11 Years Ago Today...

Exactly 11 years ago, I did a thing! My family had experienced an unbearable loss a few months before, and we weren't recovering. In a fit of what felt like madness, we decided to get a puppy. He would be an outdoor dog. We went to the shelter first, but they weren't able to allow us to even see the dogs, due to a quarantine. We rushed to the Humane Society of Pitt County hoping to see a puppy before they closed. 

We toured the entire Humane Society and and tried to meet the right dog. We met so many cute kids, but there was this one little guy that kept trying to keep my attention. We learned he had been abused horribly, and had 2 brothers. They were all rehabilitated and were ready to go home. 1 was already adopted, the second was on a play date of some kind. There was one snag... this little kid that had my stolen my heart was promised to someone else. 

Here's the thing... that person wasn't there. They wanted him, but they hadn't shown up. I have spent too much of my time relying on my charm, and this was going to be my greatest attempt ever. Somehow I convinced them that since he was still there, and I could take him now, that he should go home with me... like now! After some time, they said yes. ORBIT WAS MINE! By the way, he was named by the Humane Society with his siblings after gum (his brother was big red, and the other may have been juicy fruit or something). 

We wanted to name him something that fit both our desires, but certainly his personality. He was destined to be named Gene Kelly Given. 

So we got in the car. He was terrified. They told me he had a lot of anxiety, and I said "that's perfect, so do I!" Honestly, we had nothing at all for our new puppy. The question was only brought up the night before. So we traveled to PetSmart, signed up for some lessons (I needed them as much as he did), bought him a house, he peed on the floor, and I bought him toys, water and food bowls, food, and other supplies. We started our lives together with the plan he would be an outdoor dog. 

I remember getting a lot of flack in our first class, but I was amazed when they said their fifi dogs would be living in a cage most of the day. But I was doing the best I could. At the time, he loved being outside. He was awesome. Didn't bark too much, and let me take him for walks and spend time with him. He was kind, but distant. Independent, but loving. He was hurting, but recovering, and learning to trust again... which is exactly what I was experiencing. 

Week 2: a storm is coming... for at least a few days. We decided he should come inside for a few days. He should be safe (plus I'm totally falling in love. I want him around me constantly). By Day 5 of rain, I knew I never wanted him to go outside again unless it was to play with me... 

I'm sorry that this has been such a long message, but I'm kind of not. These days are some of the best days ever.... EVER! 
Gene Kelly and I have been together 11 years now. He is 11 years and 4 months old. We adopted Satchmo the following February 12, 2010. Satchmo was 7 weeks old when we adopted him. That is a story for another day. 

I am the most blessed man to be the dad of these 2 little kids. Someone told me the other day they thought they might be 4 or 5 years old. That's the greatest blessing to hear. My kids are healthy, fun, kind, silly, and I think most that know them would say they act like very high personality human kids... probably because I treat them like it. 

After 2 late term miscarriages, several moves, an incredibly difficult and humiliating divorce, some failed attempts at amazing relationships, a move to Utah, and a good marriage, with a lot of heartaches, heartbreak, and struggles, Gene Kelly & Satchmo have been the most consistent, kind, and generous friends and kids. I owe them everything, and I am still here because of them. Thanks for reading as much of this as you did. To GENE KELLY!

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