My sister emailed me this animal shelter ad in February of 2007. "I found you the perfect dog," she wrote. "Just look at the spirit that dog has."
"Why did you send this?" I wrote back. "You know I don't want any more dogs." My cocker spaniel of 14 years had died of old age the month before and the hubs and I had decided we didn't want any more dogs.
Dogs were expensive. They required training, couldn't be left home alone like a cat, and needed more attention than a cat. They tended to have accidents in the house and chewed things. Plus we had six cats and a snake. Why would we need any more pets?
"But just look at that face," my sister fired back. "She's been in the equivalent of doggy jail and yet look at how happy she looks."
I couldn't argue with that. The dog really seemed to have a great outlook despite being in a shelter. But she was an American Pitbull Terrier, a breed I'd said I'd never have due to the bad publicity over them. Many cities had even banned pitbulls.
But I couldn't get the ad out of my mind. Just for the hell of it, I decided to drive the 2.5 hours south to Wetumpka, Alabama where the shelter was located one town over from where my sister lived.
My sister met me there. I'd like to be able to say it was love at first sight between me and this dog, but that wouldn't be true. In fact, she wanted to play with her tennis ball more than she wanted to interact with us. But she did know obedience commands and performed them for us. That was a plus. And she wasn't a puppy. Also a plus. In fact, she'd been found with a litter of week-old puppies. All of the puppies had been adopted.
To make a long story short, I did not adopt Lyla that day, but couldn't get her out of my mind. Two months later she was still at the shelter, her stay of execution extended until we made a decision (the shelter was county-run and could not afford to keep unadopted animals indefinitely.) The hubs and I brought her home and she has been the BEST dog we've ever had. We renamed her "Moxie" because she was loaded with it.
She's an old girl now, but she stays in shape with swimming in your backyard pool during the warm months and walking outdoors and on a treadmill during the cold months. She gets along fabulously with our other pets and always charms visitors and veterinarian hospital staff. She even inspired me to write a humorous paranormal mystery titled The Weredog Whisperer about a pitbull terrier bitten by a weredog who becomes a teenaged girl during the full moon.
And she's still chock full of moxie.