I’d been thinking about getting a dog for awhile. I’d imagined taking a dog on a long walk every day (the exercise would be good for both us). Or I’d be sipping coffee at an outdoor cafe with a well-behaved dog at my feet. I could envision road trips, a dog at my side. I’d had some experience with dogs…
When I lived in San Diego my roommate Susann had a dog a cute little Chihuahua named Chico. When Susann was out of town, I took care of him. I’d take him to the office, we’d walk on the beach at sunset… I kind of fell in love. But he really wasn’t my dog.
Then there’s my friends’ Sam and Randi’s dog, Tree, an Eskimo Spitz. I’ve taken care of her a few times when Sam and Randi were out of town. We always had a good time. We’d walk up to campus, hang out at the Duck Pond, or run around the grassy athletic field. She wasn’t really my dog either.
Then, a couple of months ago my friend Christina posted on Facebook about a dog that needed a home, Akira, a Shiba inu. A couple of people were interested in taking Akira in, but wouldn’t be able to take him until summer….
I took my time getting to know Akira, visiting a few times, taking him on walks in the neighborhood. He was the size dog I’d imagined I’d have too–about knee-high, 29 pounds, not too big, not too small.
He was shy at first. In fact it took him about an hour to take a treat from me the first time we met. Then I came back, and back again. He’d get all wiggly and waggly and turn in circles when I came over. He liked me. It seemed like it would be a good match. I offered to foster, to give it a trial run, kind of like renting before you buy. Christina said if I decided I wanted to keep him, to let her know and I’d have “first dibs.”
A couple of weeks ago my friend said I needed to make a decision. And I’ve decided to not keep Akira.
I feel horribly guilty about it because Akira has lots of good qualities. He is very sweet, especially when he comes and puts his head on my lap. He is fine around the cats–and they ignore him. He has a good temperament… when it is just the two of us, inside the house. But when a friend comes over, he hides under the bed and rarely comes out to say hello. If that were the only issue, it wouldn’t be much of an issue, but it has been really difficult to take him for walks. He doesn’t do well on the leash. He pulls and he gets scared anytime we come across a fellow walker, jogger, skateboarder, scooter, cyclist, noisy car… and I live in a busy neighborhood so it’s hard to avoid any of the aforementioned. He’s gotten better as he’s become accustomed to the area, but we’ve been building up block by block and it’s slow going. I can’t leave him alone in the yard either– he is an escape artist. Re-doing the fence is not in the budget right now. And I can’t imagine Akira sitting quietly at my feet while I sip coffee.
And while my cats are okay around Akira, they don’t come around as much as they used to, preferring to stay in the office, or the kitchen (where Akira is not allowed), or under the dresser. I miss them.
I feel like Akira needs a different owner, one who has more experience with dogs and has the patience, or doesn’t have the same expectations I have about walks and cafes.
I’ll keep Akira until his new owner shows up later this month. Hopefully I won’t fall in love with him while I wait for his new owners to come get him.