The VOICE of Inspiration
By Don Lindsey
For the first 40 years of my life, I didn’t consider myself a dog person. I was bitten in the face pretty badly when I was a kid and while I didn’t fear dogs, I would have never seen myself owning one. As I’ve learned, having a wife and kids will change a lot and while I’m still very much a cat person (we have five), I’ve also changed my opinion on having dogs living under the same roof as myself.
It started with our Doberman Loki.
We were told that he was a black and brown hound dog mix and when we took him to the vet, we found out that the “mix” was Doberman. I was a bit worried as my only opinion of this breed of dogs were from the Magnum P.I television show where the good guy’s friend (Higgins), had a couple of mean looking Dobermans that were his security dogs. It sounds silly now when I think back on it because our Loki is one of the sweetest creatures you could meet.
A big reason for that they tell me is because he was a rescue animal and they tend to be more submissive, looking to be loved and spoiled once they have settled into their new homes. That’s certainly the case with Loki and with our other dog Leia.
Now having Leia as a pet is even more surprising if you know me because she’s a chihuahua and they are cute little critters but my only experience with them left me feeling as if they were yappy, possessive and sometimes aggressive. As with Loki, I have had Leia show me that rescue dogs are not prone to act the way you think that their breed would. She is sweet, playful and absolutely loves everyone she meets. After learning about her history, it amazes me that she is as friendly as she is.
We first found out about her through a rescue shelter in Fort Pierce that saves dogs that have been put on the list to be euthanized. My mother in law adopted Holly Belle, her chihuahua from the same shelter and a few weeks later, Tammy discovered that Holly had a sister who needed a new home as well. I really did not want a chihuahua even though my mother in law’s dog was nothing like I remembered the breed being. It became clear however that Tammy really wanted to see if we could adopt her so we went to the shelter to meet her.
I should probably stop the story right here for a moment and explain that Tammy has always (playfully) accused me of stealing her kids and animals so I really was hoping Leia would take to her and be her dog. When we first entered the shelter and they brought her out to us, it looked as if I was going to get my wish as Leia was very smitten with Tammy and didn’t want to leave her. She was nice to me and let me hold and pet her but would then drift back towards my wife. I was happy about this and all was going according to plan until out of nowhere, she walked over to my lap and decided that she was happy there. Needless to say, I still hear about that.
I act as if I was put off by her wanting me to be her main human, but truth be told, I fell in love with the little critter right away. It was me who named her Leia and picked out her clothes which I would never have dreamed of doing and to this day, she is always attached to my hip. The more I learn about her, the more I respect and love her for the life she had to endure before we were lucky enough to have her.
Both Holly and Leia were rescued from a puppy farm where they were abused. Holly had heartworms when they took her to be put down and Leia had a massive chemical burn on her back along with a rib that is still tender if you pick her up the wrong way. The damage to Leia wasn’t just physical either, this dog will have some of the worst night terrors that you can imagine, and they are so bad that she will scream very loud until you are able to wake her up and reassure her that she’s okay.
I can’t begin to fully grasp the amount of abuse that these beautiful souls went through before finding their forever homes, but I am so glad that they made it through all of it to get to us. I feel as if I relate to Leia as far as being playful and loving but I also deeply admire her for her strength and ability to overcome everything that she’s had to. You’re not supposed to have favorites when you have multiple animals, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have a favorite. I would have never guessed that my spirit animal would be a chihuahua, but she is and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.