The puppy pick up did not start out so well from our end. Friday morning, my oldest son reported that the Honda was making a weird sound. What kind of sound? A “not good” flopping sound. Flat tire? No. So I took it out for a spin and hadn’t gone a mile before I was seriously worried I wouldn’t make it home again. But I did.
Because there was no flat tire and no flames coming from the engine, I could only assume this was a problem I could not handle, so I parked it to await my husband’s return from his business trip later that day. As fate would have it (or maybe it had more to do with the fact that it’s a holiday weekend) his plane was delayed. He would not arrive home before I needed to leave for the transport (this is rescue lingo for the hand off of foster dogs to foster people).
The Pilot is our only car large enough to hold the dog crate. Wheat Penny looked small in the pictures, but I wasn’t convinced she would fit in our cat carrier and didn’t really want to jam her into it after her long ride up from South Carolina. Instead I recruited my teenage daughter Addie to come with me for the pick-up. She could hold Wheat Penny on her lap for the ride home.
This seemed like a grand plan at the time. Addie was enthusiastic about the adventure. We’re picking up a puppy late at night in the parking lot of a bowling alley? She donned all black clothing for the trip and planned to snapchat (what?) the entire thing.
When we arrived at the parking lot and I told her we had to wait for an unmarked white van to pull in, she grinned and said, “Seriously?”
It was about 60 degrees warmer for this transport than the last, but the scene was much the same. Friendly strangers gathering around an SUV with its back open where more friendly strangers handed out dog food, treats, toys, and towels. At some point, I should probably introduce myself to a few of these folks, but the anonymity makes the whole scene even more surreal. Guess I don’t look like a puppy strangler.
When the van doors opened, Wheat Penny’s joyful little face was the first I saw and the driver quickly unloaded her for me. She didn’t have a collar, just a tape like the ones you get at a festival or bar that prove you’re old enough to drink, the kind that are difficult to rip off and I end up wearing to bed unless I can find scissors to remove them. I put on the collar I’d brought (that could have circled her tiny neck twice) and carried her to the car. She was a squirming bundle of happiness, attempting to leap out of my arms towards every person we passed as we made our way across the dark parking lot. Addie took pictures and narrated our progress to snapchat land. (I wish I had access to her pictures and narration, but she assures me they are all gone now which is the point of snap chat which, as an author, seems pointless to me.)
I “settled” her (as much as is possible for a seven month old puppy who has just been released from an entire day spent in a small crate) on Addie’s lap where she continued to squirm and/or lick Addie’s face for the entire 30 minute drive home. Addie was no longer snap chatting or even enjoying this adventure in the slightest. I might even wager to say she will never accompany me on a puppy transport again. But let’s leave it at that.
Wheat Penny is ridiculously cute. She’s the puppy you see on the greeting cards. She’s not the least bit hound-like, she more closely resembles a miniature Golden Retriever, if there is such a breed. She’s loose hipped happy, with four white socks, a soft golden coat, and expressive ears (seriously, they say so much).
She is not so interested in scents or cats or even Gracie, what she is primarily interested in is PEOPLE and FOOD (in that order). She loves, loves, oh-my-goodness, loves every single person she encounters. I’m not sure there’s a friendlier soul in the universe. She is enthusiastic about everyone who enters her quarantine space (which quickly expanded from the guest bathroom to the kitchen).
If she had to pick a favorite person in this household, for some reason, she has chosen my husband Nick. Which makes no sense to me at all since his was not the face that rescued her from the van of hell where she’d spent ten hours in a small crate with a dozen other much larger crates full of much larger dogs barking nonstop. He is also not the one who sat up with her at midnight in the strange little bathroom playing fetch with a tennis ball in an eight foot space for a good 20 minutes to dispel the pent up energy from the long ride. And he is not the one who feeds her three complicated meals a day or has already taught her to sit for treats. Plus, he’s the first person to grumble when she misses the puppy pad. Still, she lights up just a tiny bit more when he’s around and follows him with her feet or eyes if possible.
Maybe it’s a testament to her generous and indiscriminating heart that she has selected him as her “person.” I take no offense, I’m not sure my heart can stand losing another puppy-love just yet anyway.