“Four hours till home. Anyone want to place bets on how long it will take my husband to get a dog now that the trip is over?” –my Facebook post, Monday, October 22nd
Five days. That’s the final count: home Monday night; dog Friday night. She’s curled up next to me on the sofa, sacked out, as I write this. And she’s been such a blessing.
A very brief history of where we’d come from: one dog owned for fourteen years, another owned for twelve years, neither one of which were big fans of “those kids” once they came along nine years ago. Bo was a mean enough dog we were genuinely concerned about how things were going to go; it turned out to be fine, but I never trusted him much. Basie was tolerant but skittish; he’d just leave the room if a child wandered in.
So much for the idea of “a boy and his dog.”
For three days after we were home my husband and I researched dogs; we looked online at three different shelters and a rescue and compared notes about who we’d found that was interesting. (This involved lots of “Oh, look at this one!”; and hormonal pregnant woman having to leave the room when the family would look at the homeless doggie videos.) I was surprised–pleased, really–at how quickly some promising dogs came and went; a dog there one day might not be there the next. But I collected a little list of names when my husband said we’d go by one of the shelters Friday night.
When we pulled up, I saw her. I knew it was her, but I didn’t say anything to my husband; who had already assured me he’d done this before and that what we really wanted to do was walk the kennels and see who we were drawn to. So I said nothing as we piled out of the car and took in all the incessant barking around us, and then I heard him say, “Look at that black one….” and I got to smile and know that this would be easier than I thought.
We went in, though, to ask a worker for some more information about my list of four; she was an amazing source of information and could rattle off all sorts of things about each dog: “Alex was just adopted this morning; Carolean….you really don’t want her in a family with kids, that wouldn’t go well; Kina would be wonderful, she’d be great; Jullian, well…..” And then I had to laugh as she went on to describe behavior that pretty much fit our old Bo to a “T.” (At one point later, I was talking about Jullian-dog with another worker, who used the phrase, “He can be…..weird,” which made me burst out laughing. That was the exact same phrase we used about Bo. Often.)
“He can be so sweet and so affectionate, but there are times, if he’s cornered….he can get really aggressive….but he can truly be a really good dog….”
Yeah…I’ve done that for fourteen years, thanks. I’m done. Time for a friendly dog.
So we went out to collect sweet Kina and get to know her a bit, in the huge play yard/agility training course they have in one area. Of course, for the first ten minutes, she had absolutely no interest in us, as the area had probably been marked by dozens of dogs, and there were so many things to smell. (At one point my foster-parent-trained husband looked at me and laughed, “She has attachment issues.”) But she finally decided that the people were more interesting than the smells, and as I watched my family play with the dog–the one I felt from the start was ours–I knew it was official.
Why would anyone get rid of such a friendly, precious dog? It turned out their grandchildren had allergies. Our extended family has had much discussion about who they’d get rid of….the dog or the kids. lol (My pharmacist husband’s comment: “They make medicine for that.”)
So we came home with a pet. Not a former stray, or just a dog, but someone who’s been a pet for six years and who’d been passed over time and again at the shelter (age-related concerns, I assume) but who is an unbelievably well-trained, well-behaved, sweet-tempered pet. She loves to be loved, and will snuggle with my kids. (!!!) It broke my heart the first few nights she was here as I realized we were having to teach my kids how to play with a dog; they’d never been able to before. Now they can play with her and walk her and love on her and I’m able to relax a bit and not spend every waking moment saying “Careful of the dog!”
And then, that first night home, she went outside and rolled in something completely heinous.
Yep…..we’re officially dog owners again. 🙂
The title from this post came from the announcement my daughter wrote on our dry-erase board the night we got Kina, playing off the “Florence and the Machine” song “Dog Days are Over.” I thought it was pretty ingenious for a seven-year-old.