Today marks two years since I found myself at Pearson airport waiting, in one of the arrival lounges, for a dog from Romania. I remember being nervous, excited and anxious. Thankfully, Andrew, agreed to drive me to and from because I don't think I could've driven there and back successfully given the flurry of emotions I was feeling. I knew I'd be meeting other folks and seeing other animals, but it was still a bit surreal waiting there among lots of other people - for a dog to come out of arrivals. That is how green and new I was to international adoption. But, what an experience it was and continues to be.
I don't even remember the nonsense I was spouting to Andrew as we waited for Rebecca to come through the doors with Pi. I glanced at some faces around the arrival area and didn't register much at the time. And then the doors opened and out came this woman with four crates - 3 dogs and one cat. The moment she came out, I just remember stepping forward and towards her as did other people. There was a lady from a rescue group in Hamilton, I think, and Carlene from Kingston and I'm not sure who else. Someone said to me, "Are you Vee? You're here for Pirat right?" All I remember saying is, "yes" and thinking 'how do you know?' I'm not even sure who asked me that. My sole focus was this dog in a crate that had the most soulful eyes and appeared quite timid. The dog whose photo I randomly came across - I'm not even sure where (either Facebook or somewhere online) - and the moment I saw that photo, I knew I had to find out about him. That dog of course was my Pi. You know how in movies they show you how things slow down around the person in focus and other voices seem distorted or faded - that is exactly what happened to me in that moment when I saw him in front of me, in his cage. I know Rebecca apologised that he didn't have a tail and I know she said people probably chopped it off but I couldn't even fully register all of that in that moment, because Pi was here now with me.
He was so quiet and good on the drive home and once home, I introduced him to Charlie who looked at me like 'who is this guy?' But Pi climbed into my lap and it was nothing but love. I tried to bathe him and he was shivering so badly I felt bad putting him through that. He loved being wrapped in a towel and so began our relationship. Pi has taught me a lot about myself and how I work and how he works and we are so connected by that. I completely believe that #loveislove (yes, it's a hashtag that has different origins but the meaning is the same). There was so much to learn about a dog that has been abused - from how to approach him/her, how to handle him/her, what scares them (from types of noises, to types of beings), how to train him/her, etc. For instance, if you put your hand towards Pi's face (whether you're simply wanting to pet him or carress him) he flinches. It was heartbreaking. The solution was, I just kept my palm outstretched and then he'd come and place his face against it and all was well. When we're out and about, and he's being difficult and doesn't want to move - you know what works? What works is me sitting with him or gently talking to him and then he immediately gets up and moves. Yelling, trying to make him move, does not ever work. It doesn't work with me either so why would it work with him? Love works.
Two years later, he still has his issues but he sleeps on comfortable beds and among silk cushions and gets belly rubs and treats and torments his brother Charlie. When I run my hand across a part of his body I feel the deep scar left by I don't know what. He lets me touch his stub and sometimes he cries out in what I assume to be phantom limb pain. His snores keep me awake at night, but he has the gentlest kisses and can't get enough of being near me, so I laugh at his snoring and record all the moments I possibly can. He loves fresh air and the road - I think that is his natural state of being. Off late I wonder how he was born, where his mother is, if he had siblings but I'm never going to know and such wondering doesn't help me or him.
It's been two years since Pi came home to Charlie and me. I've heard so many things regarding this rescue - both positive and negative. The negative made me hurt and made me angry, but it fuels me to do better for this being who deserves good things after a whole lot of bad. Happy Pi-versary fatso. lol (he's pudgy now).