So, we have a dog. A tiny, wiggly black-ish dog with a blaze of spotted white on her chest and two brown eyes and a sleek coat of fur.
This whole thing started when I got a text from Jen with a link to a local rescue website used by some friends to source their new puppy (we are one of several local households to adopt a dog this summer) and I took a minute at work to scroll through the listings. My immediate response to Jen was that I loved a bluetick coonhound named Jethro and a little Weimaraner/shorthair pointer mix named Florence. Jen’s earlier experience with a hound relegated Jethro to second place, so she inquired about Florence and a full grown female shepherd named Jayme. Emails were traded, applications were filled out, and we got the word Monday night that the foster family wanted us to meet Florence.
We drove down to Mariottsville on Wednesday evening to meet her, and as we walked toward the house, a little black puppy squirmed towards us in her leash. I knelt in front of her and she immediately covered my face in kisses and nibbles. The hook was set for me at that point. Then the foster couple then told us she was not actually Weimaraner or pointer, but maybe something called a Kelpie, which is an Australian herding dog that looks more like a shepherd with brown eyebrows. Kelpies apparently don’t grow as large as pointers or Weimaraners but still go to about 40-50 lbs. I’ll be honest, my heart kind of sank at that moment.
This was a potential dealbreaker. We are not kick-dog people. I grew up with a beagle (so, yes, I can do without a baying hound as well) and later a shepherd and lab duo so I’m used to full-size dogs underfoot. Jen had Dalmatians. While I love dogs of any type, my patience for little yapping moppets is thin (I make an exception for Marley, our adoptive nephew, who is pretty chill) so tiny dogs were never going to be an option no matter how hard Finn lobbied for one.
We talked about it a bit in the driveway and later when we went inside, and the family consensus was that we’d go for it. This was also at the point when she was curled up on my lap as we talked to the foster mother, so I was an easy mark.
The story was that she’d been abandoned with her 12-odd littermates by the side of a road in South Carolina. The foster mother showed us a picture of her littermates, all five of which looked exactly like pictures of a Kelpie we saw online. I know there’s lots of variation in nature, but I’m suspicious of this story for some reason; there’s no Kelpie evident in Florence that I can see other than her brown eyes.
Either way, we signed the next 12+ years of our lives away to this beautiful little girl and loaded her into the car for the ride home, where she promptly curled up on my lap and fell asleep.
Jen borrowed a crate from our neighbors and made a run to the pet store for supplies ahead of time, so we were ready for her. We set her up in the den and closed the doors off to the rest of the house to give the cats time to adjust. Trixie blew up to twice her size at first glance and Nox prowled the office trying to see what was going on. There was a little hissing at first and a lot of homicidal staring through the glass of the french doors but everyone has calmed down by this point. Nox made a reconnaissance mission into the office last night while we kept the puppy on a leash, and they came within inches of each other without any attempts at murder. Nox was actually pretty calm about the whole thing, and the puppy just wants to play—but to her credit she didn’t jump or wiggle.
Our plan is to continue slowly acclimating the three to each other before we release her into the general population. It’s going to take a lot of time for the cats to be OK with this, and we realize that. (Nox slept between my legs last night for the first time in weeks).
Now we are on puppy time and it’s going to be a big adjustment for this family: no longer can we just walk out the door for five hours at the spur of the moment. One bonus is that she’s sleeping through the night on her own without making a mess of her crate, which is awesome.
She’s still sorting out her signals for I have to pee right now so Jen had to deal with about 10 accidents yesterday in rapid succession. And her farts are absolutely corrosive. But I’ve come to love her snores and her warm shiny fur under my hand as she curls up next to me on the floor before bedtime.