It’s utterly amazing how quickly a new pet can worm his way into your heart. We adopted a rescued terrier mix the first time we saw him, a mere two weeks before we were to head out-of-town on a business trip for six days and five nights. Having looked forward to celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary by staying an extra night at an upgraded suite at the Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, SC, Michael and I suddenly found ourselves questioning this extra night. Really? A dog we barely knew was tempting us to change our plans??
A phone call answered the question about taking him with us: no, our accommodations were not “pet-friendly.” Remembering how casually I had answered that question to vacationers inquiring about our own beach house back in the summer rental days, I felt a rush of compassion and a wee bit of guilt. Remembering Michael’s knee jerk responses to our daughters’ inquiries about bringing their own canine family members with them to our house or the beach house, I winced to myself, compassion oozing out of me like Bavarian cream from a warm doughnut.
Thankfully, one of my best friends offered to consider keeping him at her house if our Roosevelt got along with her Lucy. We had no idea how this new 13 pound, shy little 2-year old boy would behave, but I crossed my fingers. Roosevelt rode shot-gun as we drove the mere 2 miles to Robin’s house. I fastened the leash on his collar and baby talked “Come on, buddy,” as I enthusiastically introduced him to this new yard, new house, new human, new dog, so soon after he was just getting used to us as his new owners.
Once inside, the dogs sniffed each other’s privates, checked each other out, Lucy making sure Roosevelt knew this was her territory. Until we turned our backs and Roosevelt hiked on the kitchen island, marking his spot. “Oh Robin, I’m so sorry! He’s never done that at our house!”
But Saint Robin, clearly ready and in control of the situation, proceeded to firmly but patiently reprimand him while spraying and cleaning the “piddle.” A former groomer, breeder and dog handler, Robin knows her stuff. And I was more than willing to pay her price to take care of our new precious baby if she would have him.
She assured me he would still be happy to see us, but I sure was glad to get daily reports on his antics and behavior, especially the part about “he still goes to the front door and sniffs for you!” I remembered feeling the same unsettled way when, 25 years ago, we had left Caroline with Paw Paw and Gran for the first weekend apart from our six month old baby. Seriously? Well, yeah, pretty darn close!