Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pet Found

(In case you are new, this is Part Three of a mini-series. It's really not going to make any sense without the first part, Pet Project. If you choose to continue to read anyway, don't say I didn't warn you)


Tuesday through Thursday, my day went like this:

Wake up.

Check shelter website to see if the dog was still there and hadn’t been picked up by Jerk.

Feed Daughter.

Check shelter website to see if the dog was still there and hadn’t been picked up by Jerk

Take Daughter to school.

Wish I had an IPhone, so I could check shelter website while I was driving to see if the dog was still there and hadn’t been picked up by Jerk.

Come back home.

Check shelter website to see if the dog was still there and hadn’t been picked up by Jerk.

Write seven words for book.

Check shelter website to see if the dog was still there and hadn’t been picked up by Jerk

And so on. My obsessive tendencies bring out the green in my eyes, but otherwise serve no useful purpose. I had a stern talking-to with myself and put myself on a diet of two checks a day. Every day, there was my little friend, looking puzzled. Daphne decided this was good news, that Jerk had moved on to winning some new boyfriend with big muscles and not a small dog, but I refused to get my hopes up. Intermittent yet persistent experience with jerks told me that it was entirely possible that Jerk thought of the shelter as a relatively cheap way to board the dog and would pick him up at his convenience. As the first weekend came and went, however, I allowed myself a small nightlight of hope. Jerks are all about that which is easy on them, and if picking up the dog on the weekend had been too much bother, it was possible he wouldn’t pick it up at all. He still had another week in the shelter, however.

At first, I couldn’t go see the dog. My guilt-bucket is very nearly full all the time, and the sight of this sweet, handsome little man cowering in the back of his cage, coughing and being terrorized by some rough-looking Chow/Akita mix next door would have sent the guilt-bucket sloshing into the street. Finally, after the first weekend, I girded my loins and went over. I found his cage, and there he was, sitting by the gate, wiggling in pleasure at the sight of anyone walking by. He saw me and danced around on his hind legs. I scratched his head through the gate; he sighed in pleasure. A volunteer came by and said “Isn’t he the sweetest boy? I’ve been taking him out whenever I can.” She slid her hand in, and the dog flopped on his back and slid his body against the gate, giving us both the chance to scratch his belly at once. Whatever the human beings called this place, as far as Prince Charming was concerned, it was Club Med with endless full-body massages. At the very least, I no longer had to worry about how unhappy he was. I checked with the front desk and confirmed that I was the second person in line for the dog. Someone had seen him the minute he came in on Sunday and had put themselves in line to adopt him, should he become available; I was second.

Now, the only question was, what about Person #1? Oddly enough, I was okay with him going to another family. My job hadn’t been to own him but to get him out of the street and then away from a jerk. Anyone who fell in love with him at first sight and was vetted by the shelter was probably as good an owner as I would be. I thought he was a potentially great dog but I had no space in my life which needed filling. I had a child, I had after-school activities, I had a pet, I had a hobby (blog-writing), I had a job (book-writing). Sure, I had a dog-bowl, a leash and a chew-toy, but that didn’t make me someone looking for a dog; that made me someone with a sentimental streak. I liked the dog, but I certainly didn’t need the dog.

And yet I still checked the website twice a day. I didn’t really think about Jerk anymore. I just liked looking at his little face. Daughter knew we might be getting a dog, and we might not be getting a dog. He was ours, unless he wasn’t. Consort took to referring to him as Schrodinger’s dog. I asked Daughter if she had any thoughts for a name. She answered swiftly and confidently. In the interest of privacy, I will only say the name was simple, pleasing, and significantly less girly than Prince Charming. If Consort ever needs to shout it down dark alleys, his masculinity will remain intact. As luck would have it, the day he became available was one of those days where Daughter’s school was closed for no apparent reason; it was something like “Teacher Enrichment Conference” or “Teacher Preparedness Enrichment’ or “Conference for Preparing Enrichment”. It could also be pronounced “We’re tired of your children”. So, she was available to come with me.

Our time-slot for getting him was 9:30 to 10:00. We arrived at 8:59. First, because I am pathologically punctual and second, because if the first person arrived, we wanted to be able to say goodbye to him. I figured the least I could offer Daughter was closure and a pie-and-milkshake breakfast afterwards, to ease the sorrow. We sat on the bench in the front room and watched a few dogs come in, a couple of dogs get adopted. At 9:25, our adoption counselor came out and smiled at us. “I’m guessing she’s not coming,” she said, “should we go get your dog?”

