Thursday, May 29, 2008

Introducing Claire (pt 1)

Anyone who has read my blog has probably determined (from all 10 or so of my posts) that I am obsessed with Yorkshire Terriers. I've wanted one for at least 20 years. But limited finances and the farm kid in me can't pay $900 for a dog. Especially a dog that doesn't herd cattle, guard my door or do my dishes and cook for me. The first Yorkie I ever experienced was way back in the day when I was a supervisor for America West Airlines. At that time, AWA did not allow onboard pets, kenneled or not. A young woman (old teen? 19? 20 tops?) had smuggled a teeny tiny 6 week old Yorkie pup onboard in her pocket from El Paso. It was a red-eye going from ELP to ABQ to LAS and there she was changing plance and ending up in Portland. She smuggled it in her pocket. We're talking about a 20 oz. puppy here. And the flight attendant caught her. My thoughts were that since she was already enroute, to let her go ahead and take it...it was SO little...no one would ever have known the difference. But Bambi, the FA (Bambi reference included here for the benefit of Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee) was rather a snoot and wouldn't let her take the puppy with her. So I brought her home with me for the weekend until we could arrange to ship her in a kennel to PDX. She was so tiny that when we put her in the front yard in our grass it came up to her chin. Adorable. In love with her. And I had to give her back. Hard to put a tiny little puppy like that in the belly of a 737...

Fast forward 15 years. Ted's sister got a Yorkie named Ta-Ta. She was one of the smartest little dogs I've ever seen. And totally cute. Becky is the mom to rowdy boys like mine. Do any of y'all have multitudes of teen boys? If you do, you know how funny scatological humor is. Most especially humor centered around flatulence. My nephews would make fart noises when Ta-Ta was sitting with them or in their laps. She would become so incensed, she would snort, sneeze, and roll around on the floor like she'd been sprayed by a skunk. It never failed to make me laugh until I cried. She weighed in at about 3.5 lbs. Ta-Ta was taken from Becky's back yard by a hawk. It was a very sad day...

So on Tuesday I was trolling all the local classifieds, all the Pet Harbor sites looking for Yorkies, or Yorkie-crosses. I have a confession: I've been doing this every day (or nearly every day) for about a year. Low and behold, I found a photo of a little Silky Terrier. Now Silkies are a little big bigger than Yorkies.. Whereas a Yorkie has a more "square" body, Silkies are more elongated (semi-weenie dog shaped). She looked absolutely terrified. And had become available on May 26. I couldn't figure out why she was still there, and then I remembered Memorial Day. And since Monday the city pound is usually closed, they were closed on Tuesday of this week, too. I called and they said she was an owner surrender on Monday. That because she was surrendered they put her up for adoption immediately. And also, because she was already available, that my best bet was to get there at 10:30 when the doors to the dogs opened and try to get her the next morning. They said that it was not possible to put a hold on her. I called my friend Tauni from church, who works at the city shelter and she filled me in. This dog, named Silky (real imaginative, huh?) was surrendered by her owner because she was too "aggressive and defiant." She is an AKC registered dog. Her owners had bought her and a male (she was born Christmas Day 2006) and bred them. She was so aggressive she sent the male to the hospital. They had to wean the pups early because she was too mean. She was trained to use a doggy door but would pee on the floor when she was mad, just to be defiant. Hmm...she had puppies in February, so she wasn't even a whole year old when they bred her. I think I'd be a little aggressive and defiant, too. I'm just saying. The owners had her spayed and when this didn't alter her behavior, they turned her into the shelter. These are $500-700 doggies people! Have they never heard of the Dog Whisperer?!? To make a long story short, Tauni told me the office opened at 9:30, but the kennel not until 10:30. Since she was surrendered and no one could hold her she said to get there just before 10:30 and she'd meet me with in the kennel. We knew there were going to be lots of people wanting her. I was so excited, I emailed Linda and asked her to pray for me...that if this was the right dog for me, that it would be clear as a whisper from God. Oh, how I wanted this dog. I slept very little that night, trying to think up cuter names than Silky. I couldn't stand to wait around yesterday morning, so I got to the pound around 9:45. Someone HAD A HOLD ON HER!!! They can't DO that! They AREN'T ALLOWED!!!!! I was MAD. But I stayed around and waited 'til the kennel opened. I was almost in tears when the lady told me there was a hold on her until noon. She said that the people had until then to come back and get her, but after that it was 1st come, 1st serve. I would have to pull a number and be put back on the list. Amy and Caleb were with me. I think they were scared to death I would embarrass them. There are 5 BIG (50 + animals each) dog pods at this pound. I had no idea which bldg she would be in. I walked right into the very building she was in. Tauni was in Silky's kennel, dog in hand. She whisked us out the door to the "adoption-bonding area," a little cinderblock gated patio area. We were given multitudes of dirty looks by other people holding on to printouts they had made from online wanting this same little dog. Tauni just said, "Follow me, this could get ugly. Lots of people want this dog." I told her what we'd been told by the office lady. Now, you have to know Tauni. She is a tiny little Native American thing, all of 5'1" and maybe 105 lbs soaking wet. But wiry. And she could probably bench press a tank. And she went on the warpath. She said, "Wait here." She marched up to the office and let the clerk have it. Then she went to the office manager, and finally to the director. She told them that sure, I was her friend, but she had told me the rules and what procedure I needed to follow to get this dog. And now, because I had followed the rules, I was being punished and not getting the dog. She came back with Silky's paperwork. It had a typed out memo her owner had written with a long list of laments about why this dog was such a pain. Silky was petrified. She climbed up into Caleb's lap and just shook. Wouldn't even look at me. We tried to play with her, but she just couldn't relax. Tauni went back to check on the progress at the office. The clerk was in the process of telling the family with the illegal hold on the dog that they didn't want her after all; she had major behavior problems. Now, I was in a dilemma. What should I do? Is this dog going to be a problem? But, because she is spayed (and the owners had it done on May 16--we're talking not quite 2 weeks ago...did they think it was going to magically change her behavior? But I digress), because she is spayed her adoption fee was only $32. I had to rescue this terrified dog. Even if it didn't work out, I would find a home for her. So, because Tauni is a Warrior Princess with much valor and a heart the size of all outdoors, Silky came home with us. We immediately rushed to PetsMart and got a red (of course it's red!!!) jewelled (of course it's jewelled) collar for her. In the 6 minute ride from the pound to the store, she began to relax. Her ears came up. She kissed Caleb. She stopped trembling. I bought her bacon treats. She loves me. And..... so....( drumroll here).....


p.s. Her name is Claire. More later....have to get ready for the Lost Season Finale Party......

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