Monday, September 28, 2009
A Moment of Paws
A cute puppy was whelped January 25, 2003 in Kansas, born to dad Toto and mom Cherie Blos'M. His dad was wheaten in color and his mother brindle. The new puppy was wheaten with brindle.
Indy (Indiana Bones, sometimes nicknamed Indy 500) came to our home in December of 2004 and soon became a loved member of our family. (He worked himself into David's heart once he stopped peeing indoors.)(The dog stopped peeing indoors.)(Dave's allowed to pee indoors if it is into a toilet.)(Indy would have been allowed if it was into a toilet.)(Just clarifying.)(Ok, keep reading.)
An extremely intelligent dog, Indy knows at least 24 commands and tricks, a handful of silent signals, plus a dogzillion words. He was starting to pick up on some Spanish words and some of our code for "going for a walk."
Indy is very affectionate and wants to be with us all the time. He cries if we leave the house and he sees us through a window walking without him. He hops on his hind legs when he wants us to pick him up, like a toddler might do. He hangs out by our feet in the office, in the living room, under the kitchen table. He follows us wherever we go. He knows who "Daddy" and "Mommy" are. Ask him "Where's Daddy?" and he runs through the house until he finds David.
The challenge came when I gave birth to a baby girl 16 months ago and never really caught up to my new life, so Indy's training fell by the wayside. A couple months ago, I began to introduce some training ideas to him again, and then I became pregnant again (read: nauseous and exhausted), so training fell by the wayside (again), along with my patience as I tried to sneak in naps when my daughter napped.
Indy, has improved on a lot of things since my first post about him (when I was pregnant with Baby Dhis), but he still barks when a delivery truck rolls by (which is nearly everyday in my neighborhood), and barks up a storm when someone comes to the door. These are things he could get over in a week or two if I had the oomph to get up and do it. But I didn't. And I was getting annoyed, especially when it was naptime.
I got frustrated and placed a "for sale" ad online. Then, I forgot about it. The search for a sofa took over the rest of the day as Dave and I traveled to nearby furniture stores (that's another post).
Late that night, someone from out-of-state called on the ad asking questions about Indy. Dave took the call and answered his questions. After hanging up, we both realized we were not ready to let Indy go. The next morning, I took the ad off, decided he was here to stay, and went to church.
By the time we got home from church, the guy from the previous night had called 5 times. Uh oh. What would we say to him? I decided we should just tell him oh-we're-so-sorry and we-changed-our-minds and he's-not-for-sale. Soon after this thought, the phone rang again. The caller ID showed it was he. Dave answered. It was NOT he. It was his 11-year-old daughter, and she was super excited to see Indy.
DRATS! Dave and I were both thrown off. We hadn't planned on saying 'no' to a little girl! How could we? She was so excited she had called 5 times in an hour!
She asked us if we would meet them halfway north so she could see Indy. Dave asked if we could call her back. Dave hung up, and we both kinda lost it, not the teary lost-it, but the yelling lost-it. We yelled at each other for each of our faults in getting us to this situation, we fought about who was going to make the final call to this family, we yelled at each other some more just to yell. Neither of us knew what to do at this point now that a father had sold his daughter on owning this dog.
We yelled at each other some more for one or the other to come up with a solution. Dave stormed upstairs to think. He came back down. "Let's meet with them. A little girl will give him lots of love and attention."
Finally, I cried, and Dave sat sad in a chair. Neither of us were ok with this, but neither of us could deny that a transition for Indy into a good home had presented itself, instead of The Pound as some of our friends had done.
David called the family back. We tried to buy some time by letting them know he is past due for grooming, and he has an appointment this coming Wednesday, but that meant nothing to an 11-year-old girl set on getting a dog. We set a time to meet halfway upstate within a few hours.
I began gathering all of Indy's belongings, found his pedigree and microchip forms, washed his towels and pillow, and collected his toys from around the house. David gave Indy a bath and let him dry out in the sun. No time for a family photo. We headed up for Ogden. I cried. Dave was quiet. Once in a while, a billboard gave us something else to talk about.
At the designated freeway gas station, we met the dad and daughter. The dad told us that his little girl was obsessed with Indy's ad and photos. (Those are the photos I posted here.) She had been wanting a dog for a long time, had been saving up her money for 6 months, and had been checking the online classifieds every day.
Indy seemed confused and overstimulated by all the traffic and the constant petting from the girl. I was just trying to choke back emotions as I explained to the father what belongings and paperwork I was giving him.
Little Girl couldn't wait to hand us her wad of money making Indy officially hers. $100. Now, I had posted Indy for $200, but David misunderstood an earlier conversation we had and ended up giving them a $100 discount, which felt like a little kick in the stomach after all I was already feeling. But Dave, in exchange for the discount, had them promise two things: 1) to take good care of Indy and 2) that if they ever thought they could not keep him, that they call us to let us know and we'd come get him.
The second-to-last thing I saw was the little girl pulling him by his leash and he pulling towards us doing the same little cry he gives when we leave him at the groomer's. The last thing I saw was them driving away, Indy on the girl's lap doing his separation cry. I got into our car, exclaimed "I forgot to give him a hug!" and began sobbing.
I remember reading once that Joseph Smith had a dream that his dead brother Alvin was in Heaven with his favorite horse. David once told me that when he was a teen, he had his golden retriever Barkley promise to be his dog in Heaven (to which Barkley responded by putting a paw on Dave). I had thought Indy would be my dog in Heaven, but how could that be when he was going to spend more years with another family than he had with me? I felt so... so... petless. It makes no sense and sounds crazy but that's how I felt. On top of all this, all the emotions I had when our foster adoptive children were taken away rose up. I thought about my parents' current situation. Few relationships seemed permanent in my life.
The ride home was weird. My chest hurt. Dave felt a pit in his stomach. Coming home was weird. The entrance into the kitchen from the garage was empty where Indy's bed, food, and water used to be. The house was quiet. No click-clack of little claws hitting the linoleum. Going to bed felt out of sync. No letting a dog out to pee and then back into the house before turning on the house alarm. I just turned on the alarm and realized there was one missing little soul in our house.
I lied in bed, and in the moment right between wake and sleep, I heard Indy groan like he does sometimes when he's asleep on the floor by our bed. I bolted out of bed and looked for him and realized he couldn't have possibly found his way home and into our room.
I don't imagine those who have never loved a dog will understand the aching and pain we're feeling. Maybe those who have loved a dog will.
The good in this situation is this:
Indy is with a good family on a 3 acre lot in a very rural community in Idaho. The place is "in the county" and doesn't even have a name. The children are home-schooled, so they are always home to play and dote on him. They have another dog about his age to keep him company. There is always the "out" we gave them if they should ever feel like Indy needs to move on.
In some coming moment, the good will outweigh the heavy emotions. And hopefully, I'll end up with a dog in Heaven after all.