Thursday, October 31, 2019

A New Chapter

Saturday night, a facebook friend of mine posted a link to a dog at the Humane Society. She had "hearted" the posting so I took a look.

It said that the "hound mix" was one of their longest residents but that they didn't know why as she was such a sweet thing. I recognized the photo of the  dog from when I started my search back in April so I knew that she had been there at least that long. She was three and a half years old back then, so close to four now. Nowhere did it say if she was cat-friendly. Feeling rather hopeless but knowing that I had nothing to lose, I filled out the online application and sent it off.

The next day there was a reply. They wanted me to call my vet and give them permission to respond to the Humane Society's questions. They didn't want to talk to a receptionist, they wanted a specific vet name. (I had been to the vet recently and told the receptionists my dog-adoption woes. They assured me that they had my back, then told me a story about a vet that had applied to adopt a cat from a local rescue and had been denied. If a veterinarian isn't qualified to adopt a cat, I don't know who is.)  So bright and early Monday morning I was on the phone to the vet doing as the Humane Society asked. By the end of the day they got back to me with a request for me to make an appointment to meet the dog along with instructions on how to find their farm.

 Feeling more hopeful than I had since my third adoption attempt, I went shopping for new dog-walking clothes. I was not quite hopeful enough, however, to buy anything for a new dog. I should have known better.

Gregg and I had a late afternoon appointment yesterday. Last night we came home with a scared girl-hound named Ellie May. Since every girl-hound I have ever met was named Ellie May, we have been calling her Cully. She is totally in love with Gregg. And Lionel is totally smitten with his new dog.

Life is good.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Four and Five

At the end of September I attended a fiber festival with my BFF and Ray's old favorites, Caleb and his family. Caleb, who had been interestedly following my attempts at adopting a dog, asked how the search was going. I gave him the latest. Caleb was not surprised at the stories. He had heard similar from people he knew who had tried to adopt dogs.

"We passed a dog rescue about 10 minutes from here," he said while searching his phone for the name of the place, "Here it is."
I could see him scrolling. He turned the phone towards me and showed me a dog.
"How 'bout this one?"
I grinned and said, "Forward it to Greggie."
I pulled out my own phone and called my husband.
"Hey, Caleb is sending you a link to a dog. See what you think, and if you like him, fill out the application."
Gregg agreed to take a look.
That evening when I got home, I asked Gregg what he thought of the dog. He told me he had put in an application. I waited until the next day to call the rescue.

"I have your application right in front of me," said the woman on the other end of the line, "But the dog you have applied for is not cat friendly. We have others who are, if you are interested."

I asked what their adoption process entailed and was told that all members of the household were required to come and meet the dog. Then all members of the household were required to go home and think about it for a couple of days. If, after a couple of days, everyone still wanted the dog, they call the rescue to arrange for the dog to be brought to them. Someone would bring the dog to the house, do a home check, and then if the dog agreed, he was adopted. The whole process took about a week. Being so recently burned by a rescue that gave my dog away while I was following their 48 hour rule, I made a conscious decision to not proceed any further. However, undeterred, I continued to look at dogs.

A couple days later, I found a hound at a rescue that I hadn't tried yet. I was encouraged to see that in their descriptions of dogs, they encouraged dog park use as a form of exercise for their higher-energy, dog-friendly dogs. But the hound was a "courtesy post" for a collie rescue that had gone south to rescue a collie and had felt obliged to bring an emaciated hound back home with them. I then checked out the collie rescue website which said that it could be up to 10 days after an application had been submitted before someone from their rescue would get in contact. Since I had been waiting months to adopt, an additional 10 days didn't seem that bad, so I filled out the paperwork and pushed the button. Ten days later I got a call.

The woman, a collie fan, was doing the phone interviews for the rescue. She told me that there were multiple applicants for the hound, that she wasn't the one who made the final decision, and that she did not get to know who was the lucky recipient at the end of the process. We had a nice time chatting about dogs. We were hitting it off. I liked her. She was normal. I had a vague feeling that things were going ok. The questions seemed pretty reasonable to me. Then everything came to a screeching halt. The Dog Door of Death entered the room. I could tell at once from the one syllable "Oh" that it was the show-stopper.

