Sunday, July 14
I was sitting around the agility trial in Coeur d'Alene, minding my own business, not asking for trouble, so how did I get from there to here in less than 2 weeks? Simple - I looked at my e-mail. I rarely look at my e-mail while at a trial, but was a little bored that day waiting for our turn to run, so I picked up the phone and logged in.
The innocent looking e-mail was titled "Xander coming instead of Buddy". As Medical Intake Coordinator for Safe Harbor Lab Rescue, where we rescue and rehome 250-300 Labs a year, I get 250-300 emails like this a year. Do the math, that's 5-6 new dogs per week. So what was so special about this one? Xander was described as "18 months, neutered, good with kids, cats, dogs, housebroke, loves water, very ball and play driven. Very active but settles down indoors." That's when I heard a little alarm and a voice inside my head saying, "I hope he's not yellow."
Was it because I was at an agility trial, going through the motions of trying to pump up my very un-driven (but infinitely adored) Star and wishing I had a dog that would bring me up, since I'm just as low-key as Star? I dunno what it was. On my old un-smart phone, I couldn't see pictures in e-mails, so I had to wait until I got home that night to find out what color he was.
He was yellow. Uh oh.
I wrote to the director, "I was afraid he'd be yellow, after reading the bio. Sounds like exactly what I need for my next agility dog." Of course, next agility dog wasn't something I was looking for yet. If you've been paying attention, you know I've only just gotten relieved of the expenses of Sunny's last year and just finally gotten Star to be a stable competitor. And I've got a big remodel coming up this fall. 5 dogs running around the house would not make my contractor very happy. (I haven't mentioned yet that the live-in dog sitter has 2 little schnauzers.)
So I weighed the pros and cons, and decided in the end that it wouldn't be fair to the dog sitter to add another dog to her work-load. I did, however, decide that come spring, I would start looking.
Safely beyond the threat a few days later, I mentioned the near miss to my dog sitter. She quickly responded, "Oh that's ok. You can get him."
Oh dog poop. Did she really just give me permission?
Wednesday, July 17
Xander and his 9 traveling companions have arrived safely in Colorado. The transporter reports that he is a "big, goofy pup". The vet checks him out and reports, "Nice teeth! Has lots of energy."
Friday, July 19
When I get home from playing agility this evening, an e-mail from the director is waiting for me. She's already sweet on him because his name is the same as her beloved dog's name. She writes, "Not to tempt you, but I met Xander this morning. He's lithe, energetic and very nimble : ) Needless to say, he's full of boundless young Lab joy and is adorable too." Swell. Of course he is.
My rambling response concluded with, "If it's meant to be, I'll get another sign. Like someone saying they are driving to Missoula or Coeur d'Alene for vacation next month and want to deliver him. Oh, dog poop, just this very moment I remembered, a friend in Colorado was dog sitting the dog of their neighbor who had just moved to Spokane and they were going to be getting their dog back any day now. Oh shoot oh shoot oh shoot. I wonder how/when that is happening?"
That evening, Xander goes to his first foster home and promptly gets kicked out. For jumping over a 4 foot fence. Yay! He's got the jumping gene! The foster reports, and I don't doubt for a minute, that he was not trying to get away. He was just being a big, goofy pup, checking out the new digs, chasing a ball perhaps, and took the next obstacle. As soon as he realized he was outside and the people were inside, he jumped right back in. "He LOVES his people," was the next thing I read.
Saturday, July 20
The foster, upon learning that I was possibly interested in Xander, filled a page with his virtues. This wasn't helping my resolve to wait until next year. Every question I asked, the answer was always the right one, or the wrong one if I was looking for a reason to reject him.
And then I saw this picture, with the accompanying caveat that it doesn't do him justice, doesn't capture his wonderful facial expressions and irresistible brown Lab eyes.
Sunday, July 21
I pondered the day away, and as night fell, I booked a one-way flight and told the team that if his hips were good, I'd take him. In retrospect, I had more information about him at that point than I did when I decided to adopt Star 3 years ago. I chose her, or probably more correctly, she chose me, after a 15 minute car ride and a 30 minute effort to get her out of the car to leave her at the foster home to which she was assigned.
Monday, July 22
Now I have a logistics puzzle to work out. It's still 24 days until I can pick him up. He needs a safe place to hang out and the rescue can't tie up a good foster home that long. That would mean 2 or 3 other dogs couldn't get rescued. I'm intimately aware of this situation. This is a perfect dog. He would have been adopted and in his new home already if I hadn't gotten my name in first.
But logistics is what I love best. Or was that analytics? Same difference - analyze a problem, figure out a solution, send up a wish to the universe if things aren't falling into place fast enough.
I was told I could use one of the rescue's fosters for a week. I hated to move the little guy around, he was already so discombobulated with all the change in the past few days, maybe weeks depending on how long he'd been in the shelter after his owner had surrendered him, on account of not having time to give him the attention he needed, but that would buy me time. I had three fosters that I thought could handle his puppy energy and give him some good structure as well. Two of them weren't available and the third wasn't returning phone calls. I would have paid for his time at our preferred boarding kennel, but with a recent kennel cough outbreak, that also wasn't a possibility. And he hadn't been out of the shelter long enough for a board and train kennel to take him.
Thursday, July 25
I had to have a place for him to go on Friday and I was getting nervous. It was now Thursday morning and I really had to get to work, but I had to come up with a solution to this problem. I knew there had to be someone out there that I was overlooking who could help. I calmed myself and thought through all the people I knew in Colorado. Most were already in on the story, but somehow Anna's name popped into my mind. She had just adopted a youngster from the rescue. I knew her yard was too small for 2 wild things, but I threw it out there - do you or anyone you know feel up to a 3 week foster? I sent the message and headed off to work. The universe took it from there. Anna saw my message immediately, considered a broad post, but then a name popped into her head. She sent essentially the same message: "Do you or or anyone you know want to foster this little guy for 3 weeks." The reply came immediately - Sandy would do it! It was that evening before I could make the call and confirm my gut feel that this would work. In the meantime, I had gotten word from the vet that his hips looked great on x-ray, so I signed, scanned and returned the adoption contract, and gave my credit card number to PayPal. Sandy picked him up from the vet before I had even gotten out of bed the next morning, and by the time I got out of the shower, she had sent three more pictures of him. Her family was already in love with him. He was safe. I was dizzy. 11 days from "I hope he's not yellow" to "he's mine, sight unseen".
As I prepare to sign off, I go to Sandy's Facebook page to see if she's posted any new pictures of my boy. I am not disappointed. OMG he's so cute!