Ken has begun telling us about he came to be a dog lover and rescuer. It began in Costa Rica with a dog named Duque. But it was Brando who Ken found on Petfinder who really claimed his heart.
Joy: Lets go back to Costa Rica. I want you to go to the one point youre saying to yourself, When I get home I have to get a dog.”
Ken: Part of it was that I think I was sort of grieving for this dog that I couldn’t bring back. Yeah and I thought to occupy my thoughts–instead of obsessing over this dog that am I going to be thinking, Is he being taken care of? Is he okay?”–if I can take care of another dog then I can hopefully not worry so much about him. Or at least not obsess about it. Also it was that I came back and wanted to continue to get work done and I immediately noticed that without the dog I just woke up and stared at the wall.
I have to say I spent a couple of days not getting work done and I spent a couple of days where I would find myself going to Tompkins Square and looking into the dog run, past the sign that says No people without dogs allowed.” And I thought Im not going to get any work done until I get a dog. I made a decision within days of returning, Im absolutely getting a dog. I went on to Petfinder. There wasnt really a long period of time where I was trying to figure this out. I went to Petfinder and found Brando, his little picture.
Joy: As you’re looking at his picture, what goes through your mind?
Ken: When I looked at it then I thought he doesn’t look like any dog I’ve ever seen. I want a dog that doesnt look like one Ive ever seen because I dont want to get a dog that seems like a replacement for the one Im really missing.
Joy: Whats bad about getting a replacement?
Ken: I was worried that I would have expectations that it would be the dog that I was missing instead of being the dog that it was. Or that I would be disappointed that it wasnt really like the other dog. Looks like him but doesnt act like him. I just thought if I get a dog that doesnt look anything like him then I cant have any expectations and I can let the dog be who it really is and maybe move forward and not foster this obsession with a dog thats living in another country.
At the time I still wanted to make sure I was making the right decision and I went to visit. I actually went to several shelters. I went to the ASPCA and there was a dog there named Maury who actually did look a little like Duque and was really big, because he was an adult, and he had some issues and mostly because of his size I just thought, I cant adopt this dog. Hes too big.”
Then I went and saw Brando, who was a puppy and therefore not big, and I was convinced that he wasnt going to get any bigger, because somebody at the shelter told me that. But obviously I wanted to believe that because anybody looking at him would know he wasnt fully grown. I visited him everyday for a week. I didnt want to rush into anything. I didnt want to make a decision I regretted. I didnt want to have to go back and say I made a mistake. Im giving this dog back. So I would go visit him everyday and try to take him for a walk but he didnt wont to go for a walk cause, I realize now because he had separation anxiety and he just wanted to stay wherever he was. Yet at the same time I completely fell in love with him. Each day he would get more and more excited to see me, even though he didnt want me to take him anywhere. He would literally tumble out at my feet from his pen. He was so excited that all he knew was to somersault across the floor at me.
Joy: As you see him and he is tumbling out, at what point are you telling yourself that this is the dog who has to go home with you?
Ken: To be honest, when I first laid eyes on him cause I went there and I said, Im looking for a dog named Brando,” cause that was his name on Petfinder. And somebody had actually changed his name so the people at the front office there didnt have that name on anything and said, We dont think hes here but you can look at the dogs we do have.”
So I went over and walked in and Im looking at these dogs and they were in a temporary shelter at the time so there were no windows and the only light was a bare fluorescent bulb. It was kind of depressing of course. They all started barking like crazy, which now that Ive spent a lot of time shelters I know means absolutely nothing, but at the time I thought, I wouldnt take one of these dogs. Theyre all crazy!” As I was turning to walk out, I saw Brando.
I didnt see the sign that said Brando. I just saw him, the dog, and he was just quietly sitting, staring at me.
I thought, Thats him.” I hadnt recognized that it was the dog I had actually gone there to see. I just thought that, theres my dog.” Then I looked up and saw the sign and thought, Oh! There IS my dog!”
See you tomorrow back here for Day 7 of Ken’s interview!