"Well," I said, "In my defense, I would like you to know that a LOT of dogs die each year in house fires. I never had to worry about my dog because if the fire alarms ever went off, Ray was the first one out of the house. If you were in his way, you better look out because he would knock you over to get out that dog door."

The woman was interested. She had never thought of it before, but as she stressed to me again, she did not make the final decision. She would pass on the information though. She wished me good luck and rang off.

The last time I looked (today), the hound was still listed on their website. Apparently, I wasn't the only one that didn't measure up enough to adopt the poor emaciated girl dog.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Third Time the Charm?

I didn't wait to start looking at dogs again. As a matter of fact, I went to the local shelter in Wisconsin just in case the perfect dog happened to live there. And I scanned our local shelter each day to make sure no perfect dogs slipped through my fingers. On the day before I was to return home, one popped up on the shelter website. I sent Gregg the link along with the message that maybe we could stop at the shelter on the way home from the airport and take a look. But by the time I had deplaned, all I wanted to do was go home. So we skipped the shelter and by the end of the day the dog had been adopted.

I had been looking for a dog at the county shelter for months but any suitable dogs were adopted quite quickly. The same 10 dogs had been there all summer long; the 10 were pitbulls, elderly dogs, a "nippy" dog, a couple that were dog (and cat) aggressive, and one "escape artist." So I decided to expand my search. I looked at dogs in other counties, the more rural ones that were about an hour's drive away.

Almost immediately I found a dog that spoke to me. He was a stray that had been quite emaciated when found, was timid, and afraid of cats. He was at an SPCA but there was no online application. I called them and was informed that they required adopters to come to their location to fill out the application and then they had to wait 48 hours while the application was processed. I asked if they had any restrictions on crates and dog doors but they assured me that they did not. I decided to give it a shot.

I drove the hour or so to the site and asked to see the inappropriately named "Valor". (I'd call him Val I decided in my head). The employee brought me to his cage and tried to coax him out. Poor Val was terrified. He cringed past the cages and outside to the run. The handler turned him loose. Val ran back and forth across the field, giddy with freedom. He stayed well out of our way, and finally stopped for a snack at a lush patch of grass on the opposite side of the chain link fence. He bent his neck to try to grab a bite but the grass was just out of reach. Val craned his neck farther and farther. Soon he was standing on his head quite determined to get some grass. I was entranced by his goofiness. I asked where to get an application and went to fill it out. The handler stayed behind trying to catch a hound that was joyfully zooming around her. I grinned.

There were no other applicants for Val when I submitted my application and I was told that there had been only one in the three weeks that he was there. That one had been rejected. I felt somewhat confident that he would be ours.

Forty-eight hours later, I called the shelter. Val had been adopted already. I was stunned. I asked why my application had been rejected. The woman who answered the phone didn't know, she transferred me to another person who could give me an answer. I asked again why my application had been rejected. I needed to know in case it was a booby trap that I hadn't thought about. It wasn't that my application had been rejected, it was because someone had come in to adopt a dog and had brought their own dog along with them. Their dog and Val had gotten along so well that the SPCA had given Val to them. No 48 hour waiting period required. They thought that the people were a "better fit" for Val. I asked how she could possibly know if they were a better fit. No one had talked to me or asked me any questions. How could they possibly know? Why was I rejected? She had no answer. I asked if I could adopt one of their other dogs, an elderly one with a large open wound on his leg.

"Of course you can!" the woman replied happily.
"So, I'm not good enough for the dog that I want," I replied. "But I'm good enough for the one you want me to have." She was incoherently trying to respond  when I hung up on her.

I cried the rest of the day (I cry every time I think about it). Since I now needed to own a dog in order to adopt a dog, my chances of adopting seemed even more remote than before.