March 14, 2013The Muse and I became dog owners again last week, and all I can say is, I wonder what took us so long. My redheaded companion, Mina, passed away in August 2011, and it didn't seem right to just rush out and get a replacement because, as dog lovers know, you can't replace a dog. But you can get another completely unique animal.
I have been looking for a while, but the timing has never seemed quite right as both the Muse and I are working more than ever. However, my brother Nat, who lives in Salisbury and runs Hammer Truck Sales on I-85 at exit 74, hammertrucks.com (I thought I'd give him a free plug), is a huge dog lover. When I mentioned in passing that it might be time for me to get another dog I started getting text messages and emails of photos of really cute puppies.
I understand that the way dating goes these days is first you meet on the internet and then you meet in person. Evidently, dog adoption has gone the same route. Monday, March 4, Nat sent me a photo of an incredibly cute Australian shepherd-mix puppy at Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary in Salisbury.
What I didn't know at the time was it was Nat's daughter Melissa who had found the puppy first and sent Nat a text that said, "I found Johnny a dog" and included a photo. She was right.
My workweek starts busy on Monday, gets busier on Tuesday, and is somewhat frantic on Wednesday. So I found myself going through the process of being approved for dog adoption during the portion of the week when I'm often so busy I forget all about eating.
But before I got in too much trouble I showed the photo to the Muse, who took one look and said, "Get the dog."
What I didn't know is that Nat and Melissa had already decided this was the dog for me, and I think if I had not gone along willingly I would have found a basket on my doorstep with an incredibly cute puppy in it.
I filled out the forms to be approved to adopt a dog and because my English language skills are evidently not what they should be, I made a slight error that should have gotten me disqualified if Nat hadn't caught it. The question on the form is, "The pet will be without human companionship for about ____ hours per day, ____ days per week."
I filled in the blanks with 24 and 7. So I had told these animal lovers who spend their free time volunteering at an animal rescue facility that I would never see the dog. Fortunately, Nat, unlike his older brother, can read and sent me an email saying that he thought I might need to revise my answers.
I did and actually put down a more honest answer, three hours a day one day a week, because dogs are not allowed to go to church. Nat was at Faithful Friends with my corrected application before they opened on Tuesday. I talked to two volunteers on the phone and was told that before I could be approved they would want to come on a house visit. I explained it was a long way to look at a house, and I think that may have been waived after they talked to my veterinarian, State Sen. Dr. Trudy Wade. Trudy has been after me to adopt another dog for a while so I think she gave me a good recommendation.
So Wednesday I was approved and was told that the puppies, who were 8 weeks old, needed another round of shots before they could leave the shelter and I would have to wait a week. I felt like I had been told Christmas had been moved to Jan. 1 this year. But since they got those shots on Friday, we made our adoption appointment for noon on Saturday and were on time.
We not only got to meet our puppy, Nelly, but got to meet her three brothers and her mother. At one point I thought the Muse was going to take the entire litter, and Mary, who runs Faithful Friends, said that adopting a brother and sister sometimes worked well, but she gently advised us that it would probably be best to try one puppy at a time. Evidently we were approved by Nelly's mother because they did let us take her home.
We have a kitten and an adult cat at home and there is our office cat, JJ, so we were interested in how our new puppy would get along with cats. Mary let us take Nelly into the cat room and it turned out Nelly likes cats and cats pretty much ignore Nelly. That is the same experience she has had at our house and at the office, except with our kitten, who is extremely jealous.
I know there are great animal adoption facilities closer than Salisbury, but the people at Faithful Friends could not be nicer, and with all the dogs and cats in the place it is clean as a whistle and actually smells good. That right there is a lot of work for volunteers.
One note, our puppy is now named Nelly, but at Faithful Friends they had named her Gracie. We have a kitten named Grace, so we had to have a different name. At first we tried Seraphina, because we were looking for something Portuguese, but it turned out to be too complicated. So since Nat and Melissa found her, we named her Nelly.
When we left Faithful Friends we took Nelly to another animal sanctuary – Nat's house. He's got 17 acres and they had seven dogs and five cats when we arrived, but that was almost a week ago, so who knows how many they have now. It was a good test for Nelly and she did well with all of them. She also did well with Nat's granddaughter, Sarah Taylor, who is 9 months old and kept accidentally smacking Nelly in the head.
Nelly has already made friends with everyone at work except JJ.
Butler is a lab mix who comes to work with our office manager, Erika Sloan, a couple of days a week. Right now Nelly can run under Butler without having to duck her head, but Butler lets Nelly chase him around the office, which is a sight to see – a chubby little puppy chasing a big galoot.
It's a wonder we get any work done up here.
Anthony Council, our art director, was Mina's best friend, and JJ thinks he is Anthony's assistant because JJ has a chair at Anthony's desk and is usually in it when Anthony is at work. However, JJ does have problems staying awake and more often than not is sleeping in his chair rather than working.
Nelly immediately took to Anthony, but he may have some competition because Tuesday, when we had lost Nelly for a minute, we found her in Paul Clark's office and Paul was lying on the floor and letting Nelly run around on him.
So we are back in the business of picking up poop and standing around in the backyard at 2 a.m. because some folks have very small bladders, but we love it.