About a month ago, I adopted a second dog.
I actually hadn’t planned to adopt another dog until winter of this year at the earliest. I had recently been accepted to an integrated biology graduate program in Texas, eighteen hours away from my current home in Athens, Georgia, and I was keenly aware that moving was going to be an issue, as was the stress of settling into graduate school. I had only just graduated with my bachelor’s degree. I was going to do the smart thing and wait to look for the dog of my dreams until I was firmly settled into my new city and my new life.
I was also very firm about the exact type of dog I wanted. I wanted a dog as close to 30 pounds as possible, since I live in apartments and 35 pounds is the most common size limit. (It’s also the same size as Oliver, my Barker, is.) I wanted an adult dog with medium to low play drive, who would not drive my wussy, spineless Barker up the wall with repeated demands to play. I wanted a dog who was athletic enough to do dog sports, especially agility, but who wasn’t hugely high-energy either; the whole point of getting the second dog was as an agility prospect. I had reluctantly given up on the Barker as a prospect some months before for a number of reasons, chiefly his history of knee problems and utter physical unsuitability for anything involving jumping.
I also wanted a dog who had a short, close, easy-to-maintain coat, after spending hours trying to keep Oliver’s unruly, linty mess of a coat free of burrs and mulch. I wanted a dog utterly free from any trace of reactivity, a dog who wouldn’t require the utter focus Oliver sometimes demands on walks. I wanted a snuggly dog, a dog who reveled in cuddling; I wanted a female dog, and I wanted my dog to be intelligent and human-oriented.
In short, I had a long and detailed laundry list I wanted out of my next dog. I figured it would take months to find what I was looking for once I started searching. Dogs fitting that very specific description don’t fall out of the sky!
Except sometimes, apparently, they do. One day I glanced at my local Animal Control’s site and noticed this face–and more importantly, the attached description. Here was a dog who met every single one of my requirements! I sighed, dreamt about it for a bit, and then moved on. This Animal Control does an excellent job getting its dogs adopted or out to local rescues before they have to be euthanized despite the fact that strays only get a five-day grace period, so I figured someone else would take her and she’d be fine.
Then she showed up on the “urgent” list with no applications on her at all. Turns out the person who called Animal Control was very unclear about whether she had bitten someone (or possibly bitten someone), so they quarantined her for ten days just to be safe… and didn’t let the volunteers who help out at the shelter and run the website advertise her.
I thought, “what the hell. I’ll go take a look at her and see if she might work.”
I remember my first impression of her, wiggling and trying to climb out of her kennel, and dismayedly thinking “Oh, she’s ugly.” She is noticeably more bug-eyed than her adoption photo suggested, for one thing. But her face aside, her body was a lovely lightly muscled type and screamed potential athleticism–while the dog herself, after nearly two weeks in a small kennel run, was happy to stretch quietly at my feet. She didn’t react to being walked near screaming dogs, came when chirped at, and generally demonstrated everything I wanted to see in her temperament.
Reader, I adopted her.
Welcome home, miss Brindle.