I know a guy who says that when his first wife left him, she first handed him a border collie puppy. "I know you don't like to be alone," she said.
That is sort of how I acquired my first dog, Toby. My then-boyfriend gave him to me one January, perhaps thinking that the little golden furball would keep me busy, allowing the boyfriend to do the things he wanted to do without interference--which, I am quite certain, involved other girlfriends. (I was never able to verify this, despite intense surveillance and reconnaissance, but a girl knows what a girl knows.)
Still, my friend adored his border collie, and you all know that Toby became the dog of my heart. Once we have them, their origins no longer matter very much. The stories, though, are fun to tell.
My sister-in-law had a little red-gold Finnish Spitz who died last year. You all know how sad that is, and how hard it is to figure out when to get another dog; you just have to wait until the grieving ebbs and the desire begins: that junction, I think, is the right moment but is hard to predict. But it started creeping up on her.
A few months ago, she started looking at Petfinder. Sort of idly, not sure she wanted another dog quite so soon. Then it graduated to going in person to shelter days at petstores. Sometimes she'd see a dog she'd think she could love, but she would go home to think about it, and then the dog would be adopted by someone else.
Last Saturday, she and I talked on the phone. Her perfect dog, she said, would be smallish, so that she can easily pick it up. It would not be a puppy, but it would be young. And it would be female.
And then, lo and behold, later that day, I saw on Facebook that a small, young female dog was available from a shelter about two hours away. She had been hanging out in a bookstore, and the bookstore people loved her but could not keep her. She was 10 months old, or thereabouts, she has been spayed and housebroken, and--as if this could be even more perfect--she's part Finnish Spitz.
Laurie springs into action. A dogless person must have a dog! A personless dog must have a person!
I posted the pictures of Patches on my sister-in-law's Facebook page. And then, a few minutes later, panicking, realizing that she is not all that much of a Facebook addict, I sent her an e-mail with a link.
And then I waited.
On Monday night, I got an email. "Patches has a new home," she wrote, and my heart sank. Damn! Once again, someone swooped in and adopted the perfect dog! But wait--what's this? The message continued: "...much to my cat's disgust. It's going to be a long night."
At last report, things were going OK. Patches is quiet, doesn't bark (so could she really be part Finnish Spitz?), and well-behaved, though she has destroyed a couple of shoes, a pair of sunglasses, and one roll of toilet paper. We're going to meet her on Saturday. Boscoe and Riley have no idea what they're in for.