When Beverly was adopted recently by her family, Steve and I urged them to call us any time they needed a dog sitter. We were delighted to be asked to host Beverly over the New Year’s weekend, when they had a short trip planned up to Northern California.
She thus arrived last Friday morning, and she stayed until last night. We were charmed by how instantly she settled back into the routines of our house.
She was eager to go for morning walks and to snuggle with Steve while I ran into my favorite coffee shop to grab a cup. Her recent training by Stephanie up at CCI was evident, as she followed commands more perfectly than ever.
On Saturday afternoon, while Steve and I went on a long walk on the beach, she got to play at the home of Truckee, the new pup being raised by our friends and neighbors the Stuarts.
At our place, she took obvious pleasure in sunbathing, both outdoors and in.
And she usually grabbed more than her share of Tucker’s beds.
We were tickled to see that she still did pirouettes every time we were serving up the dog chow. Yet, for as content as she appeared to be here, last night, when her new family arrived to collect her, she danced with excitement, nuzzled up to them, and trotted off to their car, tail wagging. She didn’t look back.
We’re missing her this morning, but we’re also savoring our last week of relative calm before the arrival of Beverly’s half-brother, Adagio. That adventure begins one week from today.
No sooner did I write my blog post yesterday, reporting on the drama that had enveloped Beverly, than I received a message from Stephanie, the CCI trainer who fell head over heels in love with Beverly and had offered to adopt her. Stephanie sounded both broken-hearted and devastated. She’d been talking to a couple of vets and another puppy-raiser who was living with a dog with kidney disease. As much as it obviously hurt, Stephanie had concluded that the expenses associated with caring for a dog in such circumstances — dog food that costs $115 for a 25-pound bag, frequent blood tests and vet visits — were probably beyond her means. “I really was hoping it would work, but I also promised Beverly that I would make her well-being my top priority,” she wrote me.
I called her, and we cried together a little over the sadness of the situation. I don’t know Stephanie, but the hugeness of her heart is obvious. She said another good solution might be available. She knew a vet who had fostered dogs for CCI and had indicated some interest in adopting a release dog. Stephanie had spoken to this woman, and she was very interested, but she needed to discuss it with her boyfriend, who was traveling. Still, Stephanie thought we should hear back soon, and both of us agreed that living with a loving veterinarian might be the best thing for Beverly.
We got the good new just an hour or so ago. As frosting on the cake, this veterinarian apparently practices with another one who is a kidney specialist. “So I truly believe Beverly couldn’t be in a better place!!” Stephanie messaged me. “They would like to take her and make sure she gets along in their family (which I don’t see there being a problem with that because Beverly is PERFECT!) I will be keeping Beverly with me until we find a date that works for them to pick her up.”
We’re eager to see if we might all meet, whenever the transfer takes place. If so, I will certainly report on it.
Years ago, I started blogging about puppy-raising because I wanted to try to capture and share some of this complex and engrossing activity. What a mixture it is. At times, months pass without much of anything happening. The dog has settled into our household, learned all the commands. Maybe we go on a field trip now and then. Then a patch like this comes along, where events are developing faster than I can keep up with them. That’s life, I know. I’m not complaining. Just marveling.
Counterbalancing the sad phone call Monday about Kyndall’s release from CCI service was the one I just got a few minutes ago from the veterinarian who operated on Tucker last Friday. She announced that his pathology report was back — and the growth that she removed appeared to be a type of soft-tissue sarcoma known as a spindle cell tumor, a cancer that probably originated from a nerve sheath. The excellent news was that the pathologist thought the surgery had removed all of it, and furthermore it appeared to be Grade 1 — a low-grade cancer that was very unlikely to metastasize. So Tucker stands a good chance of moving into his 12th year — and beyond!
Steve and I originally were drawn to puppy-raising after having to have one of our favorite dogs ever (Tootsie) euthanized. Wanting to avoid ever going through that heart-wrenching experience again, we signed up as CCI puppy-raisers — and got Tucker. But when HE was released (for being too distractible), we couldn’t resist welcoming him back into our home as a family member.
Now that he’s almost 12, we know that a dark day eventually will be coming. But it’s wonderful to learn this surgery bought him some more good time.
On the new-puppy front, Beverly continues to be an astonishingly devoted sleeper (except at night, when she still needs one brief toileting excursion).
And on the recent release-dog front, Kyndall is recuperating up in Oceanside from being spayed. We should learn more on Friday about her next move.
Tucker introduced us to the world of puppy-raising. We picked him up from the Southwest Regional headquarters of Canine Companions for Independence on January 25, 2005, and life haven’t been the same ever since.
We had such high hopes for Darby. She was smart, attentive, and eager to please. So why did she start acting fearful and barking in her kennel during Advanced Training? If she wanted to be released, she succeeded.
Of the 9 puppies (CCI and non-) that Steve and I have raised, Dionne was the most mischievous and creative. While those traits can be highly entertaining, they’re not great for a Canine Companion. She was released in September of 2014 and now lives with a wonderful couple in northern California.