A Truly Happy Thanksgiving
Goes without saying...but I'll say it anyway: we have had a rough month here at Casa 3917. We've been slogging along, playing the game with the cards we were dealt...as shoddy as they were. But now it appears we're playing with a brand new deck...and we've been dealt a full house. Hooray!
Meet Winston...our newest member of the Drool Gang! He's an 11-month old Australian Shepherd mix puppy we adopted yesterday from the Forsyth County Animal Control shelter in Winston-Salem. He is an alum of Animal Control, having initially been adopted in February...about the same time we adopted Abbie. Although they were both classified as Australian Shepherd mixes and born about the same time (right around New Year's), we have determined from the records that they aren't from the same litter. But, like all the adoptees from Forsyth, they both were micro-chipped before they were made available for adoption.
So, when Winston was found roaming the streets of Winston in October, even without a collar Animal Control knew who he was...and where he lived...and what his owner's contact number was. So they called...and they called...and they called. No response. And no one came to get Winston. The little Aussie had boomeranged back to the slammer, just 8 months after he'd left.
Why? For the life of me, I cannot come up with a good answer for you. And, trying to figure it out without any of the facts just makes me sad...and gives me a headache. He's a beautiful, frisky puppy, who is friendly to everyone he meets. I don't think he was abused because he doesn't show any marks or classic signs like fear, but I suspect he was neglected. Oh, not in the basics like food and water, although he does appear to be a bit underweight. He has been on a heart worm preventative, because his blood test was negative (thank goodness). To put it simply: he was love-starved.
Here at home, we had lots of love that had been reserved for Elmo. And, we could see that Abbie needed another outlet for all of her energy...there are only so many hours we can walk her. Duche$$, a diva and at almost-13, cannot be bothered to play or even interact with a puppy. Plus, I had a telephone conversation with Ab's trainer, who asked if we might consider adding another dog to our family.
Then, I saw a post on FC Animal Control's page with Winston's story. And whoosh! My heart took over my head. Adopt a new puppy at Thanksgiving, when Mr. T is still recovering from surgery?Are you kidding?! It is a terrible time to introduce a new family member!
But I couldn't stop thinking about him...or visiting his picture on the FC webpage to see if Winston was still available. And Mr. T commented that, while his recovery might limit him, at least he would be home (rather than traveling for work)...a good thing when introducing a new puppy. So, we faxed in an updated application and waited for a call.
It wasn't what I'd hoped for. It was a voicemail message that said we were the second application for Winston, and that the other family had come to meet him. They were from out of town and had gone home to fax back the rabies vaccination on their other pet (required for an adoption to proceed). Did we want to come meet Winston anyway?
No! That was a for-sure heartbreak. I wanted him to have a good home, preferably with us...but a good home somewhere nonetheless. But I just couldn't go meet 'n greet unless we stood a chance of bringing him home. We'd wait and see.
Fortunately, for whatever reason, we got the Call early Wednesday morning. He was still available! Did we want to come meet him? You better believe it! Loaded Abbie up in the PTC and headed west to Winston...in the snow (!)...so we could meet Winston.
We met. We signed the papers. And because he was already neutered (previous owner got that right!), he could come home with us. He and Abbie took to each other almost from the start (thank goodness!), and we took a detour to our vet to get him checked out...and get him bathed (whew! He needed that!). Next stop: PetSmart for a new bed, a new collar and harness, and a a few (dozen) treats 'n toys. We were all happy but exhausted when we pulled into our driveway.
And then, we introduced him to Ella Rae and Dixie when we finally got home. OK, that part didn't go as smoothly as we'd hoped. But, it will work out in a couple of days. I have faith.
Winston is, in a word, a sweetheart. Although they are the same age, Winston looks and acts much more like a puppy than Abbie...but they both have that Australian Shepherd herding-nipping thing down pat. He looks like a shepherd, where Abbie looks more like a terrier. He weighs about 20 pounds less than Abbie, but is just a bit taller than she. His muscle structure is much less defined than hers, but he appears to be about the same size because he has a "coat," where she has very little fur, other than her neck ruff. His fur is soft (now that he's been bathed), and he loves for you to rub his ears...one of which flops forward more than the other.
He has discovered the Toy Basket...and has already played with almost every single toy on site. Here's a picture I snapped of him with one of Abbie's bone-like toys called a Jack...which caused a bit of consternation when Miss Ab's discovered him.
Abbie has taught him about the doggie doors, although he's still not too sure about going out of them...coming back in doesn't seem to trouble him. He seems to enjoy mealtimes as much as the other Droolers, although he wasn't too sure about liver treats at first. And, he is thrilled about having such a big play space as the Way Back offers.
I wish I could post a video of the Gang (minus Duche$$, alas) frolicking in the Way Back this morning. They were joy in motion! Running, jumping, chasing, racing. Mr. T says the gardens will never be the same, but I guess that's the price we will pay for witnessing pure happiness.
And that's the best word I can think of to describe Winston: happy. He is a happy little fellow, and he has made our Thanksgiving a happy celebration. We are smiling, once again.