Jan 15, 2008
Meet Doc Holliday, our newest adopted pack member. Yes, I believe we have lost our minds adopting another dog so quickly while still grieving for poor old Chica, but dogs like Doc don't come along very often and we would have been foolish to turn him away for our own selfish reasons. Maggie has not liked being the sole dog of the house, and it was for her more than anything else that propelled us to sign the adoption papers.
The Gods have gone crazy in the past month sending us abandoned critters who needed a good home. Since when do we have a neon "Vacancy - Suckers Live Here" sign on our property? On December 20, a likely green parrot showed up in the tree next door squawking his beak off. Hubby lured him down with bits of saltine crackers. We've named him Nick - as in St. Nicholas since he came to us during the Christmas season. Internet postings, neighborhood signs, and postcards in pet stores and vet clinics netted no contact from his owner, so we invested in some new bird real estate last weekend. Our 20-year-old cockatiel, Petey, could care less about having Nick around, but he's so docile we can't house him in the same cage with Nick. Our floor-length windows in our family room are now blocked with huge bird cages. Maybe it's time to consider an outdoor aviary? NOT!
Because Nick appeared just as we were losing Chica, we figured the Man Upstairs sent him to us just when needed something else to focus on. Nick is a real sweetie who entertains us daily with his antics and acrobatics. Quite the little personality has our Nick. One can't very well remain mired in grief with a parrot in the house shrieking for attention. Currently, he is perched on my shoulder and gently preening my face. This is one bird who will not stand for being ignored. He also enjoys spending time in Hubby's office on the portable perch placed next to the music speakers. Apparently he is no fan of Lyle Lovett. What a racket!
Back to Doc. Knowing we were losing Chica faster than we cared for, Hubby made application to a Dalmation rescue organization at ReycledCanines.org. Frankly, I was a bit perturbed with him for moving ahead on that while Chica was still alive, but as it turns out, it was the right thing to do. Maggie really needs a pack member to play with and keep her company on the rare occasion that nobody is in the house. Having our application approved and vet records checked a few weeks ahead sped up the adoption process tremendously.
All we know about Doc is that he was a stray who was moved through the Harris County Animal Control system here in Houston. Apparently his number was just about up when Recycled Canines took him on. Thank God they did! Our so-called public animal shelters have some of the worst euthanasia rates in the entire country. I can't imagine euthanizing such a lovely dog just because nobody claimed him in three whole days. What a crock! But that's a topic for another journal entry so I'll take my foot off the soapbox for now.
Recycled canines called us late last week to tell us they were holding an adoption event near us, and suggested we bring Maggie along to see if she had any interest in the dogs they were showing. Firmly damping down any ideas of adopting a dog this soon, we headed out to PetSmart Saturday afternoon just to check out the dogs. Mags is a picky little girl regarding who she'll take on as a buddy, and the first 4 dogs elicited zero interest in her. Then came Doc (known for one week as Brutus). Hmmm... now this guy is interesting enough for some getting-to-know-you, butt-sniffing formal introductions.
The following day, Debbie with Recycled Canines needed to take another dog to a home in our area. For convenience sake, we decided to have her bring Doc along for a home study to see how he and Maggie got along in our home. What a riot! After observing the rituals of reintroduction, and making sure every square inch of our yard was thoroughly marked, Doc turned his attention fully on Maggie. They faced off with both rear ends up in the air, and it was off to the races. Maggie hasn't smiled that much in weeks. It was so good to see her happy again.
We are a cul-de-sac of dog lovers, and it's not been unheard of to have 6 or more dogs in our yard and pool during the summer months. When we invite our friends over, their dogs are welcome as well, so it was important to determine Doc's level of socialization. We made a trip next door to meet King, the 120-lb Lab we babysit frequently when his dad needs to travel. No problem! Doc apparently never met a dog (or human) he didn't like, and the three of them had a grand time racing around King's yard.
After all that, Hubby said, "I think he just needs to stay here." Well, my jaw about dropped to the ground. This man is not one for making fast decisions. I was prepared for the usual 6-month search full of waffling and crawfishing. Even he had to admit dogs like Doc don't come along very often, and it would be foolish beyond measure to wait. Doc needs a forever home; and Maggie, hubby and I need Doc.
Since Doc is somewhere between 3 and 4 years old, we are able to skip over the puppy housetraining and socialization and move straight on to teaching him the house rules. He's such a cooperative guy. He doesn't care what the rules are, he just wants to know what they are. We did a lot of leash work yesterday and now he walks politely on the leash with Maggie by his side. They make a great looking couple too!
The house is full again, and the Vacancy sign is turned off. I hope!