dogs, family

Arran’s first family…

Next week at this time, if all goes well, we will have a new family member to welcome. As I write this, our new dog’s rescuer is in Kosovo, getting several dogs bound for Germany vet checked. Next weekend, we plan to drive to Slovenia to pick up Noizy. He’s a big boy… bigger than any other dog we’ve had so far. I am a little apprehensive about how Arran will react to him, and how Noizy will adapt to us. But not counting the unfortunate dog that we failed to adopt in the spring, he will be our sixth rescue, and the only one who isn’t a beagle mix of some kind.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned this before, but our dog, Arran, was adopted once before we took him from Triangle Beagle Rescue out of North Carolina, which was where we lived when he joined the family in January 2013. Arran’s predecessor, MacGregor, had died a week before Christmas in 2012. We usually get new dogs soon after losing one. This past year with just Arran in the house is unusual for us.

Until a couple of days ago, I knew very little about the people who had taken Arran before we did. We were told that his first family lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. They were a couple, and the female half was an attorney. They kept him for about nine months before they returned him to the rescue. Apparently, his separation anxiety was more than they could handle. Or, at least I think that was what we were told. We were also told that they called him Marley.

Arran and Zane got along pretty well. They were about the same size and close in age. Both liked to play. Since I stay home most of the time, we never had any really serious problems with Arran and separation anxiety. In fact, I’d say he’s probably been one of the easiest dogs we’ve had yet. Zane was also pretty easy, once we got him housebroken and he quit chewing everything up. Zane was a year old when we got him, while Arran was about four.

The day Arran and Zane met. As you can see, the tails were going fast and furious!
Zane and Arran the day of the adoption.

Anyway, I happened to run across a blog post written by the guy who was fostering Arran, at that time called CD, when the first couple took him. He included a picture of the couple, along with their first names. They’d also had a female beagle named Sydney. From that post, it wasn’t hard at all to find the couple all over the Internet. They are quite different than Bill and I are.

I would guess that the couple is quite a bit younger than we are. When they adopted Arran, they weren’t married, but I soon found a wedding site for them from 2015. The photographer mentioned that their dog was involved with the wedding, too. I’m assuming that was Sydney.

They are Black, and very attractive. Indeed, the wife is a lawyer, while I’m not sure what the husband does. She’s very active in her community and does African dance. He looks like he’s a lot of fun. I found many photos of them dressed up as if they were going to costume parties.

I got the sense that this couple isn’t home much, mainly because they appeared to be busy. I also found out that last year, the wife had a daughter. I guess I can see why Arran didn’t work out for them. He’s probably a little too needy.

I look at Arran and see how much he likes to snuggle with us, especially Bill. I see how even at his now advanced age, he occasionally has accidents in the house. For example, this morning, he left us a nice pile in the living room. Sometimes, I still find wet spots on one of my favorite rugs, although he’s gotten much better in the past year. I know how he vocalizes when I pet him in certain areas, sounding like he’s having an orgasm. He’s not been as noisy since we lost Zane. Zane would often get him riled up. But he’s not totally quiet, either. He also has a little bit of a temper, although he’s generally very sweet, lovable, and agreeable.

People often criticize folks who rehome their pets. In fact, I remember the couple who fostered Arran when we took him (different than the guy who blogged) were kind of disgusted with Arran’s original family. They kept him for nine months and the decision to bring him back to the rescue probably was traumatic for him. He has always been a very sensitive dog who needs reassurance that he’s secure. But when I see how much Arran adores us both, especially Bill, and how happy he is now, I realize that the decision to surrender Arran was probably one of kindness. I also appreciate that they were good enough to bring him back to the rescue, as they agreed when they adopted him, rather than giving him to someone else, ditching him at a shelter, or turning him loose in the woods.

I was also kind of surprised by how easy it was to find these folks, just based on a photo, first names, and a city location. I know a lot more about them than I probably should… but then, I guess people know a lot more about me than they should, too.

I’m so glad we have Arran. I hope he and his new brother will get along. It’ll be a big adjustment, especially since the new dog is a big boy, quite young, and will have to be trained. But at least it’ll give me something constructive to do as COVID-19 ramps up again in Europe. Hopefully, he and Arran will get along and Arran can teach him a few tricks.

I still really miss Zane, but I don’t miss seeing him sick. I like to think the dogs who have gone to the Rainbow Bridge inspire the next ones who come into our lives. Maybe that seems a little ridiculous, but I like to imagine it. There were many days when Zane reminded me so much of his predecessor, Flea, who was probably the only purebred beagle we’ve had.

A new era is about to begin. I wish I’d brought that rug to Germany.


We’re approved, but we can’t travel…

Last night, we got the green light to adopt a new dog who was just recently moved to Germany from Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy. He’s being called Jonny right now, but we’re not going to keep that name because it’s too close to mine. Right now, he’s in Hamburg, which is several hours from where we live. The adoption coordinator agreed that it would be best if we could get him ASAP because travel restrictions are becoming more stringent all over Europe. Every day, policies are changing.

