I knew it was only a matter of time. Jasper and Lilah were growing up; Lilah was becoming quite the young lady, very well mannered, and there were only slight vestiges of her skittishness left, really only apparent to those of us who knew her when she was younger. Jasper, the comfort hound, was also settling down, although he still is a work in progress, as the natural exuberance stuffed into his solid 53-pound body still boils over when introduced to new people...well, any people, or dogs. Normally calm and actually quite lazy, Jasper is instantly energized when he says hello to...anyone.
I have been talking about the possibility of a third dog for quite some time. I never had three dogs, yet somehow, it felt like I should stay open to the idea. I was pretty sure we’d adopt Number Three eventually, but I wasn’t in a hurry. I figured when the right dog came around at the right time, I’d adopt him or her. I was guessing that this might all take place when my son heads off to college in 2012, as I predicted the Empty Nest Syndrome to hit me big time.
In the mean time, I would periodically scroll through the pictures on Petfinder.com or Adoptapet.com...not so much looking, as just maybe window shopping; there was no real intention to “buy.”
However, a month or so ago, I had this really powerful dream that a dog--a puppy--came looking for me, and when he joined our family, it was complete. The adorable little thing had a roundish puppy belly, with these cute little brown patchy spots. The next day, I was curious; maybe the dog in my dream exists; on a whim, I visited the two sites...because, well, you never know. I was looking for that belly.
As I looked at all the faces--and puppy bellies--as usual, I thought I could take nearly any one of them home. Though, now I realized that with two cats in the house, my choices were more limited. I couldn’t even consider any pup whose description didn’t say he or she was good with cats.
And then, I saw The Face. It wasn’t the same dog in the dream. (I mean, folks, this is reality, not fiction or film.) But still, I saw this dog on Adoptapet.com and knew he was meant to come live with me. Hmmmm. Wait a minute. Perhaps I should read the description before I fell madly in love with a picture. "Good with children." Check. "Good with other dogs." Check. "Good with cats." Check.
A little over a month later, Brian, Aaron, Corinne and I were sitting in our minivan in a Chili’s parking lot in Flemington, New Jersey waiting to actually meet “Jack.” I had been in almost-daily contact with his foster, as the dog was in North Carolina, having been pulled from a shelter by a rescue organization, Saving Fur Kids Rescue. Over time, I saw pictures of the puppy, learned he really was as good as his description, and felt pretty comfortable that he was going to fit right in to our menagerie--human, canine and feline.
On the drive to Flemington, I had told all family members that if anyone got a bad feeling about the dog, or felt it was really wrong, he or she could veto the adoption right then and there. But I wasn’t worried; if this dog was for us, it would be pretty obvious; we’re all dog people and can read animals quite well.
A van pulled into the parking lot, and a woman waved to us. In the back of the car, we could see a doggy head. “Jack” jumped out, went immediately to Brian and gave him warm, sloppy puppy kisses. He then greeted each of us the same way, one at a time, as if to say, “Hey Family, where have you been and what took you so long?”
We were all in love. Instantly.
And on the ride home, as the puppy snuggled onto Aaron’s lap, I caught a glimpse of his belly. In one small area, where he had been shaved for his neutering, there were cute little brown patchy spots.
That was a mere four days ago.
It is amazing how well the little guy, whom we renamed Tucker, fits into our family. (Why Tucker? He just looks like a Tucker, and everyone agreed on the name, which is really hard for us to do as a group--agree, that is.)
Jasper and Lilah were thrilled to have a new dog to play with; they zoomed around the yard, leaping and bouncing and wagging.
Athena was a little unsure at first, but eventually realized this was just another dog, and once she taught him that cats rule, he’d be okay. A few hisses and a growl made it quite clear. It was obvious that Tucker understood Athena, so he must have been told a thing or two by a cat in a previous encounter or two.
Dawn skedaddled up to the safety of the Underbed Cave in our room, where she would emerge every few hours or so to register a Complaint with The Management about unsavory guests and rude behavior. But she did come downstairs for Dinner. Grudgingly, but it was Dinner.
Today, only a few days after Tucker entered our lives, he is entirely part of our family. The pictures tell the story.
Jasper posing with his new little brother.
Tucker and big sister Lilah.
Jasper, Tucker and Lilah.
Sharing a drink and maybe a little news at the water bowl.
On the lookout for squirrels.
Athena inspecting the troops, and calculating a landing spot.
Lilah and Tucker playing.
Tucker sleepin' with his big brother.
Tucker is ready for adventure--and love--in his new family.