I've been a bit distracted. You may have witnessed this on Twitter or Instagram.
It all started when a dog called Zeus popped up in my Twitter feed, an elderly Staffie looking for a home. For a while I've harboured a desire to foster or adopt an elderly dog - a Staffie because I love their vibe (I am now a person who uses the word 'vibe' without irony and I seem to be okay with that) and because there are just so damn many of them needing a home. I made some half-joking reference to it in a tweet and surprisingly, Charlie said,'Go for it'.
I say 'surprisingly' because while he is very fond of Zoey and Dooley, he's not an obsessive dog person like me. If he lived alone he would not have a dog. But he loves that I love dogs and, lucky woman that I am, he loves me. It is entirely mutual.
Zeus already had a home waiting for him but by then I'd been given the green light and I was 'on the trail'. It's a tricky business finding the right dog and even trickier when there are others already present. As ever, the four-leggeds were here to revisit an old lesson with me.
When I was contacted by someone who lives near us to say she was looking for a home for her elderly Staffie X, Evie and I went to meet him - sans our dogs - right away. He was (is) half Whippet and reminded me of my old girl Nell. He was gorgeous, sweet and in dire need of a new home.
We decided we'd get the dogs together a couple of days later, shook hands and paws and Evie and I drove home. She was excited and so was I but I said to her,'The annoying thing is...I've got a bad feeling. My intuition is saying no.' Her reply was,'Oh MUM you're just worrying, he's lovely, it'll be fine, I love him!' and I showed my intuition the palm of my hand. I bought ID discs. I bought a new bowl. I planned.
Wrong, wrong, a thousand times wrong.
It didn't work out. The (genuinely lovely) dog concerned hated Dooley on sight and just kept trying to get him to fight. Doo doesn't fight. Nor would I ever expect him (or his wannabe attacker) to live with that. We quickly parted ways.
I've done this before with four-leggeds and two-leggeds. Over-ridden my intuition even when it was flat out yelling at me, because its argument seemed illogical
So...despite the fact that he is not old and doddery, I kept returning to pictures of a little Staffie in rescue in South Wales. I decided to let my intuition lead and his foster carer offered to let us come and meet him - with our dogs - on Saturday. We went, we saw, we melted. This little boy has great body language, very fluent, and my years of experience mean that I can read a little of it. I asked for some time to think things over. I didn't need it but after recent events I wanted to be sure I was listening to the right voices. Over the hour long drive home Evie and I chatted, Zoey snored and Dooley howled (he feels about cars the way I feel about roller coasters). I tuned into my intuition and helpers and asked for an opinion. Instead of words I got a picture of this currently scrappy, skinny, hyper little dog who has a big bald patch on his back (I think his previous owners, who let him run stray and never claimed him, had him wear a harness and it rubbed away his fur) in two months time. Snoring on the sofa curled up with Zoey, a few pounds heavier, fur grown back, relaxed and happy. Home.
I parked up the car, rang the foster carer and said yes please. Fortunately, he was happy to recommend us and so we're in the admin stage. A dear friend (and tireless rescue worker herself) has provided a reference for us that made me a bit weepy when I read it. We will need to be home-checked. If all goes well then I hope to go and get our new boy on Wednesday evening.
My surface anxiety over the bit where the dogs are indoors together is firmly intact. I can use that to be sensible, cautious and supportive of them as they adjust. Zoey and Dooley are wonderful beings with peaceful personalities, especially Doo, so I know they will help the new boy settle in. Most importantly, my inner voice is calm and confident which means that I will be too. Dogs like that. Dogs need that.
P.S. If this all bites me on the arse faster than a speeding Jack Russell feel free to laugh : ) But it won't.