It's getting better but every now and again the loss of my Cheyenne still hits me hard and I look around through my tears and there's no dog waiting for me. Not at home, in the car, for a walk, or snoring alongside when I wake up in the afternoon. I don't like it.
After my last dog died, months of cancer ended with a needle, I took three long years to get over the trauma. Cheyenne died peacefully of her own will last Friday, in my arms, no vet and no decision on my part and that ease gave me hope that I can handle another dog much more easily and quickly. 24 hours after she died I found myself ready to get another dog. My wife felt the same way after a couple of nights home absolutely alone while I was at work. Then I got this message:
I don't buy dogs because I think there are too many dogs in the world as it is. So I turned to the SPCA website. My ideal dog is a Labrador and I like them because they are my personification of a true companion animal. I don't like controlling my dog, I like to share the road ahead with them and in that respect Cheyenne was ideal. She was stubborn but she was smart and we developed a trust that allowed me to live with her in a form of partnership. I know the next dog won't be the same but I know the next dog has to share that attitude.
There is a black Lab at the Key West SPCA called Kona and I got a chance to see him Monday night thanks to a friend of a friend because the pound was closed on the holiday. They are only open weekdays and Saturday so my wife who works in Marathon has no hope of being able to meet a dog here but once a week so she relied on me to get the first impression through their rather nice beahviorist Cathy a true animal lover. Kona was barking wildly at the cat pen and the unseen cats inside. Loud barking, unrestrained and full throated was followed by digging like a four legged back hoe.
I just don't see this as a partnership in the gentle middle aged style that I like. My modest plastic temporary gate to keep a new arrival contained on our deck would be no match for this eight year old bundle of energy:
So I went to the Marathon pound yesterday, a building behind the airport staffed by dog-friendly youngsters with sunny dispositions unlike the Key West dour city staff who prefer to treat their dogs as errant parking problems than sentient beings. Marathon is open weekends and my wife works ten minutes away so her lunch break was enough to convince her Murdock might be just the job. I showed up later and we went for a walk.
He's younger, around five but he is obedient though curious, he looked around and sniffed everything but didn't react to a fenced dog barking at him as we passed ( just like Cheyenne!) and he ignored a bird taking flight in front of him. He responded to my commands didn't tug and was ready to keep on going in the 81 degree heat. I was impressed.
He started out with this irritating habit of a cocking a leg but by the end of the hour he wasn't even fooling himself that he had any scent left to leave behind. It's one reason I prefer females.
It seems he is in suspension until Thursday as another family has "put dibs" on him. How one does that I don't know. It's not that complicated. You fill out the form, call ahead to your landlord to warn him a call will be coming (Mike is fine with us having dogs) pay the fee and take the dog home. Not here. Had I known I should put dibs on a likely candidate I should have been down last week when Cheyenne was on her death bed "reserving" her likely replacements. Grotesque thought. Simply showing up ready willing and able to adopt isn't good enough.
I walked in to adopt Cheyenne that December day in 2009 and we walked out together by lunch time (my wife worked five minutes up the road from the Key West SPCA in those days and came by to say she agreed and that took two minutes). Now it seems nothing can be that simple and I am filling out forms to become a candidate for Labrador Rescue adoption in Florida. I'm also thinking about going to the pound in Ft Myers and seeing what they have. I'm really not sure how ready the Monroe County SPCA is to actually give up their charges. Maybe they need to hang on to them for reasons I can't grasp. Too bad for me and the dogs.