Last Thursday, I decided on a dog. A four-legged friend could be a more regular source of happiness than ice cream or a short visit with a friendly former neighbor I might not see again.
Despite not having a dog of my own, I had daily been aware of the alternate universe located down around people’s knees and comprised of four-leggeds, although one friend with birds swears her heart health has improved. It has long been apparent that more reliable good will exists between four-leggeds and two-leggeds than between us two-leggeds ourselves.
Although I wasn’t thinking whimsically at the time, I did head for Animal Care and Control, the first spot for lost or stray creatures. It is one of the shelters from which its neighbor, the SPCA, can choose animals to put up for adoption. Muttville is nearby as well.
Thursday around noon at the shelter, Susie, friend of a friend and a shelter volunteer met me, and by 2 p.m. we were both at Pet Express to find the right bed, crate, leash, collar, food, and toys for the stray one-year old boy I had chosen. Susie clearly picked up on my elevated stress level and went shopping with dog and me.
Susie was right about the stress. From the moment I began my very short search, I really had no idea what it would take to adopt a pet. I hadn’t been prepared for the paper work meant to ensure the dog will be safe and cared for. Yet everyone working in the shelter, either paid or as a volunteer, clearly loved animals. They treated me as though my adopting this dog was special and important.
Maybe I surprised them by choosing so quickly. I hadn’t asked to sit in a room with the dog to see if we got along. All the barking put me off and it was hard to imagine any dog under these circumstances demonstrating a clear fondness for me. Yes, I could have been less impulsive about my adoptee-to-be, arranged to pat and play with lots of potential pets, even gone to the SPCA or meandered over to Muttville, but I know myself. I may be impulsive or just not do very well with too much information. Better to just decide, trust the universe, and heed those people who work so diligently and lovingly at Animal Care and Control.
So I adopted Foxibeau le chien, the second dog I saw. I added Foxi to Beau, the name they gave him to celebrate his reddish coloring as well as the fox look of him. The French part is an affectation in lieu of his lack of papers. I have alternate pronunciations for his name. It can be said slowly with the accent on the beau as if complimenting the dog or it can be pronounced like placebo, the pill that makes one think things are much better.
With just a few days of living together, I can say he clearly meets my criteria for an animal I can live with. He does well on the leash, rides in the car, and sits with me without growling for my early morning usual at Starbucks. These small acts mattered after some of the experiences I had dog-sitting Chloe. I love Chloe for making me dog-ready, but Chloe didn’t like riding in the car. She quivered a lot when I stopped at Starbucks; she didn’t like walking peacefully with a leash and harness, and she shook at street corners when traffic whizzed by. I didn’t fault Chloe. Her real home had a yard.
And though Foxibeau and I are only a few days in, it is looking good for both of us. We seem satisfied with our arrangements. Shelter people who encouraged me to take home a dog were right. Foxibeau has made my home a happier place.