Saturday, August 20, 2016

Jules: Adopting a dog's life.

Ah, a post 10 months in coming.

It's been around 10 months since I visited the local Humane Society, looking at dogs in need of homes, when I finally found that one. The one you make eye contact with and know you need to go home together.

"You're narrating my life again, aren't you?"

Before that day I had spent months visiting on and off, trying to find a good fit. Not too small, but not too big, so I wouldn't have future issue renting an apartment. A dog that didn't need a lot of space, or a lot of runs. A dog that can take being on it's own for chunks of the day, without out tearing the place a part.

There were some good matches in that time. Some a little small, but sooo cute. Some a bit big, and so loving. There were a number of sweet pit bull terriers just waiting for homes. You want to hug and adopt them all. (It's a bit of a hell seeing all the tweets that come through my feed with dogs in need of adoption.You just want to help them.) So it was close a number of times.

Then I visited one night, just before closing. And the place was rather quiet. I was looking for a particular dog I'd seen earlier on that was a potential. Sadly, it was already adopted. But there was a new little fellow in. Long straggly hair. Sitting quietly and working the eye contact like a master.

I did talk to him for a few minutes, and he was friendly and very quiet. I stepped out of the room, and looked in another for a moment. When I went back in the hall, I heard this loud anxious barking. And I wasn't sure what it was, thinking it another dog in the same room with Mr. Quiet getting vocal. Stepping into the room, I saw it was him, he was standing on his hind legs, his face against the gate door, looking at the hall. He was pissed off that I'd left him.

I was smitten. But it was late, and the facility didn't allow any adoptions that would be last minute and rushed. You need to sit with the dog, interact, and then talk with the people there to be sure you were serious and ready. So I needed to leave and come back the next day.

At this point it had been a very long time since I had last owned a dog. Mid 90's. So, yes, some of you weren't even alive at the time. I was far younger, and looking back feel like I wasn't there for my Pomeranian/Maltese little fellow. Granted that is partly the failing of memory, sometimes becoming too focused on either the positive or the negative. He had a good long life. But since he'd died, I was always had this fear and doubt about owning another dog. Going through losing another little friend.

But dogs are hard to resist. And there are a lot of dogs out there that need help. They need homes and people who will love them.

So I was back the next day. The person I was going with was a bit late. I had wanted to be there when they opened, and we ended up their after noon instead. Luckily, he was still there. He'd been in back for a chunk of the morning. He'd just gotten in the day before, so he hadn't gotten a full bath and haircut to make him presentable and lovable for people coming through. Like he needs it.

So when I did get to his cage, I will admit I was a little confused. I thought for a few minutes that he was adopted. I thought a new dog was in his spot, or had been put in the wrong kennel accidentally.

You can see he did look a bit different.

It was a shift. Part of what did catch my attention the night before was his long hair, as it reminded me strikingly of my long departed dog of the 90's. But now he was a shone and skinny troublemaker. He was also just as lovable.

It is the thing about most of the dog's you find at facilities for dogs. They are eager to engage and connect. Ready to build a new family.

So I got to know him, he was named Julio by the Humane Society. He had been picked up, living on the streets with a Labrador. No id's, tags, or chips. They estimated he was around 6 years old (The vet later would suggest it was closer to 8.) He also had dental issues. He'd already lost a number of teeth, presumably to life out in the open with no home. And he had some trouble teeth at the front that would need checking (They would end up having to go as well.). Still, he was sweet and open to strangers. Ready to check out every scent on a walk, but eventually up to snuggle.

It was determined that he was a Lhasa Apso mix. With what? I have no idea. Based on google pictures he seems a bit different from some of the pure breeds. But I've met a few people who insist that they had Apso's when they were young and he looks just like them. So, I don't know.

Personality wise, Lhasa Apso's are supposed to be standoffish with strangers, not big walkers, able to stay at home at length alone, and love attention. He loves strangers (particularly walkers and joggers), he really loves long walks (He gets tired, but tries to hide it.), but h is okay on his own, but will make a big deal about a homecoming. He is desperate to reconnect when you've been gone a long time, like 15 minutes.

The Humane Society gave him a fine name with Julio, and I didn't mind using it. But...this dog wasn't married to the name as he'd just received it. Also, it is nice to give dog's a fitting name. Something easy to remember. Something short so it can be said easily. Something you'll be happy to say quietly while a dog naps, or bellow across a dog park. So Julio was shifted to Jules. A nice name, that makes me think of Jules Verne.

It's also a little bit of a prim and proper sounding name. So it gives me an excuse to make up silly middle names. Like, Jules Percival Sinclair Salazar the Third. What? I need this!

So the adoption process was completed, and Jules had a new family and home. We went out to stretch our legs at a soccer field. He had his nose to the window looking at the trees, streets, and cars. It was cute to watch his excitement. (It isn't always as cute now, as he is only more excited by everything everywhere now.)

"So just to be sure here...We aren't going back to that kennel, right?"

Jules excitedly ran around: sniffing, peeing, and rolling in the grass.

When Jules got his fill of grass, we had to pick up some necessities for the next few days. Food. Bowls. Bed. The stuff to be comfy.

Toys? Nah. He was not taking to toys. Though when you have a mouth of sore and bad teeth, I could understand.

Also, he can't sit in a cart at a store. No. The moment he sees anything of interest, he just leaps. No real warning. Just we yipping in surprise and fear. He will not be deterred from his smelling duties.

He then got to look around the house to see what he thought. He was nervous at the door, watching for signals. Then he gingerly went through, sniffing. Jules walked quickly to some of the rooms we left open for him to access. He then just came back over and sat down.

Jules must have been thinking, "What's next?"

What indeed. A new life. New changes. New experiences. A new world.

But that is a story for another day. Someone needs to get some sleep.

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