New dog in the mix

It was with much trepidation and after many long conversations with Parker that we decided it was time to bring another dog into the house.

Parker has cried in his sleep for much of this past year since Allie, the little red poodle, died. When we’re out and he sees a little dog about Allie’s size he goes running over to say hello, his 60-pound self all wiggly and happy, his tail moving so fast it seems to vibrate.

It took all told, about four months to find a dog.  The first place to check out was the local pet shelters and for a variety of reasons, going to the Toronto Humane Society and the Ontario SPCA was not a successful process.  I refused to look on Kijiji or Craig’s List. Well, ok, I looked once or twice. But since I was going the rescue route, I did not look too long on either of those sites. Have you ever looked at Petfinder? Lots of animals in need of forever homes.

When you find a rescue dog through Petfinder that you are interested in adopting, the first thing you do is fill out an application wherein you spill a fair amount of your private self. It takes about 40 minutes to complete. You then email it to the rescue and cross your fingers that you hear back from someone.

Sometimes you do.  And sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you hear that the dog you applied for has found a home.

Sometimes you get a phone call that turns into a long interview during which you spill the rest of your insides normally reserved for your most intimate of intimate friends or your lover or partner, only to find out at the end of the conversation that the interviewer doesn’t think it’ll be a good match because rescue dog cannot be in a home with another dog, although, don’t you sound like a great and wonderful person.

Yes I am, but seriously?

We could have saved the time if said interviewer who read the application actually transferred the information with a checkmark that said YES to the question: OTHER DOGS  IN THE HOME from the seeing part of the brain into connect-the-dots-and-think-before-speaking part of the brain. Geez.

Most animal rescues are run by volunteers with HUGE hearts who are always pressed for time and perhaps organization, or project management skill.

I learned a lot during this process of finding a dog. For example, what I call dog brokers advertise on Petfinder.  Some of these brokers of dogs are middle men and women for puppy mills. You can tell they’re brokers because they want money and a commitment up front.

There are puppies manufactured at Amish puppy mills that are carted to auctions where they are bought by brokers or shelters and sold at a profit. And yes, I did say Amish puppy mills. Crates upon crates packed in barns…and yes, I did say manufactured.

On the other side of the evil that people do to animals is the goodness that people do for animals.

They are the people who do the rescues, who help, rehabilitate, love and care for animals in need; people who open their homes and hearts to offer a safe house, who foster animals in need.  If ANY of you who rescue or foster animals are reading this, thank you.

Anyway, if you pass the phone interview, the next step is a home visit. And might I say, although no white gloves were involved the home visit was quite thorough. Places in and around the house that had not seen a human face in a long while were visited up close and personal.

Apparently the home visit got us the green light, but I think that had more to do with Parker being all sweet and charming with the rescue organization’s home inspector lady than anything else.

After an email from the foster family saying approval for adoption was granted, it was a 10-hour return road trip to pick up a female terrier mix whose origins are somewhat unknown: found in an abandoned barn with some other dogs near Lafayette, Louisiana. Where the heck is that??

The American vet that examined her immediately following her rescue placed her between two and four years old and pegged her as a terrier mix. She has a Westie tail, folded ears like some rat terriers; wire hair, a long body, finely boned legs. Her chest is somewhat similar to an Italian Greyhound. I am speculating about what she is mixed with: my guesses to date are: meercat,  given her penchant for sitting on her haunches and her paws over her chest, or, a terrier mixed with chihuahua/poodle or chinese crested.  She might be the breed, Oh so CUTE! or Heinz 57.

She’s keenly interested in eating Tweety the talking bird. Tweety on the other hand, is not that keen on being eaten.  There’s been a tail feather or two on the floor, so Tweety’s cage door is closed when I am not around to supervise. Life with a terrier.

Her name is now Gia. Or Little G. Or just G.  She is 4.9 kilograms, near 11 pounds.  When they found her, she was all of 9 pounds. A little more weight on her will be good.

Parker has not cried in his sleep since she’s been here. He gives her little licks and she is starting to get up close to his big face. I have also noticed them sitting close together, but I can’t quite make out what they are saying to each other.  She has many stories to share.

She seems to like the morning routine of yogurt and apples and almonds. She knows the cupboard where dog cookies are kept. Interestingly, Gia seems to want to put her little nose deep into the espresso cup when there’s coffee in it.  Do they have espresso near Lafayette, Louisiana??  Where is that place, anyway?

The subway scared her the first time. And she’s not all that keen on the car. She seems to enjoy running free on the beach, walking around the dog park and going to parties.  The vet, well, that place she could do without. She’s only been here nine days. Because she chases birds, squirrels and cats, and there are cars everywhere. Toward the end of our walks, her lead gets tied to Parker’s collar when we round the corner. Normally Parker leads her home, except when I take a video of them.

As I write this, I am waiting to hear from the vet about her health. The American vet tested her for heartworm and it came back positive.  The American vet also discovered, when he about to spay her, that she had already been spayed. That means at some point in her she belonged to someone. That might explain her behaviour when she sees a man, woman and child walking toward her.

Gia will not replace Allie. That’s neither possible nor needed. She can be loved and cared for because she is her own unique self. She can be the boss of Parker and all will be right again in Parker poodle’s world and with hope, in Gia’s world too.

Then maybe with luck and time, understanding, compassion and  trans-species empathy all can be well in the world of the creatures (perhaps even some for our own kind) that are currently created, trapped, hurt, or uncared for by some of the less than outstanding examples of the species, homo sapiens.

And yes: that is a social comment coming from me.

This is Gia
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About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween. On hiatus from writing anywhere else but here ... at least for now.
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4 Responses to New dog in the mix

  1. terrisitagg says:

    For some reason, this blog-train stopped coming to my station! Just read this, and saw the video…adorable! Parker is quite handsome, and Gia is very much a Gia…interesting choice of names for this little waif! As for the espresso interest, the day after I brought Buddy home (all those years ago) I was training him to sit and stay on the front porch. He discovered my coffee, and was too distracted to listen. When I looked at his AKC papers later on, the mystery of his interest in caffeine was solved. Under “Color”, he was listed as “Cafe au Lait”…later turned silver, but hey, he started out that way. Good for you, going the rescue route you did. Many years of love!

  2. lynn says:

    Just the disheveled part. My ears are still perky!

  3. lynn says:

    Great post, Frances. And what a beautiful little scraggly thing Gia is! She found the best home. As the saying goes, she’s one lucky dog. Good on you for your persistence through the process.
    Can’t wait to meet her. She dresses just like me so we’ll bond, I’m sure ( I mean the shaggy look, not the harness!)

    Check out Lucinda William’s “Lafayette” on her Happy Woman Blues album. Great album, great song.

    • Frances says:

      LP: If I recall…you do not have floppy ears, or strawberry blond(ish) hair. That being said, thank you. And I will check out the song!

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