Today we are celebrating the one year anniversary of adopting Sally the dog. From the very first time we saw her, she's been inching her way into our hearts. We visited this rural shelter to check out a border collie, who ended up being afraid of the husband. He's a big guy. We understood. The volunteer led us over to meet other dogs. Sally was so scared of everything that she crouched, practically under our car, for the entire 20 minutes we met her.
All the way home, the husband was saying, "We can't have a second dog. We can't manage a second dog. It would be complete chaos." I said, "Ok, alright, I hear you." Three days later, we were cleaning up after dinner and I said, "So, have you thought about those dogs we saw at the shelter?" He couldn't get Sally out of his mind. (heck, I couldn't get about 5 dogs out of my mind) He said,"So, I'm going out of town, but if you and Harry wanted to go visit her, see if the two dogs got along, and if you guys adopted her, well, I'd be ok with that."
Well, no way was I going to let it happen that way... 'cause I knew chaos would definitely happen if I got another dog, and I didn't want to be completely responsible for the decision! I quickly made an appointment to meet Sally again, with the husband and Harry in tow. Sally convinced us right away that she was the dog for us. She sat on the husband's foot continuously for the whole second visit, wagging her tail. Harry went nuts with excitement. The shelter folks recognized the husband from the university and said, "Well, if you want this dog, you can have her. We trust you biologists. Just return her to us if something goes wrong." No paper work, nothing. We made a donation and suddenly we were driving 30 miles home in the dark with a dog at my feet on a blanket and Harry in the crate in back. Meanwhile, the dog, Sally the dog, was so nervous that she had an accident--yup, #1 AND #2... on the way back. Even so, there was no way I was ever letting her go back to the shelter.
Hundreds--no, thousands of dollars later, Sally is healthy, happy and well-adjusted. She's learned how leashes work, how to go outside instead of in the living room, and she loves her own special crate. She sits at every street corner, points with skill at every bird she sees and makes a crazy squealing noise when she's excited. She barks at bad guys, squirrels, and the UPS man. (I mean, who wouldn't bark for that UPS man? He's so nice...and he looks so good in all that brown...) She keeps Harry under control, running him until he's tired and teaching him how to kill all the good things in life, like snakes, squirrels, birds, and even the occasional 'possum. (Before Sally, Harry did dabble in cricket research on the patio. Yup, he liked crickets...and very rarely branched out into garter snakes. Thanks to Sally, he has his own graduate project. He studies vertebrates.)
Now, when people visit, Harry leaps into their arms and kisses them. Sally barks, and she's nervous. She sits on my foot. She keeps me safe. She's wary, as any good dog should be, about new people...but no doubt about it, she's 100% convinced we're ok. Every day, I love her more for it.