Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our Peaceable Kingdom


I've been thinking my dog needed a friend for quite some time. The problem has been finding the right fit. Now, it's true, he has the cat -- they're buddies for life -- and that's great. But, well, I've just thought he needed someone else.

Like another dog. You see, he grew up in the company of a somewhat older dog who was sort of an uncle or older brother type who showed him the ropes and taught him the things dogs do. The joys of lying in the sun, lolling on a freshly made bed and scattering pillows like confetti, and going for walks with his head hung low, not too low, just low enough to send the message to any other dogs that I'm his person and they'd better not forget it. And be sure to regularly check his D-mail (dog mail) on fire hydrants and tree trunks.

When we lost that friend to cancer, I knew eventually we'd need another pal, but I couldn't contemplate it so soon. Some people can do that, lose a dog, then find another shortly afterward. It doesn't work that way for me. I need time, lots of time, to get accustomed to living with a huge unwelcome hole in my life. I suspect more of us are that way than not, nothing against those who are; it's just not something I can do.

Anyway, I've been looking for several months, prowling Pet-Finders and the local shelters, but no one caught my eye. This afternoon, however, a shelter in Portland was hosting a fund-raiser, with puppies advertised. Something told me we'd better get down there or I'd regret it, so off we went, instructing the cat to hold down the fort until we got back. Naturally, I left HBO-Family on for him, in case he decided to watch. You never know, you know.

I definitely wanted a puppy because I figured it would be easier for our chapter of The Peaceable Kingdom to adapt to a younger dog, and therein has been my biggest difficulty, i.e. finding a puppy who wasn't cooling his heals in Arkansas or Tennessee, awaiting shipment out of state. Dogs need to choose their owners and that's hard to do when you're five states apart. Even if there was such a thing as People-Finders, it has to be tough for a dog to find a shelter with free internet access -- assuming they brought along their own laptop, that is.

Given all that, it was pretty obvious we needed to see whomever we wanted to bring home, face to face, and have a chance to introduce ourselves, talk about common interests -- your typical first-date stuff. From the photo you can tell the guys got along famously and the muddy puppy paw prints all over the front of my jacket were a solid indicator things went equally well with the human. So, one night this week, after he's had his day with the vet, getting "fixed," I'll bring him home and life will take a decidedly new turn for us all.

As to what we'll call him, I haven't decided yet. To the shelter, he's Jacob. Frankly, I wouldn't call my kid that, even though it's a fine name and Jacob in the Old Testament was a hero to his people. It just doesn't seem like the right name for this little fellow who, in a few months, will be another big fellow crowding me out of the bed along with his older brother. He may be a Sam, like Jessie Livingstone's Black Lab from Pink Hats. We'll have to see, but I'll be sure to tell you, just as soon as he tells me.

(Photo copyright 2011 by the author)
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