As I approached her crate to say hello, she ignored me. Her attention was focused on the gentleman who was returning her neighbor to his crate.
“You want a walk?” He asked her.
She wagged her tail.
He pushed passed me to open her crate. As he was putting the collar on, I asked him “Can I walk with you guys?”
I knew then that I had made my decision.
“You want to walk her? By yourself, if you want.” He questioned back.
“I can do that?” I asked, completely surprised he would let a complete stranger walk one of the shelter dogs in a store full of dogs and people as well as outside.
“Yup. Just leave your driver’s license with her.” He said, pointing to another volunteer.
So I left my license and took this strange dog for a walk.
As expected, she pulled to say hi to everyone in the store. But as soon as we reached outside, she was easy. She just wanted some fresh air and a place to relieve herself. We walked up and down the side of the building a couple times before returning inside. I asked her to sit. She sat without hesitation.
We walked inside and I returned her to her crate. I asked if they had any more information on her. They said they didn’t. They then started to read her file – she had been picked up as a stray in August. It was November.
“August? That long ago? How is she still here? She’s so low key? And seems kinda awesome.”
I look at this dog who took to laying down in the crate as if it was nothing.
“You never know,” the volunteer said. “Oh, this might explain it – she was partially hairless.”
Yup, that would explain it.
“So, here’s the deal,” I said. “I’m really interested in her, but I have another dog and I would like to do a meet and greet before I adopt her.”
“That is best,” the volunteer agreed.
“Well, I live kinda far away. I doubt I could get back in time with my other dog before you guys leave for the day.”
She gave me the shelter’s card and suggested I go there during the week. Or come back next weekend and see if she was one of the dogs they sent for the adoption event.
I thanked her for her time, and told myself it was for the best – I still needed to finish stuff around the house before I got another dog.
I got in my truck and looked at the clock.
2:00 pm. They leave at 4.
I started doing math. Thirty minutes to get home. Thirty minutes to get back. Some time in between to get Bear. I should be able to get back with time to spare before they leave.
Forget good ideas. Let’s do this. Rushed and all.
As I drove home, I tried to plan how this was going to work.
First problem – how to safely transport two dogs who have just met in my truck with me driving. I had a car barrier I used to use long ago. I decided I could set that up in the back to keep the new dog in the backseat and Bear would ride up front in the passenger seat.
Second problem – once home, I need a place where I could safely lock the new dog until I knew she would behave in the house. I decided to pull out a crate I used for Josie back in the day.
Third problem – setting up the barrier and the crate before returning with Bear to do the meet and great. All before the volunteers left for the day.
I got home and raced around. Bear was very confused, but excited. I got everything set up, grabbed an extra collar and leash, put Bear in the truck and we were off. I looked at the clock: 2:45. I had time to spare. I should be good.
I arrived back at PetSmart and saw the Orange County Humane Society van still in the parking lot. There was still time.
I helped Bear out of the truck and we walked towards the building. I saw some of the volunteers coming out with some dogs, headed toward the van.
I walked faster.
“Am I too late?” I asked the volunteer I had spoken with earlier, as she was supervising the clean up.
“You came back?” She said, completely surprised.
“Yeah, I decided I didn’t want to wait. Is it too late? I thought you were here until 4.”
“No, 3. Sundays are usually slow, so we leave early. Allow the volunteers time with their families.”
It was 3:15.
“But we can catch them if they haven’t left yet.” She said, enthusiastic about the possibility of an adoption.
We walked briskly outside (my senior dog with arthritis did not appreciate this part).
“WAIT!” She yelled towards the van.
Luckily, they were still packing up dogs. And the one Bear and I had come to adopt was the last one to go in, so she was hanging out patiently waiting for us.
We walked Bear and her together for a bit. After sniffing hello, they basically ignored each other.
“I think this is gonna work.” I said, smiling proudly.
“OK, let’s do the paperwork.”
I’ve never adopted a dog before from a shelter or a rescue. It was a lot of paperwork. I felt judged as I filled out items about how I will care for my new dog.
When all was done, we walked together out to my truck. The volunteer offered to walk the “calm” one for me. I gave her Bear’s leash and appreciated the assistance.
At the truck, I put a very confused dog in the backseat and another confused dog in the front.
The ride home was a bit adventurous for all dogs involved.
Bear had never been in the front seat, so he had no idea what to do. At first he tried sitting, looking straight ahead. Then he decided to lay down and curl up in a ball. He almost fell off the seat, so back to sitting he went. This up and down went on for most of the trip. In the end, he settled for sitting so he could see the world around him.
The backseat occupant had her own adventure. First there was the pacing back and forth. She was nervous as well as confused, so I didn’t expect her to settle down. I would glance in the rearview mirror to verify she was still back there, but for the most part, I just let her be. Until she discovered the button for the window. She stepped on it, rolling the window all the way down. She then proceeded to stick her head out, like all dogs do. All while we were going 60 mph. Needless to say, I freaked out.
“Don’t jump out. Please don’t jump out.” I said to myself. “I don’t need to loose this dog just after I found her.”
I tried to roll up the window from my control, but she was still standing on the button. It wasn’t until she moved her paw that the window went up. As soon as it was safely rolled up, and she was still safely inside, I put the child lock on – no more accidental window rolling down adventures for her! Or me.
When we arrived home, I unpacked each dog.
I looked at our new addition. No turning back now.