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Brooklyn Rebellion Dogs: Adventures of Woman and Dog in the Big City


A new blogumn by Shante Paradigm

“It should all seem so simple, but you rather make it hard…”

I doubt Lauryn Hill had dog ownership in mind when she wrote those words, nonetheless, they fit exactly my experience as a dog-mom. Today is the four month anniversary of my adoption of Tilopa Obama Smalls. Tilo for short. Let me start by saying why I wanted a dog and why I adopted. Sometime around the age of five, I discovered myself to be an unabashed lover of animals–cats, dogs, horses, pigs, reptiles, fish, non-human primates pretty much anything that can be found on Animal Planet.

Fast Forward not-so-many years later, and I am a year or so out of a heart-breaking relationship. One of the worse aspects of the break up was making a decision to not be responsible for my exes’ dog, as it caused too much emotional confusion, heartache, and unnecessary contact with someone I thought was a jerk-face. So after about 7 months of harassing helpless dogs and dog-owners on the streets of New York, watching countless puppy-cam cutsie and emotionally manipulative videos on YouTube, and sitting in local dog runs and mournfully watching dogs frolic, I decided to take the plunge.

I got Tilo from a rescue service that saved him from certain death at the shelter.(I’m not going to name the service, because although I think they do good work, I was not happy with pertinent information they left out about Tilo’s history of abuse and some of his issues. Now, I love my little man, and I suppose a parent can never be too prepared, but…I think I’m still smarting over it.) The process of finding Mr. T was arduous. I had grids, diagrams and dozens of web pages open. I couldn’t sleep, I would burst into tears for no reason at all, or when the dog I wanted had been adopted from right under my nose!

But then…I saw HIM.

He was staring up at me with the most gorgeous, soulful, loving brown eyes. Unfortunately, his name was “Tony,” so it had to be changed, but I wanted him. Really, it was between Tilo and another dog, but Tilo was younger, had less behavioral problems and less special needs. Also, he is a Pit Bull-Boxer-Hound mix and both insurance and my roommate felt more comfortable with that genetic melange. :)

So began our adventures: a couple thousand dollars later ( a years’ worth of insurance, a bed, a crate, toys, behavior management tools, food) we began our journey together. Even at times when I look at him and want to…well, I have thoughts that all mothers have, I love him dearly and understand he needs a lot of care and patience and he is teaching me to develop care and patience. It’s a win-win situation. This, of course, is all before he was spotty-trained, crate-trained or street-trained. Not to mention the adventure of the DOG Park.

I invite you to join me and Tilo on our twice-monthly adventures.