The One in Which I Become a Dog Owner.
Five years ago today, I was standing in a Park and Ride lot off 1-395 in Plainfield, Connecticut in a big long line next to a big long trailer. I was due with Gus in two days, standing out in the sun, hoping I wouldn't pass out while we were waiting. The line moved forward slowly as each family walked up to the man in charge, gave them their dog's name and their leash, and one of the assistants went into the trailer to find him or her. We watched them come out in all shapes and sizes- pit bull, Yorkie, beagle, retriever. Treats were passed out (one lucky guy got a McDonald's hamburger) as signs of welcome and good will. We were ready with water and snacks, too, so at least we fit in with these people who looked like they had all done this before.
We stepped up to the front of the line, handed over our paperwork and asked them to find Casey, gave them our black leash, and off they went. A minute or two later, our long-legged white fluffball came bounding out of the trailer and was handed over to the husband while I stared in disbelief. I owned a dog. What was I going to do with her? I didn't know what to do with a dog, even though I had wanted one very, very much. After piling her into the back of my Pathfinder, we set off for home. But Casey didn't like that, climbed over the middle seat and up into the husband's lap and rode like that the rest of the way. They've been besties ever since.
Before we got her we were trying to decide if we should change her name, as many pet owners do when they adopt, but we decided to wait and see. When we got her home, she immediately took off across the yard and we both yelled, "Casey!!" and she turned on a dime and came right back. So that was that. Once we got her inside she ran around all the rooms and was sniffing everything. We lived on the top floor of a house, and we had an indoor staircase down to the front door as well as a back staircase outside. She ran up and down those inside stairs several times and we thought she was just checking out the place. A few minutes later, she went to the bathroom on the floor. I freaked out, thinking that this was going to be how it was all the time, that we made a huge mistake. But the husband stayed calm and explained that it was our fault, that she was trying to tell us she needed to go out and we didn't understand. She's never gone on the floor since.
It took me about a week to get used to her, and when we went off to have Gus 10 days after we brought her home, I sobbed (hormones) that we had to leave her with friends. That day we also found out she gets carsick on windy, bumpy back roads. However, we lucked into the sweetest animal we could have possibly found. She loves people and is a complete cuddler. I read in a Martha Stewart magazine once not to try or hug or kiss a dog because they don't understand our terms of affection, but let me tell you- this dog loves hugs and kisses and she knows exactly what they mean.
As I write this she's laying belly-up in the middle of the two of us with her head on my pillow, dreaming and twitching, and I'm so thankful that we have her because there is nothing but love wrapped up in all those curls. Happy Gotcha Day!