Bowpi’s three-year Gotcha Day came and went. I’ve been reflecting lately on what a different dog she has become compared to what little we were told when her previous owner handed her over.

We first met at an enclosed dog park, which in retrospect wasn’t the best environment for introductions — though at least it was during relatively calm hours. Bowpi responded to the overwhelming newness by squirting diarrhea into one corner of the park. “Once she gets nervous, it instantly turns to liquid,” was the previous owner’s explanation. I did not realize that she had never been to a dog park before.

19 December 2012

Suffice to say, that is no longer an issue. She even handles off-leash hikes like she was born ready.

14 February 2013

We were told she’s a little clumsy and uncoordinated, and trips all over herself when going down stairs.

20121231 Bowpi descending

Uncoordinated is perhaps the last word I’d use to describe her mobility.

Bowpi didn’t have much of an appetite when she first arrived, and we were warned that this was due in part to her preference for eating only when safely locked inside her crate. Well, this seemed to be true at first… but it didn’t take long to switch out the Kibbles ‘n Bits she came with in favor of more appetizing fare.

20120121 Dinner face II

Crating was not necessary, so we broke that thing down and put it away. When I saw the rows of little teeth marks scored into the inner ridge of that plastic box, I was almost driven to tears, knowing her previous owner confessed to keeping her confined for 10 to 16 hours a day. A few shredded tissues are occasionally sacrificed for her current freedom.

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After all, she knows how to stay out of trouble by sleeping. A lot. Preferably on top of, against, tucked under, or between warm bodies.

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With such a natural inclination for just being with people, her previous owner’s boyfriend must have really been obtuse to argue for her being an outside dog. Make no mistake — she loves sunbathing and nature walks… but Bowpi, an outside dog??

20121231 Moonie moonie

Not unless you’re sleeping out there, too. No wonder she saw fit to bite that ridiculous guy hard enough to draw blood — or so we were told. Either he was lying, or he deserved it. The very idea that Bowpi could lash out against anyone, human or dog, is frankly inconceivable to me, having felt and seen her little fishbites when she takes food from my fingers or goads other dogs into play.

20120113 I caught Bowpi trying to "herd" a Husky!

I’ve never even seen her so much as try to bite the vet. She’s capable of some incredible restraint (certainly in comparison to the other Bow!).

When we first got Bowpi, we thought that she came from a local breeder whose identity had been lost in the shuffle of papers and homes that preceded ours. However, as I learned just this year, she actually came from somewhere around Houston, Texas. Original breeder name still unknown… but this bit of knowledge is already enough to disorient my imagination of her puppyhood.

So as it turns out, this entire household is comprised of non-native transplants.

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For all the advantages of adopting Bowpi in her maturity, I think what’s most remarkable is the extent to which she has changed, and continues to grow, expanding the very limits of potential itself. There’s this argument that you basically know what you’re getting when you adopt an older, adult dog; most of their preferences and intolerances are already well etched into their personality. But where do we get the idea that adulthood is a static thing? I’m certainly not finding this to be the case with my own developmental trajectory, either…

These are some lessons I can draw from our companionship. Nothing can account for everything, and everything is always changing. Three years from now, there’s no guarantee where we’ll be. All I can imagine is togetherness, abstracted.

20130304 Together

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