on a leash. She was so exuberant and happy to see us! Her tail was wagging non stop and she eagerly sniffed us, the floor, the chairs and whatever else she could get her nose to. They showed me that she knew sit, stay, shake and down and that was good enough for me! I paid the adoption fee and promised I’d be back after I went to the nearby Wal-Mart for food and bowls for her since they gave a free leash and collar with every dog. I couldn’t shop fast enough!
I returned to the shelter, finished up the paperwork and loaded my new pup into the car. There was no way I was going to keep her name “Chastity” so my friend and I started brainstorming a name. My friend said she looked like a princess and she suggested Jasmine like Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin. I liked the sound of that but wanted something more unique. So she suggested I spell it “Jazzmin” so it could be shortened to Jazz. That was perfect!
I dropped my friend off back at her car and then took Jazzmin home. They didn’t know her history with cats so I made sure both cats were closed off in the basement before I brought Jazz in the house. She fully explored the house, sniffing around as she walked from one end to the other. She seemed quite happy with her new home. I brought up the cage I’d used to house Owl and Pumpkin as kittens (it was actually a dog cage) and set it up in the kitchen. I set a soft, thick old comforter inside it and Jazzmin immediately nestled into her new den.
I let Jazzmin sleep on my bed that first night and for the next several weeks before deciding the bed-hogging moose needed her own bed on the floor. I took her for our first walk that afternoon and she quickly showed me her boundless energy despite the cold and snow. My friend suggested I get her a coat to keep her warm and I also picked up some slip-on booties to protect her pads from the snow.
The final test of her settling in came the Sunday afternoon after I adopted her. My girls would be meeting her for the first time. She was a very loving and sweet dog and my daughters were mostly over their fear of dogs though they’d still never lived with one. As it turned out, the girls adored Jazzmin and she adored them right back! Jazzmin showed them what a well-behaved dog is like and they showed her what the love of human “puppies” feels like.
Jazzmin fit right into our family and I can’t imagine our lives without her. Giving her a J name can be problematic when I accidentally call my daughters her name and vice versa but I get the right name eventually. We’re all members of the same pack, The J Pack, and we’re leaning something new about working together every single day!