Sunday, January 9, 2011

You just never know what will happen...

Some days, most days in fact, I go about my day without worrying too much.  I tend to be a happy camper and am seldom prone to being down and out.  I'll admit to an occasional blue day, but most days, I find too much to do that's positive to let it keep me down too long.

I often deal with the doldrums by employing the 10 minute rule... go ahead and have a pity party... but only for 10 minutes, then, for goodness sake, get up and get on about something constructive.

It's sure worked with what can, at times, be a challenging life.

But lately, I've really struggled with the loss of the dogs.  Inside of 6 or 7 months, we lost Nick, Maggie, Nana and Booger.  And the place is too quiet... when I drive up, there's no welcome wagging... when other people drive up, there's no audible warning... Mornings and nights, there's no companionable four legged pals who 'help' me feed up, or sit with me on the porch.  Bailey, who is more than 9 years old, has felt it too.  She's my daughter's dog, really, but has lived here all of the education years.  She's always been the head lady of the pack, usually even when the other dogs have been bigger.  But she's slowed down a lot, and spends a lot of her mornings visiting my neighbor.  My neighbor, who's in her 80's, loves the company and I can't bring myself to try to make Bailey stay home.  There are no roads to cross to get there... honestly, I enjoy walking up there and sitting a spell myself.  Daisy, bless her little neurotic heart, has never been a companion animal.

Morning, noon and night... I miss my dogs.  Achingly silent, the barnyard and the front porch is not the same.

This week, while filing another   "missing in action"  report on Nana, I took a walk through a large regional shelter.  Chock full to capacity of black labs and pit bulls and mixed breeds of every type, they all looked at me with their big sad eyes, or barked and tried to get my attention and it only made the loneliness deeper and more real.  Luckily, people who work at pounds know what to do and what to say to women who stand and bawl like babies.

I left the big animal shelter and headed home.

Then, without much effort at all, I turned and went to the small local pound where I got Nana.

Now, it's never very good when the pound worker looks at you and recoils and says "Oh, I remember YOU!"  " You're the lady that came every day for a week before you made up your mind!"

Yeah... that'd be me...

and here I am, again.

A very friendly, helpful animal loving sort, he nearly drug me to see a genteel, old, very fat golden lab.
And yes, he was a sweetheart (the lab, not the man... though he's a great guy too!).
But he wasn't 'mine'...  We looked at all the dogs. 30 had been removed just this week by rescue groups, as this is a shelter where your time is up in a certain number of days.

After much mind wrangling, the very thing that I wanted most was a German Shepherd, a young one, female preferably.  The breed generally suits my needs of companion and guardian, intelligent and quiet, very trainable and a strong, big dog.  I'd seen no such dog.
One of the deals with going back time and again, is making sure that I don't make a mistake.
It's not like we don't get 'dumped out animals' often enough, where we have to make choices based on stupidity on the part of other people.  I'd rather not make a hasty choice, or choose some animal when I know, in my heart, what I want.

There was one male pup, a Rottweiler, who came close to meeting a lot of the qualifications... and he was precious... engaging enough, but after a few attempts, he simply sat down and looked at me with those droopy sad eyes. His story was that he'd been brought in on abuse and neglect charges, so he was not waiting for his owner to come find him.  He'd not be going home.

I looked, smiled and said "If I think about it, I'll see you tomorrow!~" and left.

Less than two miles from the pound, was a small, hand written sign.
...German Shepherd Pups...

I turned down the tiny little dead end road, feeling both hope and trying hard to keep myself from 'going there' in my head.  Without running on forever, after a few minutes of what can only be described as 'something you knew that you shouldn't do, but you keep going", I was standing in a whelping pen with 14 6 week old German Shepherds.  Surrounded by happy leaping, healthy pups, I saw her... over by the tree, quietly sitting, watching me intently.  She watched my every move... every pup I examined, ever move I made.  
I could hardly breathe...  the very pup that I was looking for.

There are more details, maybe for later... what you need to know is this...

She likes to sit in my lap (yes, I realize that she'll get big)...
... we like to read... I like to look at her while she naps...
As a matter of fact, her 'safe place' is that chair... if she happens to lose track of me in the house, that's where I can find her.

She's quiet and oh, so handsome!  She's quite popular.

In the face of the coldest days of the year, and in the face of house training a tiny little dog, I had to hit the sewing machine and whip her up a fashionable sweater, to stave off the shaking and quaking during our frequent outside forays.

She weighs 7 pounds, is 7 inches tall.

Her name is Stormy.

 She's my girl!

And for reasons that I cannot explain... with many thanks to my long caring husband, who has been down this road before and who NEVER flinches when he arrives home to discover 'surprises'...

you should also meet Tank...


He's between 3 and 4 months old... we'll know more when we see the vet next week.
We're treating some injuries and some degraded skin.

He's wild and  rambunctious...  the most surprising thing about Tank so far, is that he's vocal... very, very, very vocal.  He grunts and yowls, he howls with all kinds of intonation... he 'talk's all the time...

He's all big head and big feet.  He's an excellent barker... with a nice booming bark at appropriate times.

He's my boy!

So, there's lot of puppy breathe around here... and it feels so much more like home.

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