Life continues here, although not much blogging. For the moment I'm feeling creatively fulfilled in other ways, with some client projects, one in particular. I've been documenting before and after with progress photos, as we change the style of a previously-ugly house. Our second container of stone just arrived from France and the scope of the project keeps growing. Needless to say, there are time demands. This has become the hobby, and passion, of this client. He's one of the nicest people I've worked with for a long time. He even forgave me not recognizing his Aston Martin, which he'd so proudly shown me. I did like the raspberry red leather interior, including dashboard. Usually, when he has an hour or two gap in his schedule, and calls to see if I can meet him, 98% of the time, I go running.
The 2% unavailable responses, were on two recent occasions when I was driving in the other direction to rescue our latest collie. Libby was brought into a shelter with another dog, a couple of weeks ago. The other dog was micro-chipped, the owner located and, although Libby had been living with them since he found her a few weeks previously, he took his dog home and left her behind.
Most shelters will call breed-specific rescue groups, if a recognizably purebred dog comes in. The breed rescues take on veterinary expenses and can spend some time evaluating dogs and people to come up with perfect matches so that dogs find wonderful forever homes. Many dogs adopted directly from shelters go to well-meaning people who have no idea of the commitment they are taking on, or specific characteristics inherent in different breeds. A significant number end up back at the pound six months later, with health or behavioral problems.
Libby had been held for the legal waiting period, to give any owner time to find her, and her photo popped up on the Pet-finder website as an available dog, bypassing any outreach to Collie Rescue. Someone emailed us and our fearless leader, Karen, called the shelter. They didn't want to release her to rescue. They have an unwavering set of procedures and no flexibility to change the way they do things. They needed someone to come in, pay the adoption/spay fee and return a few days later to collect the dog.
Next step, which has been successful in the past, go through all of our waiting adoption applications, to see if a qualified adopter was a match for a six year old collie girl. Find someone who could drop everything and go get her. All of this done at speed because we wanted to make sure Libby was safe. People were out of town, tied up in meetings, yada, yada, yada...
All I had planned was a DMV appointment to renew my driving license and a desk full of the usual obligations. The decision had to be made, as the shelter in question was across the Bay; up past Oakland and Berkeley; part way to Sacramento. A ninety minute drive, if I didn't get into commute traffic. I mapped out my directions, cancelled the DMV appointment online and buckled up for my mission.
"Pick a bridge, any bridge," to cross San Francisco Bay, from my starting point.... That pleasant ten minutes accomplished, with cormorants eying me from their perches along the way, I had to concentrate to pick the correct entry point onto the snarly, truck-infested East Shore Freeway. Not helped at all by the enormous blind-spot created by the dog crate crammed into the back of my little car, I had to be very strategic about any passing or merging maneuvers. Thousands of cars and trucks channeled side by side between the dingy, institutional-beige sound walls, exhaust stained the color of grief.
I got really lucky. Listening to the radio for traffic reports, my ears kept tuning in to the numbered freeways I would be using. Each time I heard of an incident, it was in the opposite direction to mine. I made it to the shelter with time to spare before they closed.
The Pinole shelter is quite modern. The dogs are in small side rooms, divided up into five or six kennel-runs per room. The obvious advantage is that any illness is more readily contained and the noise level is greatly reduced, so that it's not as scary for the dogs. There are windows to the outside and to the hallway; As bright and cheerful as such a place can be.
I was sent to look at "Curly" as they'd named her. She came forward with a tentative tail-wag and a downcast demeanor. She had spent some time rolling in cow manure, from the smell of her, and one eye was red and weepy. I tried to talk them into letting her come home with me but "rules is rules". I filled out paperwork, paid for her spay surgery, and agreed to collect her five days later from the clinic, in another town.
I spent the drive home reflecting on a new name. She was almost a "Glory" but that was too much name for the shy girl I'd just met. Liberty gave her the choice of the softer Libby and would fit whoever she turned out to be.
Two weeks later, her surgery incision all healed, she's had a bath and settled in. My car has been Febreezed and my office floor washed down with bleach. We had to wash our hands each time we petted her. I've never had a dog so relieved to be cleaned up.
Libby came to the beach with us yesterday. We walked along to the fishing boats and bought some live Dungeness crab, to cook at home, then we waited for an outdoor table at a restaurant frequented by almost as many dogs as people.
This morning she had her first off-leash playtime with some other dogs. She's sweet and flirtatious, all puppy-bows and big, carrosel-pony, gamboling canter strides with the best grin on her face. Life is looking up in a big way.
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