29 April 2012

"A Fascinatingly Disturbing Thought"

In Rome (of all places) I was approached by a young American evangelist who was, apparently, trying to convert all those Roman heathens to Jesus lovers. I told him that I didn't believe in a Creator and explained that being part of this universe was special in its own right, that the fact that we exist at all is beautiful and awe inspiring in itself. The only response he had was, "I just feel like there HAS to be something." What he didn't realize is that there IS something, and it's called quantum physics.

23 April 2012

Our New Bundle of Joy

There is one, but not the one we thought we were going to be getting. It's a long, sordid tale, but the super brief version is that the co-owner of that pup, who had been raising him, decided on Tuesday, the day before we were to get the pup, that she couldn't give him up. We found out later that she had been blindsided and railroaded into the whole situation, so as much as we had become emotionally invested in the idea of having him, we certainly understand her feelings and wish her and the pup the best.

Anyway, since we were back at square one, we went back to some of the other leads we had. I had filled out a very extensive (and novel, and very impressive) online screening questionnaire at one breeder's website but had not heard back, so I e-mailed them and briefly explained our situation. Not too long after I got a very nice e-mail back telling me that they had an adult male, a champion show dog they'd recently retired from their breeding program. They thought they'd found a home for him, but that situation fell through at the last minute, also on Tuesday.

David and I decided that we wanted to meet him, so after a bit of e-mail exchange, we drove down to the same venue where David had met the other pup to meet the breeder, who was showing that day. We had a wonderful conversation with him and met the dogs he was showing, then agreed to meet elsewhere that afternoon to meet Chaucer, the boy they were trying to place. We also learned more of the back story regarding the situation with the other pup David had met. Suffice to say, it left us less impressed than we already were with the other breeders.

At any rate, he went home with the other dogs, retrieved Chaucer, and we met up in Connecticut to see Chaucer for the first time. He clearly knew SOMETHING BIG was going on and was a bit keyed up, but he was a sweet boy and asked me to pick him up right off the bat. So after spending another hour or so with him and the breeder, we decided to bring him home with us.

He was a bit wound up about the kitties, but he's been super good with them. He also has an incredible level of energy and loves to run and play, though he's perfectly calm and content to flop down and sleep when he's indoors. He's also extremely intelligent and willing to learn the rules of the house.

He is, of course, not Tuck. No dog could be. That said, the synchronicity that brought him to us could not have been more perfect. He has integrated into our household so seamlessly that, just as with Tuck, I can't imagine we'd have been able to find a better dog for us at this time. I don't really believe in much, but I do believe that some things are meant to be. This is clearly one of those things.

08 April 2012

On Loss, and New Beginnings

T.S. Eliot got it wrong. This year, at least, March was the cruelest month. A really, really horrid month. On the 10th, we lost Sylvie, whom David had adopted as a pound kitty back in 1995. She had lost some ground from apparent inflammatory bowel issues, but we seemed to be making headway dealing with that. Within a 4 week period from February to March, though, she developed a liver tumor, most likely a biliary adenocarcinoma, and deteriorated quickly.

Sylvie was the Jan Brady of our little blended family, always complaining that her adopted siblings were stealing away her attention. In her younger years, she had been something of a teenage runaway, once escaping and getting trapped in a nearly inaccessible space between two apartment buildings in New Jersey.

Then exactly two weeks later came the cruelest blow of all. We had to say goodbye to our dear, sweet Tuck. As happens with his type of condition, his lungs had fibrosed to a point that they simply couldn't sustain him anymore. After a week of back-and-forth between home and the clinic to put him in oxygen, we finally had to face the reality of the situation and the fact that it just wasn't fair to him anymore. I always tell my clients that quality of life for a pet means they can eat, drink, pee, poop, and sleep reasonably comfortably. When all was said and done, Tuck could only sleep relatively comfortably, so he spent his last hour and a half lying on a bed between David and me, with his head resting in my hand and equal measures of tears and kisses.

And I'm realizing now why it's taken me two weeks to write this. As much as I know that it was the right thing for him, I miss my littledog so very, very much. The funny thing about grief, though, is that it's not linear.  Sometimes it sneaks up and grabs you by the short hairs when you least expect it. 

And although there will never, ever be another Tuck, his absence left a hole in our lives, so it didn't take long for us to start looking. I thought about a border collie, partly because it seemed like less of a cheat, I suppose. David, however, would have none of that. He wanted another frenchie, and really, I did, too. There's a lot of personality in a very compact, but decidedly non-froofy package - all the things I love in a dog.

So I started by looking at the rescue listings and none seemed appropriate for our household, so then I moved on to breeders. We agreed that a younger, healthy dog was what we wanted this time. Losing Tuck so soon was a heartbreak like no other, and we don't want to go through that again for a good long while. And after a bit of communication back and forth with a few breeders, David ended up driving to Springfield, MA, early this morning to meet a juvenile male, 9 months old today, whom the breeders had decided to cut from their show line. It was, apparently, love at first sight. Having such a young dog will be a change for us, but it sounds like the reason they decided to end his show career was that he was more about snuggles and lovin' than about prancing in the show ring. And that's just fine by us.

We don't even know yet what his registered name is - most likely Campcovo Bella Luna's {insert pop song title} - but we won't be keeping his kennel/call name. David informed me that it's his turn to name this one, though, so I guess we all get to wait to learn what he'll be called in this house. Hopefully he'll be coming to live in this house within the next week, so fingers crossed David hurries up.