Since NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) ended (yes, I hit the 50,000 word target, though I’d hardly call it a novel) I’ve disappeared into an equally absorbing project: the search for a small female indoor companion dog. For me. The quest is so much more complicated than I ever imagined it could be that I’d give it up except that I have this strong sense that finding “the dog” is my next step forward in this new childless, or I should say child-free, life.But do you know how hard it is to find the right dog?
The first one I ever adopted 30-odd years ago, all I had to do was take myself to the Chapel Hill pound and sit on the ground for several hours to play with the puppies until I knew exactly which one was meant for me: sweet, sad-eyed mixed-something Loretta (for Loretta Lynn: something about the hair color and the personality, but hey, I’m from Tennessee). My kids might not believe it, since once they arrived, they got the space in the car, but Loretta went everywhere I went, and when I suffered through late night papers (I was getting my masters at UNC at the time), she was right there listening to the racket of my manual typewriter. (I said this was a long time ago.)
But now, finding a dog seems to have become as complicated as the first time I sat down to a “word processor” instead of my sturdy, foolproof, no-brain manual. First, you don’t necessarily just go to the pound anymore. Animal Rescue is the thing, so you go online instead and try to figure out by pictures and brief blurbs which is your ‘forever dog.’ And then it’s not as simple as swearing to spay/neuter, pay your fee, and hurry home to housebreak: you fill out applications which frankly rival my daughter’s college apps in complexity. Some with overtones which a college app would never dare to have, of, a tone of “we really don’t think you deserve to have our dog, but go ahead and try to prove yourself worthy, if you can. Then don’t call us, we’ll call you. Maybe.”
I mean, I KNOW these organizations are only concerned for their dogs’ welfare. Obviously they’ve got to screen out potential animal abusers and those with brief enthusiasm spams who will shortly thereafter get tired of the responsibilities and dump their adoptee by the roadside. I KNOW they’ve seen so many horrors in their rescue work that they have to be very, very picky about who they trust their rescues to. I’m not trying to criticize the animal rescue work.
But please, we do take care of our animals. Aside from the usual, we gave Loretta daily insulin shots when she developed diabetes, then kept her safe when she went blind until her death from old age. More recently, there was a massive surgery bill when our sweet Great Pyrenees Theo had to lose an eye to glaucoma, and I won’t go into the details of vet care for our Nubian dairy goats back when we were keeping those.
I’m pretty sure I’ve found the dog meant for me, but the hurdles involved continue to be so daunting that I’m wondering if the rescue people let go of any of their charges. Please send encouraging thoughts.
Or, if you just happen to know of a small, sweet sad-eyed dog looking for her indoor companion, drop me a line.