Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Story Behind The Story.

A dog? You got a dog? I swear, every new phone call is an adventure these days. I'm paraphrasing my mom's reaction to the news that I finally made her a grand parent. Although I have no illusions that my dog is or will be treated like a baby human. He's a dog. I intend to treat him like one, with the occasional cuddle and kisses. I responded that I was simply "getting on with it."

The Hellcat and I had a massive falling out. We didn't speak for weeks, or rather I mostly didn't speak to him. And while we've achieved some sort of detente in our living arrangement, he has been spending more and more time at the boyfriend's apartment. That part was fine, but he took the dog with him. I quickly adjusted to life without The Hellcat but I found myself missing his dog terribly. I got used to having one around the house. And on paper, his plan was to work another summer on Fire Island. So I was facing the prospect of living without the dog all year. It started me seriously thinking about getting one of my own.

Having made that decision, I set about considering what I wanted or didn't want in a dog. I didn't want a puppy. Of course, they're impossibly cute. But incredibly hard to train and put up with. I wanted a dog, not a shitstorm of piss and shit, and woe be unto the animal that chews one of my shoes. A rescue dog seemed perfect. After all, I've made a lifetime career out of my attempts at rescuing people. Beyond that, I was pretty sure, but not locked into, wanting a boy. I wanted one young enough to enjoy for a good long time, even though I was worried about having an energetic young dog in my life. I needn't have worried. This one, at least, loves to sack out on the bed.

After a failed attempt to arrange an adoption through the ASPCA, I spent a few hours on Petfinder. I wasn't sure beyond what I said previously that I was looking for, I knew I would know when I found him. That eventually led me to Jet. He was one of two dogs on the same rescue site, both completely different breeds. I would have been happy with either one. I made several attempts to reach the woman who ran the shelter but she was incredibly lax about returning calls or being available when she said she was. She never responded to my e-mails. Curious behavior for someone trying to place dogs. I would later find out that she was "good-hearted" but "kind of crazy". I noticed in Jet's profile that he was in doggie foster care. There was another phone number and e-mail address for the people that were keeping him. I called them Saturday morning and after speaking with them and starting to get directions to go see them in deepest darkest Queens, they abruptly and most generously offered to drive Jet in to meet me on Sunday. Me quest to find a dog was really starting to take on a meant to be quality. So Sunday morning I rousted my own ass out of bed and was waiting to meet Jet promptly at 11. It was supposed to be a meet and greet where we would see if we liked each other and talk about adopting. I have a confession to make. I have a "thing" with kids and dogs. Most animals in fact. Put me in a room with an "unfriendly" cat and it will inexplicably wander into my lap. So is it a big surprise that "standoffish and shy" Jethro ended up licking my face within the hour? We spent almost an hour and a half together, and while he was bigger and sturdier than the doggie I pictured, I kind of figured we belonged together.

And so it was that Jet's foster family agreed and what started as a meeting ended up as an adoption right then and there. I was totally unprepared and had to take him home and run back out for bowls and food and toys and snacks. I've ended up with an incredibly smart, unbelievably stubborn animal. He's got some aggression problems outside the house, he doesn't care for anything on wheels, and he growls after unsteady babies and noisy teenagers. He's a total bandit when it comes to stealing food, and when he gets fixated on something he wants, it's a struggle to get him to think of something else. We've already battled over trying to eat off my plate, and the difference between playing and biting. I've had to show him, quite aggressively, who the pack leader around this house is, but he's learning. He's also the most loving, cuddly dog first thing in the morning. He's slept with me the first night and last night, and I'll let him if that's what he wants. He's going to take some work to learn some manners outside, but I think we've begun a beautiful relationship.

For now, here's another picture. I promise not to be one of those people that posts endless dog pictures. Not forever, anyway.

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