Allow me to introduce you to our sweet Opie!
Joe and I rescued Opie in July 2021 from Dogwood Animal rescue here in Sonoma County.
I always knew that when Lexi, my chocolate lab, turned 8 years old I wanted to add a new dog to our family. When Lexi turns 14 (God willing), Opie will turn 8. When Opie is 8, another new dog will be added into the mix.
Lexi is my only-child-spoiled-princess bear. She's never enjoyed playing with other dogs. Lexi is obsessed with fetching tennis balls. In a dog park FULL of furry friends, she'll ignore ALL OF THEM for a ball. I was a bit apprehensive to introduce a sibling into her life.
For several years, I've followed Dogwood Animal Rescue on FB and what incredible storytellers they are! Each rescue dog gets a photo snapped and makes their debut on the FB page. FB followers go 'ga-ga' for Dogwood dogs. Every FB post receives at least 600+ likes and hundreds of comments. FB can be a wasteland of depressing news, BUT a Dogwood post feels like a Cinderella dog makeover story. Abandoned dog finds their forever home.
Two weeks before our wedding I dropped hints to Joe and my mom that getting a new dog was on my radar. They both rolled their eyes and grumbled that it was probably not the best idea. When I get an idea in my head, I make it happen.
Every day I stalked the Dogwood FB page.
I remember the day I saw Opie. It was a few days after our wedding.
Here was Opie's post on FB:
I remember laying in bed, with tears streaming down my face, as I read Opie's story.
I had decided that getting another 50+ lb dog would not be the best idea. Joe and I were living in an RV at the time with minimal space. Opie's 30lb size was perfect. I could tell that Opie was VERY POPULAR among the FB audience. In fact, I noticed that Dogwood was not taking anymore applications because they were flooded with interest.
I didn't consult with Joe. I just acted. I had a deep intuition that Opie was meant for me.
In less than 15 minutes I digitally sent in an application.
It felt like a long shot. I was probably too late.
Next, I told Joe. What is that expression..... 'it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission'? I assured Joe that my application was late and the adoption probably wouldn't happen.
The next day I got a call.
Dogwood liked my application AND moved it to the top of the pile.
I work from home and Opie has separation anxiety.
Lexi is a female dog and I guess female dogs and male dogs do better together as siblings in a household.
Joe and I could offer Opie a calm, safe, predictable, patient and nurturing environment.
Opie does not like to be crated and under my care there would be no need to crate.
Dogwood scheduled a meetup for Joe, myself and Opie.
We didn't know if at the meet-up whether we could adopt Opie on the spot.
I remember having butterflies. All Dogwood Rescue Dogs feel like celebrities. You get to know their stories, see their pictures and to meet them in person feels surreal.
I remember Opie being...Really tired. Really timid. and Really floppy.
It makes sense. The poor thing had quite a journey to get to us.
I remember just wondering WHAT HAD I DONE!
In the days following the adoption, I would try and get Lexi and Opie to play together.
Lexi could not be bothered. She seemed on-guard and distant. What had I done?
I cried because I thought I had seriously ruined Lexi's life and personality.
Opie imprinted immediately on me. He wouldn't leave my side and was such a shadow. The exact opposite of my relationship with Lexi. Lexi is my baby, BUT she wants her distance. She wants human contact but on her terms. Lexi likes independence. Opie was the opposite and stuck to me like glue.
My soul connection with Opie was instant.
Here's a dog that had experienced severe trauma, loss, grief, pain, and separation in his brief 1 year on the planet. Opie was a surviver. Trauma is familiar for me too. I can't explain it but I just understood Opie. I knew exactly how to comfort him, and in turn he comforted me. Joe calls him my therapy dog.
The first several nights with Opie were rough. He would cry like a baby with these loud, piercing cries that broke my heart.
During the day I worked 15 minute 'Doggy Play Breaks' into my schedule. I tried playing tug of war with Lexi (her TOP favorite game) and then tried to integrate Opie. Opie learned to grab the other end of the toy and pull. He learned that Lexi's 'play' growl is not threatening and just what she does. He learned that he might be smaller than Lexi AND not as strong, BUT he could get under her legs and playfully bite which gave Lexi an exhilarating challenge.
It didn't take long for tug-of-war to be old news and the two dogs initiated wrestling and tumbling about with each other. They shifted from distant acquaintances to best friends.