25 Jan Theo♥️
Two months after graduating college, I already regretted the path I was on. I was miserable. And miserable 22 year old me made the best bad decision of my life and went to the humane society on a whim to meet the cute dog behind the online photo I had looked at earlier in the week.
That cute photo I saw ended up being Theo, who had been starved and abused the first 3 years of his life, and returned to the shelter twice already by new adopters. When I met him, he was completely uninterested in me, flinched when anyone was tried to touch him, and would snap anytime you caught him off guard. Stubborn and miserable 22 year old me adopted him that day.
I don’t know why- maybe because he was cute, maybe because I knew I needed something to focus on and ‘fix’ besides myself. So I made Theo my project. With the help of my angel roommate at the time, Lisa, we decided we were up for the challenge of teaching Theo to trust people.
And man was it worth it. From the early days of bites and scars, being afraid of him, having to tie his leash to my balcony railing and fill up buckets of water to bathe him since we couldn’t touch him, he gradually began to trust. I could pet him, pick him up, scratch his ears. And he came out of his shell too- he was SO goofy. He loved getting into the local creek and dipping his snout in, doing the funniest looking zoomies, perching himself on the console of my car while driving since he was a bit too short to see out the side windows, and my personal favorite thing- he LOVED pillows. He was the actual king of comfy mountain (sorry noodle).
I’ve never met a dog with more personality than Theo. He had so many layers and the best selective hearing I’ve ever seen. No one told him what to do, but he tended to just do all the right things. We developed this incredible bond- this complete trust. He stopped biting, I was able to pick him up, touch his paws, he stopped flinching when I went to scratch his ears. And through all of our progress together, I became a bit less miserable.
Despite him claiming a little part of my soul, my life path still felt off. My parents had come to love and understand Theo (and him them), and I asked if they could take care of him while I went to grad school overseas. Our family dog of 17 years had passed away a couple years prior and I knew my dad was ready for a new companion.
The day I left for grad school was the day I introduced Theo to his new best friends. My dad and Theo had the ultimate bond. While what Theo and I shared was transformative, Theo’s bond with my dad was deep, loving, and constant (being a retiree helped). They had the cutest daily routines, their own language almost, and Theo came to literally WAIT in the shower for my dad to come give him a bath. And my mom and Theo had the most special relationship. He would always bring her his toys, lovingly called “babies” and would come by her side on the couch regularly. He also got his own yard to watch over, which I think was his absolute favorite thing of all (besides food).
Obviously, I stayed abroad for longer than grad school, and by then my mom had already announced “You wouldn’t have been getting Theo back anyway!” as he was a fully cemented part of their family. Our bond remained- no one could pick him up but me, he would always saunter over when I would say “give me a kiss!”, and he would always stick by my side right after I came home again for at least the first night.
But I really really loved seeing the love my parents had for Theo. He was their baby. But, gotta love ‘em, they kept pretending like he was mine. Each weekly FaceTime call home would include a little chat time between Theo and me, I’d get Mother’s Day cards “from Theo”, and my parents would continue to lovingly call him “your boy” to me.
I will never be able to adequately put into words how immensely grateful I was for them that they called Theo their own after all Theo and I had been through, knowing that he was important to me, and recorrecting my life path was important to me too. They never made me feel bad about leaving after I adopted him, and they didn’t have to. Because through Theo and my choices, I learned so much about commitment, and patience, and loyalty, and love- so much so that I did what I said I’d never do and memorialized that meaning into a pet tattoo of Theo.
I could keep going on. And I made a folder of my favorite photos of Theo and it ended up having nearly 400 photos in it😳 So here are a few. I loved Theo so much. I will forever think of fluffing his chest fluff when I’m feeling anxious, or seeing his goofy face sneezing when laying on his back, or catching one of his corgi ears standing upright after he had just woken up. I’ve never experienced a loss like this one- he really changed me as a person and claimed a piece of my soul. I feel so lucky that we found each other when we did- I just wish I had found him earlier. He’ll forever be the best bad decision I ever made. Miss you bubs. Love you forever.♥️
From Bill & Jayme:
Theo was 13 1/2 when he passed. We don’t know much about his first three years, but he was destined to join us after our daughter, Lauren, was drawn to him at a Charlotte, NC animal shelter. It was Lauren who adopted, nurtured and established the unbreakable bond that remained for the next 10 years. Through DNA analysis, she learned that he was Cardigan Welsh Corgi mix. Based on his having one blue and one brown eye we believe the mixer included a Australian Shephard. Theo was Lauren’s her co-pilot on the many road trips she made home to Virginia from NC – he loved to travel. Theo came to us when Lauren decided to leave Charlotte for graduate school in China. This move from apartment living to a house with fenced yard suited Theo as he quickly marked his territory perimeter and let anyone he saw outside the fence know it was his yard. Theo loved walks in the neighborhood, in parks and in the woods. The once place he did not like to go was the vet! Fortunately, he only had to go to the vet annually, but it was always an ordeal. Even in his last visit, from where he crossed the Rainbow Bridge, he still put up resistance – despite the truly wonderful care he received. He was a real character who fit our family well and added both joy and excitement. We will truly miss him, but have so many great memories of his time with us to be thankful for. We Love You Theo. Bill & Jayme Huleatt.