This post is part of #the100dayproject that encourages creatives to do an action every day for 100 days. I've chosen to write an article or blog post every day. Previous posts for this project can be found here.
I adopted Mr. C when he was a month old.
I had been on the fence about adopting a dog for awhile. Having a companion would be great, but I didn't know if I was ready to take on that responsibility just yet. But once Mr. C fell asleep on my stomach, I knew that was it. I became a dog mom.
Mr. C was part of a litter of seven that we found under a wood pile at my then-landlord's house. My then-roommate Cate Schrim had a dog named Walter, who she found as a stray. He got another stray dog pregnant, so Cate felt that she should feed her which is how we monitored her belly. Then one day, she showed up and we realized she had the puppies. We just didn't know where they were.
A month later, Walter was run over on Golf Course Road. It was so unexpected and heartbreaking because Walter was a great dog, and he loved Cate as much as she loved him. The next day though, I'm having dinner with my friend, Lesley Villarreal, when I receive a text from my then-landlord that she found the puppies.
We all rushed over and grab them one-by-one from a wood pile. There they were. Seven little Walter babies. Four of them were completely white which Cate learned were double merles, meaning they were born with special needs. Some have vision problems and some were deaf. Mr. C is vision-impaired (and selective hearing). Finding homes for dogs is hard enough in Marfa, but finding a home for a dog with health issues is even harder. I knew I was adopting one of the double merles and Mr. C was the one.
I intended on calling him Gustavo and Gus Gus for short, but I kept calling him Mr. Chubbs because he was by far the biggest of the litter (he still is). “And then there's Mr. Chubbs.” One morning I went to the crate where the puppies were sleeping and whispered “Mr. Chubbs.” He woke up, so that became his name. Mr. Gustavo Chubbs. I call him Mr. C or Chubbs now.
Timing would have it that my friend Genevieve Gallaway needed someone to pet sit for her and she allowed me to bring Mr. C with me. Those few weeks gave us time away from the other puppies (who were eventually adopted) so we could get to know each other. Lesley told me that he would be extra close to me because he would rely on me to see. She was right. I quickly learned that he could only see a foot in front of him and would cry if I walked too far away. I constantly spoke to him so he knew I was still around.
But he is so smart. He adapted to a schedule pretty quickly (the mornings I open the coffee shop are still too early for him though). He's ready for bed at 9pm, no matter where we are and will let me know when he's ready to go home.
To him, his lack of vision is all he knows. He is sensitive to the sun but refuses to wear doggles. He gets overwhelmed in loud settings. Locals have learned not to approach him too quickly because he gets defensive, but I did have to buy him a vest that says “Vision-impaired. Please give me space” for the tourists. I can only share his story so many times, you know? Some people get it and unfortuntely, some people don't.
He's the first dog I've raised by myself, but I have a strong support group of friends who help me whenever I have a question or if something happens. My mind can go to the worst scenario, so my friends basically reassure me that he's not dying.
Besides his blindness, he's allergic to grain and red meat. It drives me insane that he's a picky eater, so I have to have special food mailed to us because it's the only one he will eat. I never thought I would become one of those dog mom.
But I suffer from allergies and social anxiety too, so we're really two peas in a pod. He is so loved, not just by me, but by mostly everyone he meets. He's excited to see his friends too. Sometimes it's a bit much, but it is endearing.
Last night I had a panic attack. I'm fine now, but it was the first one I had since I moved to Marfa almost five years ago. I am so glad I had my dog there to help me through it. I don't normally post about stuff like this in such a public setting, but it made me realize how much I need him as much as he needs me. He could tell something was wrong and wouldn't leave my side until I went to bed. He let me pet him until I calmed down and he slept with his head on my chest until I fell asleep. I have never felt so loved.
Adopting Mr. C was one the best decisions I've ever made.