I have a lot on my mind lately so writing has actually been a struggle. Not because I don't know what to say, but because I have too much to say. So I'll say this.
This past weekend we worked together to pull of a transport that spanned nine states from start to finish. Our little Luigi, our very first ever Roscoe Rescues dog came from Huntsville, Alabama. You may remember the brief story I told about him a few weeks ago when we first pulled him into rescue. Well today I'll tell some more. It seems a good way for me to get some words out.
Luigi the miniature bull terrier was posted on a Facebook page by a caring member of the Huntsville Animal Services team. He had been dropped off at the shelter by his family who said some pretty unsavory things about him, including, I kid you not, that "he's not that cute". Now I've said this before and I'll say it again. We don't judge at Roscoe Rescues. You never know what is happening in someone else's life. So no judgement. For this little pup though, surrender meant more than just rehoming. They specifically signed him over for euthanasia and while the shelter sat with him, they knew they had to do something. He couldn't go out like that. They couldn't let that happen.
So we committed to him, named him Luigi and before we knew it, Luigi was rescued.
I like to think about what Roscoe would have to say about this. Luigi doesn't like other dogs. I can only imagine what would have happened if he had met Roscoe. Roscoe would have sat there, his big brown eyes looking up at me. "Really? This dude wants to attack me and we're just gonna let him live with us? Well, ok then. Let's do it."
Roscoe was the most calming dog I've ever met. He had a way of calming anxiety, no matter how thick it hung in the air. I remember the day I brought Roscoe home like it was yesterday. It was August 13th, and I drove three hours to Columbia, SC. I went to meet this dog I had only heard about up until now. His Petfinder.com profile said "Male Rottie. 80 lbs. 3-5 years old."
I reached out to the rescue and they told me that they were picking up a Rottweiler from Animal Control in a few days that they had finally gotten permission to take into rescue. They said he had been living in a back yard with a Black Labrador and the two dogs were taken into custody after the neighbor turned in the owner for beating them with a 2x4. The dogs had only lived in the yard and been beaten quite a bit. They told me the neighbor finally caught it on camera and the dogs had been tied up in the legal system for awhile, but they finally had permission to take them. They told me he was skinny, and that he and the Labrador got feisty over food together so they had to be separated and would not be adopted out together. They said they were going to neuter him the same day they got custody of him and then he would be available for adoption shortly after.
I had reached out to several rescues about Rottweilers prior to this. I had seen many photos of beautiful dogs in need, many had faces I already adored. I told myself that I would meet several before making any final decisions because I wanted to make sure I got the perfect dog. After all, I wasn't just looking for a dog. I was looking for service dog, I needed someone who would be the perfect fit and would be there for me. So no rash decisions.
A day or two later the rescue sent me a photo of this large dog that was on the skinny side with a head the size of a watermelon and a smile ever larger than that. They told me he was finally theirs, was neutered and was available for adoption starting that weekend. They explained that I needed to show that day at the adoption event if I wanted him, they couldn't hold him for me more than the afternoon for me. I hadn't expected this so quickly and while the photo they sent me, along with the story of his rescue, had in fact stolen my heart I wasn't convinced he was my dog, but I knew that I had to meet him if I ever wanted to know for sure.
So I called my grandfather and told him I was getting in the car tomorrow and going to meet a Rottweiler.
Let me back up a little. Or a lot. When I was a child I was obsessed with Rottweilers. I had Rottie figurines, Rottie calendars, notebooks, folders, t-shirts... everything. Why? Shit I havew no idea at all. I just loved them! I also loved Disney movies, like ALL the animated Disney movies. Perhaps because they were all animal oriented but who knows. Anyway. Disneys Oliver & Company had two Doberman Pinchers, Roscoe & De Soto. I truly have no idea why, but I just LOVED the name Roscoe. And given my infatuation with Rottweilers, and that Dobermans and Rotties have similarities in appearances I spent... well pretty much my whole life begging my parents for a Rottweiler and I wanted to name him Roscoe.
