Journey to Gurty -- (dog stories part 2)
A few weeks after our dog Izzy died, I started compulsively trolling the local shelter sites, you know, just to see what's out there --all the while telling myself I don't want another dog, I'm just looking at cute puppies just because they're cute -- looking at puppies makes me smile, but I'm just looking.
I knew I was playing with fire so I started laying down some rules about not being swayed by cuteness alone. Rule number one was that I was not to believe a word I said to myself if what I was saying involved me and the idea that I was good enough with dogs to rehabilitate a problem dog. I was to take the dog at face value and know that if a dog is a furniture eating, house crapping in, kind of dog -- I was not to attempt to retrain it.
I offered the situation to God. I mentioned that I was over my need to save the worlds rejects and would really enjoy a problem free animal, thanks. I've had several special needs pets -- and while I loved every one -- I didn't want the extra work. Izzy was a great dog and I'd take her again if I could, but her deal was that she had no inner reproductive organs. It's true, when we took her in to get fixed, she was empty.
Weird, you say, but so what --what's the big deal about a dog with no uterus? The big deal is, if there is no uterus, what's up with the vagina? Well, her vagina was connected to her bladder and it had it's own sphincter muscle to keep pee from pouring out, but sometimes it did leak a little anyway. Features like that I could live without.
We looked at a few shelter dogs and pups. This one dog, Truman, was a sweet and adorable pug mix, but he had been raised on a front porch of an irresponsible breeder and was fairly freaked out by people -- he never would have made it in a house with children. I didn't want a pug, but Truman convinced me that pug mixes might be worth looking in to.
I looked into breeders and read over and over how anything that isn't a pure breed and raised by the hands of angels, is considered a puppy-mill dog. If you didn't want an angel raised dog, you were going to have to deal with the devil and buy yourself a dog that was guaranteed to be riddled with life long health problems.
If I insisted on a mixed dog, I could go to the shelter where they are over run with healthy mixed dogs just waiting for a home. I wouldn't have to pay the devil money for a shit dog, when I could get the same kind of mixed dog for much cheaper from a shelter. It ticked me off that the pure bread zealots wanted to deny me the right to find a good breeder and a shot at knowing a breeding and health history of a dog. If I wanted a certain type of mixed breed, I could wait until someone hands over their problem dog or until an irresponsible breeder gets their dogs taken away, then I can have one of those, but don't go buying one from some 4-H, forever farm guy with twenty-five years of animal husbandry experience and all kinds of health guarantees on his animals -- no -- he's the devil.
While I agree that there are a lot of icky people breeding pups the wrong way, I think the purists make it harder to find responsible people by lumping all non pure-breed breeders into the devil category.
I wanted to do the right thing and help an animal if I could, but I also wanted an animal I would like at the same time. A dog who had been bread by a responsible mixed breeder would be nice for the health assurance, but I remained open to a shelter dog. I found a decent sounding kennel and Rich and I were going to go check out if it looked as good in real life as it did on the internet. On a whim, I ran the situation by my dead dog Izzy.
I telepathed out, "I don't know what happens to dogs when they die, but if you are around, Iz, you know this family and if you want to put in a word for one of your kind who needs us and would be a good match -- well, let us know."
The next day when I did my daily shelter check, the shelter which was in the same area as the breeder we were traveling to had four new puppies listed and they were of the same type we were considering from the breeder.
We made the call and of the four puppies, there was an obvious choice in looks and personality. No, "just looking" that day -- it was love at first sight. We filled out the papers and headed home with our new, tiny, pup. When we turned onto the road toward home I looked up from the pup in my lap and there in the sky was a strip of rainbow.
Even though I mock the rainbow bridge, I thought that was pretty cool. Even cooler was two days later when I was alone with Gurty for the first time -- I sat down in my chair, Gurty curled up in my lap, I turned on the TV and what do you think was on?
That's right -- Brian's Song.