When I decided to document my bento adventure through a blog, I knew before I even wrote the first post that any blog of mine would not focus 100% of the time on one subject. I knew that my starting a blog would be an outlet to share and discuss a variety of topics that were on my mind at any given moment, including those that didn’t directly relate to healthy eating, bento-packing, or cooking. In fact I knew with complete certainty that my blog would feature, with regularity, pictures of my two dogs. As I thought of a nice, bento-related name for my blog, I was plagued with writer’s block. The more I thought, the more I realized that it wouldn’t be about bento all the time. The blog’s name should reflect that fact, and the title of the blog was created.
As I develop Not Exactly Bento and flesh out the about section of this website, it seems only fitting that my two dogs should share part of that spotlight. They bring many grins and sighs of frustration forth from my being, and I love every minute of it. For the story of how I came by these two dogs, keep reading.
In 2001, I moved into my first residence where I lived by myself. I knew right away that I wanted to bring a dog home to live with me. I didn’t go out right away to find a dog. I thought long and hard first about what sort of dog I wanted. I was convinced that I wanted a dachshund, or maybe another small breed dog. I even found a breeder for some beautiful dachshunds in my area, sanctioned by my potential vet.
However, I couldn’t bring myself to spend the $250 – $300 for the dog of my choice. Each time I thought of paying that money, I thought of all the dogs in shelters. I began to go to a location of PetSmart that allowed my parish’s local pet rescue organization to host pet adoptions on weekends. As anyone who has adopted a dog before knows, small dogs are sometimes the hardest to adopt. It’s hard to find a small breed dog to adopt since this is a size dog that everyone wants.
It came to be that I was stopping by and speaking to APAWs volunteers nearly every weekend as I looked for a dog. Some of the volunteers began to recognize me by sight and would suggest dogs for me to adopt. One weekend, a volunteer saw me walking in as she brought some beagles out for a walk on the grounds next to the store. “Check out a new dog named Monty,” she said. She ran the group, and I’d come to trust her advice and opinions over the 2 months I’d been looking. I walked in and asked a volunteer to see the dog named Monty. He was a beautiful black and tan mixed breed with Doberman leanings. However, he was a bit larger dog than I thought I wanted. Even as I thought to turn away and tell the volunteers I didn’t think this was the dog for me, I was leaning down to tell him hello and looking into the saddest pair of eyes I’d ever seen. He was scared as I leaned over, with his tail between his legs, his ears pulled back, and shaking like a leaf. I sat on the floor and said, “How you doing, buddy?” He took one look at me, crawled into my lap, placed his head on my shoulder, and sighed as though he’d come home. The volunteer started laughing and said, “I hope you’re going to take him home.” “Looks like it I said.” A small adoption fee later, and we were on our way home.
As planned of a dog as Toby was, Gabby was just as unplanned. I knew when I adopted Toby I was going to adopt a second dog so he would have a playmate. I just felt like my house was a house for two dogs. However, I was determined that the second dog would be Toby’s size or smaller.
One day on the way home from work, I stopped by my local post office to drop some mail in the outside bin. As I pulled up to the postal bin, I noticed movement underneath the box. It looked like a young dog of some kind. I got out of my car to check and sure enough there was a small dog underneath the post box. It was a 3-month old Gabby, full of fleas and worms, anemic, and a bit on the sickly side. As I crouched down to check the puppy, she placed her front paws on my knees, and leaned up and licked my nose.
I picked up the puppy and brought her home, thinking I’d find a home for her. She had such big feet; I knew she wasn’t going to be a small dog. A trip to the vet took care of the fleas and the worms she’d picked up. The vet informed me she’d probably been on the street for a little while and commented it was lucky someone had found her. I asked the vet for some information on her. He stated he thought she was a full-bred Rhodesian Ridgeback; however, he couldn’t be certain she was full-bred. I call her my Rhodesian of questionable heritage. When he told me Ridgeback females started at 65 pounds on the low end and went up from there, I knew I wasn’t going to keep her (or so I thought). I mentioned to my vet if he knew of someone that might want her to have them call me.
I brought her back to my house and that was my biggest undoing. As soon as I brought her inside, Toby sniffed her, licked her nose, and settled down next to her to play. He decided then and there that she was his playmate, and the decision was made. I called the vet to let him know I was keeping her and am thankful she stopped growing at 65 pounds.
Now, I live in a house with approximately 120 pounds of lively, active fur, and I don’t regret a minute of it.
–Jenn of Not Exactly Bento