It’s been just over six months since we adopted our herding-hound mix Cambodia. She came to us as an eight-month-old pup after being found wandering the woods outside Greensboro, North Carolina. She was timid and malnourished, but with a big heart and a propensity to lick people. A big thanks to the amazing Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue group for bringing her to New York to start her new life.
First off, I’ve never been so happy to take on new responsibility. And let me tell you, it is a lot of responsibility. Being in charge of the well being of an animal has reminded me, kind of how travel does, of what’s most important in life. Health. Happiness. Safety. All the things I want to badly to give to Bodie in this second chance at life she has.
When Bodie first came home, all three of us were confused. Defining the dynamic of a 2-human-1-animal household is a complex task. There’s the scheduling, the potty training, the food, the walking. And in addition to adapting to her, she needed to adapt to us. Both Matt and I work, we enjoy getting out in NYC, and there’s also the little issue of my travel habit. How does it all piece together?
It’s hard, but it has been unbelievably rewarding.
Instead of slaving away at my computer non-stop and watching TV when I need a break, I spend more time in the park and out in the city. I’m getting more exercise and I’m talking more. I have so many new reasons to strike up conversation with the people in my neighborhood with a dog in tow. I’ve learned a lot about my neighbors and I feel like a real part of my community now. And I love my neighborhood. Love it. (I even wrote an article about Fort Greene for American Way Magazine too. THATS how much I love it.) When I walk into our local pet store, they know our names.
But it took a while to get here – a few frigid winter months to find balance. Slowly as the weeks progressed, we started to see Bodie’s personality come out, as well as her likes and dislikes.
And this dog likes toys. Not so much for playing fetch, but for chewing, tugging, and subsequently destroying. Complete destruction. It’s amazing really. There is a graveyard of stuffed creatures and rope toys in our house. I wonder if there is any point to buying her little gifts from the places I visit as the poor things only lasts an hour once she sinks her teeth into them.
She is also big on squirrel tracking. In the park, in the yard, wherever.
And as it turns out, Bodie also enjoys travel. She has really mastered the art of sitting in the car and being patient. In her short time with us, we’ve traveled to Vermont twice, to Ithaca New York, to the suburbs in Rockland County, and once to a New Jersey nature preserve for a 7 mile hike through the woods. My little traveler is learning quickly. She even went to Eva’s Play Pups amazing country boarding for ten days – it’s basically summer camp for dogs, and she loved every minute. And there’s a lot more in store for the summer.
This dog is no saint though. In addition to stealing socks and freaking out when she spies a cat, she has figured out how to launch herself on top of the refrigerator (we were not home mind you) in search of her treats. During the first and only time this happened, she ate six bags of her expensive treats in one sitting. All dog things have since been moved to a closed cabinet far far away. Then there’s her eerie ability to open doors with latch doorhandles. I’m reminded of that kitchen scene in Jurassic Park when the velociraptors learn how to open the door. Not good.
But when she’s not involved in shenanigans or in the destroying of harmless stuffed animals, she is a loving furball I feel lucky to call my dog. Her renewed shot at life has been a reminder of important lessons we learned on the road. And she has helped make our transition from Round-the-World travel back to Brooklyn a lot happier. I love calling Fort Greene my home base.
And it’s mostly thanks to my little Cambodia.