The hoops we had to jump through trying to adopt these two dogs were much like the hurdles we encountered when adopting our son. But these were DOGS. I understand the agencies need to be sure their rescues are going to good homes but this seemed a bit over the top. We had to send pictures of each room in our home and all parts of the yard. This was to determine if we had a dog friendly home. We had to have several personal and professional references. Any vets we had previously used would need to contacted. This was a problem because after we switched to a raw diet for our dogs, we no longer needed veterinary services. The only time we used a vet in the past few years was when Texas was attacked by the Bull Mastiff.
Rescue dogs are a breed of their own. I believe they are fully aware that they were given away or thrown away or neglected. They are the most loyal dogs; hands down.
The agency needed to know our schedules and how much time we would devote to our new family members, what type of food we would feed them (I avoided answering that one!) and the list went on. As much as my daughter wanted to gift these precious little Doxies to her dad, both of them decided it was ridiculous and we agreed that we probably should accept the fact we were not going to get them.
That was at midnight a week ago Friday. At 12:30 A M an email popped up. "Congratulations! If you still want Star and Gunner, they are yours but they must be picked up next Sunday morning." The agency had Star spayed and Gunner neutered two weeks earlier and the vet realized that the dogs teeth were in terrible condition (diet-related!) and they would need surgery. They were going to pull ten of Gunner's teeth and two of Star's teeth on Friday. I could get the dogs on Sunday.
A long trip but more than excited to be going...
Getting my wits about me I looked for the other route. My GPS was not picking up the satellite signal! When I got to the stop light I didn't know which direction to turn. Rolling down the window, I asked the driver in the car next to me. He was new to the area and had no idea but he thought it was to the right. I KNEW it was to the left -- so which way did I turn? Yup - to the right.
When I got onto that road I remembered it was the new 'connector'. There were NO exits for thirty miles. That would mean thirty miles EACH WAY. It was now 10 A.M. and I had not made my first stop yet.
I finally managed to get to the border and get in line. The wait was over an hour long. I called my hubby and he said, "After everything that has happened, maybe it is not meant to be. Should we forget it?" He had been in so much physical pain for the past two weeks from his brain injury (click here for that story) I knew he was not thinking clearly.
That spurred me forward. Now, determined more than ever, I completed the task at hand and continued the journey. I really needed a bathroom so stopped at the first available service station. Did I check my gas gauge? Of course not - no time for that.
My next stop on my list was quick but walking back to my car, I noticed that one of my brand new tires had a nail sticking out of it. My stomach tightened. I called my husband, Paul. He suggested I go to the dealership; where I had purchased the set of four tires a couple months earlier. I called them and they responded by saying those words we love to hear, "Uh oh, if it is sticking out from the sidewall, there is nothing we can do but replace the tire. You realize, of course, that would mean replacing all four because it is All Wheel Drive."
I called Paul back and he said "Try crying when you get there. See if that will help." I told him I was crying already and I knew it would not help. I had been down this road before and if one tire goes bad, they all have to be changed.
The fog was still thick and I was white knuckling it as I had seen several accidents along the highway. Pulling into the service center, my leg was shaking. I did not have the time or the funds to replace these tires.
"You are ONE LUCKY LADY!" He said it so loud that a crowd of four gathered. He showed us that the nail had gone into the tire BETWEEN the treads. It was like getting a surface sliver on your finger. He pulled it out, told me to keep it as a good luck charm. I wanted to hug him but felt a handshake was more appropriate.
Two more stops and I would finally be on my way to get the dogs. I needed to make ferry reservations two hours in advance for the little ferry that would take me to the Olympic Peninsula. Without a reservation, you could not get a ticket. I called to ask how long it would take me to get there and the operator guessed about two hours. The next boat left in 2.5 hours. I could do this!
I prayed that my GPS was working properly and wouldn't send me on the longest route. The road was extremely windy and rugged. I had no idea where I was going or what to expect on this stretch. Arriving at the terminal with fifteen minutes to spare I saw a sign I have never seen before in my life. It said "All ferry traffic must drive two miles up the road to turn around in the designated area. No U-turns permitted." I rolled the window down and asked a guy walking on the side of the road if this was true. He said, "If you want to be sneaky, just pull around the corner and do a U-turn - but be careful - it's dangerous and illegal." The fog was so thick I could not see the ferry but I took his advice and made it to the gate unscathed. The agent said it would probably be the last boat of the day because of the weather conditions. Consequently, I would not be able to get a round-trip ticket.
A motel room and a bath sounded much more appealing than a trip back across the ocean that night. I glanced at my gas gauge and realized I had been riding on fumes for some time. As soon as I reached the other side, I pulled into the nearest station. Could it have been that 'lucky nail' I had kept?
At this point of my trip I had dinner with an author whom I had been communicating with for over a year. I met her on-line shortly after publishing my memoir. This is an incredible second story to share but will do that in my next post. Her name is KC Hutter of How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.
The next stretch of highway was no better than the last one but within a couple of hours I finally arrived at my motel. However, my joy was soon gone when I read this email: "We are really sorry but the dogs are not ready to be picked up. They have had a rough time with their surgeries and the lady who is arranging the adoption was called out of town as her granddaughter was in a near fatal car accident and she has all the paper work."
I stared at it. There was a number to call but instead I decided to answer the email. I told them to have the woman fax the paperwork, and I would be there at nine in the morning to pick up these little waifs. They had been neglected and abused. Star is six years old and Gunner is nine. They needed this mom's love as soon as possible and I was more than ready to give it.
The trip to get the dogs took me 14 hours. The trip back home took me seven. The moment I laid eyes on those two Doxies I knew it was 'meant to be.' They were so thin and tiny with the saddest eyes. I will be sharing many stories about them and their progress with you. I have now had them for two weeks and it is as though they have been here forever.
Texas we miss you. We will always miss you. Through your death, we have been able to give a home to two precious dogs who have been deprived of love and attention. Thank you Texas. Gunner and Star thank you.
Photos courtesy of lifeismonutum, talenthounds, gonerz.org