Daughter gasped in glee, and I thought Holy crud, I’m getting a dog! Because during all of this, I hadn’t exactly thought through to this point; I had visualized Jerk coming back, or the woman arriving at exactly nine and swooping the dog up in her arms. It just hadn’t occurred to me we’d get to someone offering me the dog. I knew from his information sheet on his cage that his adoption-list was full. After me, there was a 10:00, and then a 10:30, all the way through 4:00. A bunch of people wanted this dog.

For a second, I thought about grabbing Daughter’s small arm and dashing for the door, keeping my relative freedom while knowing someone would take the dog. But, I thought, what if everyone else bails, and he’s still here tomorrow? What if the person takes him, changes their mind, and decides to leave him back in my neighborhood again? What if my family, flawed and hectic as it is, is the best home he would ever know?

“Yes,” I heard myself saying, looking down into Daughter’s shining eyes, “let’s go get our dog.”

Next: Dogged Devotion.

20 Comments:

Blogger Mel said...

Yeah! Cheers to your new furry bundle of joy!!!

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quinn,

Well done firstly.
Then OMG you have a dog.

and

boy was that ever suspenseful reading - I kept waiting for the but then.....


Cheers

7:55 PM  
Blogger Valerie said...

thanks for the best thing i've read all damn day.

and congrats on your new bundle of joy!

8:31 PM  
Blogger houseband00 said...

Congrats to the new addition! =)

I'm somehow reminded of the Ellen D. pet-drama. =)

9:55 PM  
Anonymous rebecca said...

"What if my family, flawed and hectic as it is, is the best home he would ever know?"

What if?
What IF???

Oh pahleese!

I get the feeling your new fabulous family member had not **really** known Club Med until he found himself properly nuzzled at the end of Daughter's bed.

But if I am wrong, may I be cursed with recurring dreams of being locked in Pie-N-Burger. :-)

Mazel Tov, little man, you've found the good stuff! And Mazel Tov to your family, QC!!

11:02 PM  
Blogger Snowflakewny said...

I have come to realize this is the core oath all dogs take:

I promise to dance when you walk in a room.
I promise to challenge you and make you smile - often at the same moment.
I promise to fertilize both outside and inside our house.
I promise to sqeak a toy with bliss - purely for entertainment purposes of course.
I promise to be there to catch any food that may accidentally drop from the table. Hint.
I promise to love you unconditionally

SO very happy your new member of the household has joined you!

5:24 AM  
Anonymous Chris in NY said...

Thanks for the happy ending. (I know, I know it's only a beginning for you.)

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

Yay!

I was so hoping you'd get him!!!

And I'm glad you guys didn't go with "Dude" for his next name.

Have fun!

7:59 AM  
Anonymous char said...

Hooray! Congrats! You must let us know his name.

Now you can nap peacefully.

2:54 PM  
Blogger OHN said...

Oh my gosh..the whole time I was reading all I could think was "I really want Quinn's daughter to have this dog". I am so glad the story ended with him having a happy home with you!

5:26 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I'm thinking that your cat should write the next post!

Congrats on the new addition.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Dodi said...

Congratulations! I hope you are all very happy together!

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Congratulations to you on your new family member!!! HOORAY!

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Your good news made me cry - Congratulations! What a great story!

1:03 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Hooray and congratulations!! It makes me so happy to hear when a dog is lucky enough to find a loving home.

You will cherish each other equally I suspect.

Glad it worked out for everyone involved!

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your last post about the pup pup was on Tuesday - IT'S FRIDAY NOW, 3 days later.

Please Please Please - tell us more, tell us more.
~Madelyn in Alabama

10:24 AM  
Blogger guerrilla girl said...

Beautiful. I hope our next dog finds us in such a meant-to-be way.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Skerrib said...

Hip hip hooray!

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over the summer we found a dog, lost that dog, searched shelter website for dog, saw dog's picture, went to shelter to get dog, found out dog was hit by car, found out I was second on list to get dog, fostered injured dog, moved up to first on list, and adopted the nicest dog ever.

So glad it worked out for you as well.

Elle

9:08 PM  
Blogger Terri said...

Quinn,
Your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes. I got it. Lewis Carroll said that we write to know that we are not alone. So many of the things you write confirm that for me.
Thank you.
Terri
New Orleans

11:31 AM  

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