Tootsie Rollita

If you know me, you know the story of my English Bulldog Tootsie. If you don't, you soon shall.

Tootsie Rollita entered my life on June 18, 2009. Upon arriving in my (then) Lincoln Park home, I picked her up out of the backseat of her foster mothers car as tears streamed down my face. I could see the fear in her eyes instantly as I tried to comfort her. I whispered, "I'm your new mommy. Welcome home sweet girl."

Thats a day I will never forget for so many reasons. When I first saw her, I was a little taken aback and remember thinking she looked so different than a "typical" bulldog. She was really skinny and long. Her poor arms were so bowed that she looked like she was in pain. I knew about her condition prior to getting her but the pictures didn't showcase her true body issues and scars she had on all of her limbs. I remember telling myself not to judge her. She's my dog now and I'll love her as she is. I feel like déjà vu right now.

You see, I rescued Tootsie. She was a former puppy mill girl. Branded by a number tattooed inside her ear, 41. In case you aren't familiar with puppy mills, they are awful places where greedy people use dogs to pump out puppies for their pockets' profit. Usually the dogs live in really poor conditions and have little to no social interaction with humans outside of their "work." Once they have been used up, so to speak, they send them off to auctions, if the pups are lucky, or they do the unthinkable and kill them. They are merely numbered vessels for puppy making. It's sick! So, if you ever think about buying a puppy from a boutique store, this is where that dog comes from.

Fortunately for Toots and many other sweet babies, there are organizations like CEBR, Chicago English Bulldog Rescue. They are angels without wings. They rescue these battered souls and find them wonderful homes. The application and adoption process is legit and takes some time. I joke that Angelina and Brad get kids faster from other countries, but I'm glad they have the process they have.

I met them through PAWS, a no kill animal shelter in Chicago. Mandy, my BFF and I were out shopping one Saturday afternoon and decided to check out some pups. I was in the market for a dog as my life had undergone some personal changes that made me ready to be a mommy to a fur-baby. I've wanted an English bulldog my entire life, no exaggeration. Usually, when I want something, I get it. Usually. My search for a breeder was a lot more challenging than I planned it to be and the costs of buying an EB were outrageous. Crazy girl here.. I was even going to fly, drive and bus it to MInnesota to pick up my dog.

Thank goodness I had a friend to talk me off that ledge! Mandy suggested I check out the pups at PAWS to gauge my interest level of adoption. Low and behold, it was bulldog day! CEBR was having their meet and greet and I fell in love! It was fate telling me something!

One sweet girl I met was Barbie. She laid in my lap for an hour and I just loooved her. Needless to say, my adoption process started that day. I really sought to adopt Barbie, but they place the dog that's best for you based on your home, personality, etc.

Hindsight, they hit the nail on the head with Toots and I. She is the butter to my bread.

Those first few nights were rough. Heck, the first few months were! Before she arrived, I had toys and beds and crates and food and treats -all waiting for her. She came in and immediately put all the toys on the couch and laid on top of them. I don't know for sure but my guess is that it was a territory thing, or she missed the puppies they ripped from her right before she was rescued.

Toots had a list of issues... Starting with steps. I was on the second floor and she didn't know how to go up or down stairs. That took a week or two and a ton of patience to get used to. Then walking in the city was a whole other issue. She literally put on her bully breaks in the middle of a Chicago intersection once. She cried at night for the first few days and that KILLED me so I fell victim early on to allowing her in my bed. A week into having her, she ate a rope. That was a fun trip to the vet ER. Then she had food issues for a couple weeks. It was summer too so she was so hot on walks and I was scared to death of her overheating. It was rough! I'm sure the rescue thought I was a loon! I called them daily to try and figure out what to do. But I stop by her and she by me.

Fast forward a few months later, Jay came into our lives. He and Toots instantly connected. We took her to Jays place in Indiana and learned that she loved the country! We also had an incident with a fire truck that caused some havoc in the city. She was trying to do her business and a firetruck came barreling down the street. Scared the crap out of her! She tried to run and I tried to comfort her... Big mistake! She reverted back to her puppy mill days and had to learn how to go potty outside again. Great. Add PSTD to the list. Took until we moved to Jays to get her back on track.

Oh did I mention... Separation anxiety? We were in obedience school and she was also diagnosed with separation anxiety because she hated me leaving her. Lovely. Now my rescued dog is so attached to me that I can't leave the house or she poops on the floor!

In the meantime, I was taking her to the dr. because she had a limp. I thought for sure her leg was just sprained or something but we learned that she had arthritis and hip displaysia. Her bones cracked like a 90 year old man. Oh, AND she had interdigital cysts in her paws. AND she has an entropic eyelid. Great. 6 months in and I've spent more on vet bills than I paid for her. Thank goodness for pet insurance!

Fast forward to our move to the country and Tootsie was a new dog. She had a new big sister, a daddy that snores like her and a big old yard to poop in! She was happier than a pig in slop! Talk about faithful too. She loves me more than anything in this world. She takes every step I do. She still cuddles with me every night. She's my girl. Life for her is quite well now. She's settled in her ways and such a creature of habit. You know what you can expect from her at all times. Farts, companionship, love, loud snores, and more farts.

One evening, I was giving Toots her nightly massage, yes shes a queen in our home, and I said to Jay, "I think Toots is Gods way of preparing me for a kid with special needs." (keep in mind, this is over 2 years ago.) He told me I was crazy and that she wasn't special needs... You be the judge of that last part.

Then comes the baby. Tootsie and porsche certainly sensed my pregnancy. They cling to me more than ever. They also knew not to lay on my belly. It was so interesting to watch. I still try to give them as much attention as I can.

Now I worry that Toots has a broken heart. I worry if I don't give her enough attention she feels neglected. So we have a nightly mommy/Toots time. But her eyes tell me. She is sad that she's not my number one girl anymore. I also know that she knows I love her and she knows what it's like to be a mom. (yes, this is what I tell myself to sleep at night.)

I owe so much of the happiness in my life to Toots. She opened my heart up so much and in ways I didn't know existed. I still believe she was a preparation for my life today. Jay still remembers me saying that about her.

Sometimes I still believe in the back of my mind, I just knew our baby would have a disability. SO many signs were in front of me. Intuition if you will.

Regardless of life's obstacles and challenges, we love our peanut and our farting, snoring and oh so sweet Tootsie Rollita.

Thank you for all of my life's blessings.

Until next time..

Ps- this blog was written on my blogger app so there may be typos and pics are everywhere. I'll edit from the computer at some point. Maybe.


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