So one day I was whining and complaining and begging my parents for a dog while my grandpa was over at the house and right there at the dinner table he said what he had to say to shut me up. "Chrissy, when you grow up and you get your first apartment, I promise you that I will buy you a Rottweiler and you can name him Roscoe."
I don't know if I shut up. I probably didn't, but that stuck with me for the rest of my life and I knew my grandpa would hold to that.
So here I was. I had turned 22 earlier that year. It was August and I was finally settled in my very own apartment. The first apartment I'd ever had on my own and I had called my grandpa a few months earlier to let him know I'd be ready for my Roscoe any day now. And he said ok.
So I called my grandfather and told him I was getting in the car tomorrow and going to meet a Rottweiler. He told me to go for it. He wouldn't be able to make it to come meet the dog with me, but he wanted me to meet the dog anyway.
It was August 13th, and I drove three hours to Columbia, SC. I went to meet this dog I had only seen a single photo of and knew never little about. It was Saturday and I pulled into the PetsMart on Harbison Boulevard for the adoption event being held by the Homeward Bound Rescue. I parked my 2002 Ford Taurus at the back of the parking lot where I could find a spot and trekked into the store. As the automatic doors opened the place was packed. It was noisy inside, and there were dogs everywhere. I saw the tan patch on black of a Rottie butt walking away from me, a soft blue cone around his neck. I couldnt see his head, but I smirked, wondering if that was my Rottie or just a random one and veered left toward the fish tanks where the folding table and chairs Homeward Bound had set up for the event was. I don't remember who I asked for, but I had a contact I was searching for that I'd been speaking with. I was directed to her and she told me to follow her. She said the Rottie I was looking for was near the back because the event had been a lot for him and they wanted to keep him where it was quieter.
We walked around the long way, passing the tanks of freshwater fish all boasting bright colors and clear blue water. I felt like I had an audience as I pranced excitedly behind her. No rash decisions. I'm just here to meet him.
As we turned the corner down one of the aisles past the colorful audience I saw a Rottweiler standing in the aisle with a soft blue cone around his neck and a head the size of a watermelon.
The next few moments were a blurr. I don't remember my first words to him, or the first time I put my hands in his fur. I know I was given the leash he was on and told to walk with him a little. I walked around the store and observed him observing. He was scared and I could tell. He didn't react to the other dogs, he didn't even react to the humans in the store. I had his leash and so he paid attention to me. For him, I was the leader and he was just trying to survive. I watched him observe our surroundings and noticed that despite the fact that he was obviously nervous, he had a cantor to his stride that was undeniable. He was prancing. I looked down at him, and his huge almond eyes looked up at me and I knew he was looking for security. And right then he captured something inside of me and despite my prior protests I knew that this was my Roscoe. I'd be lying if I said I remembered where I was standing when I made this realization, or that I remembered the smell of the air, the sound of the people around me, or the color of the leash I held. because I don't. I don't remember anything in that moment other than the overwhelming feeling of KNOWING. Knowing that everything had just changed.
The rescue gave me $50 off his adoption fee for my travels and after purchasing and shoving a HUGE crate, food, bowls and more into the back seat of my Taurus (I was convinced I wasn't leaving with a dog, remember?) I paid the remaining adoption fee, clipped the brand new black leash I bought onto the red collar he was wearing and and just like that he was mine. A whole life, the wellbeing, care, happiness, health and total dependence of a living creature was entirely mine. At the car I stood there for a couple moments. The back seat was packed and despite the fact that he was pretty underweight he seemed too large for the front seat. But oh well I guess. I helped Roscoe get into the passengers front seat and I climbed in to the drivers seat next to him. As I started the car I half expected there to be a crowd of people watching us take off. I looked around and there was no one. Sure there were people all around the parking lot, going about their lives, but no parade of adoption celebrating or even bright colored fish watching us head off into the sunset. It was just us. Just us against the world.
And now it's just me.
I guess this turned out to be more about Roscoe than Luigi. I'll get back to his story soon I promise.