It has been an amazing two days.
We decided two weeks ago we were ready to be pet-parents again. We started researching breeds, temperaments and pet shelter/rescue organizations on-line. We made a wish-list of ideal criteria in a pet, while acknowledging we would be limited to what pets were available in local rescue shelters, we were ready to have a dog now so our patience was limited, and we could walk in and fall in love with a dog that completely contradicted every characteristic we wanted, so we were, ultimately, open to meeting and adopting the right dog when we found him, whatever, wherever. But, this was our wish-list:
No puppies. We wanted a house trained dog.
No dogs older than 2 years old. We wanted the majority of their life span left.
No large dogs. We loved having a small lap dog and wanted to have that same experience again.
No overly hairy, shedders.
Nothing TOO active and hyper.
Terrier, Chihuahua or Schnauzer mixes were our preferred breeds.
We began looking at websites for local pet shelters and rescue organizations and saw several potential pets, some well within our criteria, some completely mismatched. One dog, in particular, caught our eye. He was called “Troy” and was rescued in KY. He was only 12 weeks old and was a black and white Chihuahua mix. We thought he was adorable, but decided a puppy was impractical, too much work and training and besides that, he was in Kentucky and we had no idea what it would entail, how much it would cost, or how long we would have to wait to get him here, so we decided not to pursue him.
Then we had an unexpected, exorbitant expense last week that knocked us for a loop and cleaned our coffers and we decided we needed to wait to adopt a dog.
This past Friday night, Jeffrey discovered there was going to be a rescued dog adoption clinic at a nearby mall and, with no other plans this weekend, we decided it would be fun to go look at dogs and fill out an application with the agency running it for future reference.
We got there right at 10:00 am when the clinic opened and saw lots of great dogs, all needing a home. None seemed to fit any of our criteria: all were older (5-6 years), many were much larger and longer haired than we wanted, and few were breeds we wanted to consider. However, we love dogs and were happy to meet and pet them and learn about each one and still hoped to fill out an application. We even wore “just looking” stickers which allegedly was to let the volunteers know we weren’t really their to adopt yet.
As we made our way through the tiny, packed, dog-filled and chaotic space, we looked over to see a dog that stood out from all the others: a tiny, black and white chihuahua looking dog, sitting quietly and still, on a volunteer’s lap. No one was approaching it or petting it. Jeffrey grabbed my hand and said “I think that’s Troy.” I stopped him from heading over, reminding him we did not want a puppy (really more his criteria than mine) but he would not stop looking over and I knew right then, what was going to happen. With little resistance, he pulled me over to the Volunteer to ask if that was Troy, but just before we got there, another woman scooped him up and walked away. I felt two hearts sink in that moment. Still, Jeffrey asked the sitting volunteer if that was Troy. She said it was and that he had just been driven in from KY that morning. He asked if he had been adopted and she laughed and said no, that the other volunteer had just taken him out for a walk. I could feel the excitement rise as she said we could meet and hold him as soon as the other volunteer got back. We busied ourselves petting other dogs but kept a watchful eye on the back door at all times, waiting. As soon as we saw that tiny little black puppy head pop back through the doorway, Jeffrey pulled us back to the spot Troy would be returned to and waited with a big grin. The volunteer returned, handed Troy to Jeffrey and suddenly all the room fell away and it was just me watching my husband beaming with joy and love, holding on with determination to the little guy that had stolen his heart from the first time we glimpsed him on the web 2 weeks earlier. He looked at me and did not need to say anything: we had found our dog. The news got better as our application was accepted with no bumps, our prior Vet (for Clyde) was reached on the phone quickly and our history of vet care for our prior pet was confirmed. Jeffrey asked, with cautious pessimism, how long the entire adoption process would take and if we were looking at days or weeks before we could bring him home. The volunteer processing our app smiled and said once we’d had our interview with another volunteer, if all checked out, Troy could go home with us that day.
The interview happened immediately, thanks to an available volunteer (the 4th one we had dealt with in an hour’s time) and we passed with flying colors. Paperwork was handed to us, the fee was paid and, 70 minutes after arriving, we were walking out the door with our new bundle of joy. Once in the car, we decided to head directly to our vet (Banfield Hospital at Petsmart) so we could set up his first appointment, sign up for a training class, and get all our puppy essentials. We realized we did not have a name picked out and started bandying about various ideas on the drive to the vets. Although several stuck out as potentials, only one seemed to fit perfectly that we both liked and agreed on:
Harvey Milk Breen.
We got all our vet registration and shopping done, then headed home for what turned out to be a non-stop flow of visitors as friends read our Facebook announcement and began rushing over to Breen Acres to meet the new baby. Harvey met Grandma, my sister and brother-in-law, and 3 “uncles”, as well as an ex (now retired) co-worker. We were beaming proud parents as guests arrived to meet and welcome our new puppy. He was the focus of attention non-stop until the last guest left at midnight.
Then we had the pain of suffering through our first night of crating, as Harvey, who had not made a single sound the entire time from our first meet until bed time, began whimpering then howling and whining in agony over being in his crate, separated from us; a necessary pain we would all have to endure. For what seemed like an eternity, he whined cried until, at some merciful moment, he tired himself out and we all managed to drift off to sleep.
We were up early this morning for a breakfast meet-up we had scheduled before knowing we’d be proud daddies, and fought the urge to cancel and stay home as we dressed and enjoyed the unadulterated glee Harvey showed being out of the crate and at our side again. Only to be replaced with abject terror as we re-crated him and left.
2 hours later, we were back with three new friends and made up for abandoning him the rest of the afternoon.
2 days, 4 indoor potty-oopses, several leashed yard walks, 2 emotional crate experiences, a parade of new friends and a long nap with daddies later, we are able to say, without any doubt, we made the right decision and our home feels complete at last.
Here’s to a long, happy life together, Harvey. Hope we can make you half as happy as you’ve made us.