Last night, we thought maybe we could drive up and back to Hamburg in one day, since hotels and restaurants are closed and/or aren’t allowing people to stay unless they are on business. We would be in the car for about 95 percent of the journey, and it’s not like we’d be doing anything more than taking the dog. There wasn’t going to be any close contact with anyone. It would have been a lot of driving, but we’ve done it before. The lady who has Jonny doesn’t have a car, so she can’t meet us.

Bill went into work this morning and learned that twelve people in his workplace have tested positive for coronavirus, including two contractors. Neither of the contractors were people who work with Bill. So now, everyone on the installation has been ordered not to travel, except in extreme situations or to pick up food, medicine, or fuel.

Hopefully, Jonny’s foster mom can either hang onto him until we can travel again, or someone can bring him down to us. This coronavirus shit is really a bummer, but I still stand by yesterday’s rant. It’s better not to take the risk. Besides, I’d really rather do this in a civilized way that doesn’t involve ten to twelve hours of driving. It’s still really disappointing. Now would be a great time to bring a dog into the family. Both Bill and I will be home with plenty of time on our hands.

I can hardly wait to meet Jonny. He’s adorable. I wish we could have arranged this last week… On the other hand, March has been extraordinary. Bill finally got to see his daughter after fifteen years and he met his grandchildren. So there is that… and we’ll get our new family member soon enough.

And he looks so much like our dog, MacGregor, whom we lost in 2012 to a spinal tumor. They could be brothers.

MacGregor had that same look…

With love…

Bill is teleworking today, thanks to the coronavirus. I’m glad to have him home, especially since he’s been traveling so much lately. On the other hand, my thoughts are with some of my friends who have lost their jobs– hopefully temporarily– as businesses are forced to shut down due to the virus. I remember the days when my livelihood depended on dealing with the public. I didn’t necessarily love the work, but it paid the bills. I wonder if Americans are prepared for what’s about to happen.

We had our doggy interview yesterday. A very tall and friendly German lady came over to talk to us about adopting a new canine family member. She immediately endeared herself to Arran, who was loving all over her. I was gratified to hear that she could tell Arran was in a good home because he was very relaxed. I always enjoy watching Arran interacting with people. He does the oxytocin stare very well. It’s his way of bonding with people, probably because before we adopted him, he got passed around a couple of times. I have always sensed that he never quite got over that. He’s a very sensitive and emotional dog, and I think his feelings were hurt when he was rejected. Fortunately, he will never be rejected again. He’s with us to stay.

Hopefully, we’ll soon have a new dog in our midst, although European countries are becoming stricter about travel. The dog we’re looking at is currently in Hamburg, which is some distance away. But at least we passed the interview, which was probably the biggest hurdle. The lady told us she’d have no trouble recommending us to the rescue. As for the dog we’re looking at, he’s lost some weight and apparently loves children. We don’t have children, but there is a school just down the block from us, and our landlord, who is also our next door neighbor, has grandsons who visit often.

I sent Bill’s daughter a thank you e-card for thinking of me. It was picked up about four minutes after it was delivered to her inbox. This was what I wrote:

Your dad’s Aunt Betsy used to send me these cards before she passed. She was a very creative lady. I never got to meet her in person, but I always loved these greetings, and the times I got to talk to her on the phone.

Thank you so much for seeing Bill last week and for sending me your very kind and thoughtful note. I have been hearing Bill’s stories all week about how great it was to see you and Steven and meet his grandchildren. I’m so glad you had such a good visit. You have so much to catch up on.

It’s been easy for me to be good to Bill, because he really is one of the best people I know. And I can see that you are very much his daughter. Bill gave me a thank you note after our first date in May 2001, and ever since then, he has been the king of sweet cards, thoughtful emails, and loving gestures. In fact, Facebook tells me that a year ago today, Bill sent me flowers because he was TDY and knew I was sad because I was home alone. It’s nice to know you are representing the next generation so well.

I’m so happy you were able to reconnect. Your family is beautiful. Thank you again for thinking of me. Stay safe during the coronavirus crisis! 

I never thought I’d ever write such a note to Bill’s daughter. For years, I’ve been angry with her. I hope I can write many more nice notes to her. I don’t enjoy being angry with people.

Overall, we had a good weekend. The weather is getting nicer. In fact, we even broke out the robotic lawnmower yesterday. It’s so quiet that we can use it on Sundays and not piss off the neighbors. I may do some weed whacking later, just so the lawn looks better.

I don’t know when we’ll know about the new dog. The coronavirus has really put things in a strange way. I’ve never experienced anything like this before… it’s definitely weird to see countries locking down over a virus. However, I think it’s for the best that they control the spread of the coronavirus, because it is killing a lot of people. I just hope the economy survives, and people like my friend, who just lost his job, are able to adapt and survive without lingering financial damage.

I’m just glad we’re not on a cruise ship, like we were four years ago (during which I got norovirus AND my period). I just read about several ships stranded with their passengers in isolation because of the coronavirus. It would really suck to be stuck on a ship right now. On the other hand, I guess this situation is a good reminder as to why it’s best to try to spring for the better stateroom. At least one with a window…

Hope all is well where you are. Batten down the hatches, folks!