I found Madden via a Craigslist ad. I have always wanted a dog, but growing up with a father who was allergic to all-things-cute-and-fluffy, I never got to have my own dog to love. From 2006-2010 (and actually a bit beyond), I had cats. Cats were easy. You could go away overnight, and your cat would be okay. Someone could check in on your cat every day if you went out of town, and it probably wouldn't die. Cats didn't need to be taken outside, and you didn't have to spend time training them, because a cat would basically do whatever it wanted anyway. Cats were easy. Dogs required work, and time, and things that although I wanted to, I could just not offer.
Being a late bloomer, I didn't get my drivers license until May of 2010 - I was twenty-six. My own car came shortly after. And with my new found freedom and independence, I decided that I could finally be a responsible enough grownup to get a dog.
I started getting ideas in my head of what kind of dog I might want. It had to be relatively small, as apartment living was all there really was in my foreseeable future. Nothing too yippy, though. I didn't know exactly what I wanted. I just knew that when I found my dog, I would know it. And that is exactly what happened one day in August when I went onto South Jersey Craigslist, and clicked on pets. There she was. A photo of this teeny little black dog. Half toy poodle, a quarter jack russell, a quarter miniature dachshund.
I shot an email to the people who had her, telling them that I was incredibly interested. I had to work the next couple of days, but I asked if I could pick her up that Thursday. They were hesitant at first, since someone had already backed out, but I assured them that she was my dog.
When I went to pick her up, I took two friends with me. When the people I was picking her up from put her in my arms, I knew that I was in love. Though, to be honest, I tried to get them to let me have her sister instead - she was identical, except that the sister had curly poodle hair. But the curly-haired puppy was taken. And now, I am glad she was. Because she wouldn't have been my Madden.
We have been through so much together - her broken leg when she was a puppy, five different homes together in her lifetime, her dental surgery, different relationships and breakups for me. She has been my sweet constant these last four years. She makes me laugh when I want to cry. She knows when I just need a hug, and nestles herself into my arms. She is an absolutely crazy little character. I don't get to pick up and go whenever I want anymore - I have to think about another life. I have to make plans for her (and her "brother," Champ, of course) when I need to go somewhere. I need to care about another life.
People who don't understand think that I've given up things that I could be doing, because I can't leave her alone. But honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Happy Birthday, sweet girl! You've made my life so much better by being in it!