Meeting and (not) greeting

Wishing you accidental table scraps and lots of squeaky toys on this great Fourth of July!

Today Charlie and I had a visit from my friend Ron, his wife Michelle and their new baby. While I was excited to meet their new addition, Charlie disappeared behind the coffee table.

He was terrified.

Matt and I experienced his fear of people a few times already, and didn’t know what to make of it. Charlie even shivers when he’s around Matt’s sweet grandma. Since we are not behaviorists, we’re not quite sure what to do.

So Charlie hid behind the table, and lifted his head once to let out a tentative “Woof!” before ducking down again. I picked him up and let my friends pet him, but I could tell he was still freaked out by it all.

In the evening we’ve been taking him for walks, in hopes of meeting neighbors out on their lawns who might be up for petting a cute puppy. So far, it’s been hit-or-miss.

I’m sure all of this has been hard for Charlie to take in. His humble and terrifying beginnings at a Kentucky shelter, his rescue and eventual adoption that brought him to Michigan. It’s a lot for anyone to go through, let alone a lil puppy.

It’s a coin toss if Charlie will take to you. Some people he loves, others he hides from or he cries. I imagine he has trust and abandonment issues that I’ll never quite comprehend. Learning to peel back these layers is a lesson in patience … and compassion.

I must say Charlie is gentle, and loving and the best puppy I could ask for. He loves Lexie above anything else, and listens to us extremely well. He just is super shy around some people. He is young, and I figure much of this will sort itself out on its own.

We plan on taking Charlie to our family barbecue today, and hope more social time will help him. We’re leaving Lex behind, so she can have some puppy-free time and stretch out in the sun.

Puppy-free afternoon? Sheesh, I’m taking a nap in this crazy heat.


Puppy love

Within minutes of arriving, Scout was chasing a large tennis ball in our backyard. Bounding, prancing, awkwardly hopping the way a young dog does. Matt and I looked at each other without saying a word. There’s no other way to describe it than … puppy love.

Before we tell any more of this story, we have to thank the people that made this happiness possible: the wonderful volunteers at True Heart MinPin Rescue. Based in Richmond, Ky., foster mom Gail drove almost seven hours to Michigan this morning with precious cargo.

As Scout hopped out of Gail’s car, we noticed he didn’t look much like his online profile pic. He was much thinner (his puppy paunch was gone), his nose seemed more slender and in general he seemed smaller than we expected. And, to top it all off, he was beyond adorable. In a way a puppy profile would never be able to accomplish. Puppy love, indeed.

While we were all standing in the yard, Gail confessed that her husband didn’t want Scout to go. They had become close buddies in the last couple months, and her husband told her, “No one will be able to take care of him the way I do.”

With the compassion of an animal rescue worker, she assured him Scout will be OK, that she was sure of it. And by him letting go, that opened a spot to save another dog. I tried to imagine myself letting a sweetie like Scout into my home for a couple months, knowing eventually he would move on to a loving adoptive home. I don’t think I have it in me. The loss and grief would be too much. Gail and her husband are cut from a special cloth. She told me the first time she and her husband turned over a dog to a new family, they drove a block away, pulled over and sobbed. She said it gets easier, especially knowing when a dog is going to a great home.

See Scout. See Scout play.

Lexie is nonplussed. In fact, she’s taking a snooze right now. Their initial meeting went well, and it was followed up by a thorough butt sniffing in the back yard. Ya know, pups need privacy. You can’t just make a move like that on the front lawn!

And Pink could care less. She seemed more interested in snagging some of his puppy chow than hanging out.

And Matt seems content to have another furry friend to share the couch at naptime. As Matt took a catnap this afternoon, Scout lined up several squeaky toys and ropies along Matt’s belly.

Good dog.

Help us rename Scout!

When I told my mom we planned to let ya’ll pick Scout’s new name, she laughed.

“But you already have the name picked out, right?” she asked.

“No, we’re asking for suggestions, then we will put the top names in a poll. Our blog readers will select the name.”

I can’t remember her response, but I’m pretty sure my mom said we were crazy.

Perhaps, but we’re more than happy to involve you in our puppy journey. I mean, you’ve been here this far; I can tell you are invested. So why not help with the name?

Send us your suggestions, either in the comments below, on the Finding Furever Facebook page or by emailing us at

We will pick the top names then post them in a poll, where you will make the final decision.

So far we’ve received a few interesting submissions, including Kitty, Walter, Rocket and Mocha.

Keep ’em coming.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The poll has closed. The name will be revealed tonight! (June 25)

Mending fences

What you need to know is that we told Lexie she may get a little brother.

It’s a delicate balance, not wanting to get her hopes up too high. But in all fairness, we had to tell her.

Since Lili died, she has gracefully matured into an elder dog, easily ruling the roost. She controls the couch, and easily snatches a mouthful of Pink’s wet cat food before I shoo her away. Lex trots into the yard when she wants, plopping down on the perfect swatch of grass to soak up the sun.

Lex waits for her little brother to arrive.

All of that will change if Scout joins the family.

Lex is OK with that. In fact, she’s sure of it.

Since Lex has it so together, that allows Matt and I to focus on prepping the house for tomorrow’s home visit. The biggest project we had to tackle was our fence. My neighbor to the west replaced my Wild West-style fence with a modern cyclone version a couple years ago. But my fence to the east is just terrible. The posts are wood, and completely rotted at the base. The chain link is all rusted, and the top is connected by rotted two-by-fours. Uuugh. Needless to say, the fence was swaying back and forth, and probably could be toppled by a rambunctious puppy.

Matt and I did our best to fix this last weekend by pounding in tall metal stakes, then hooking them to the fence. Believe it or not, it worked. It now runs straight, and I think could withstand jumping by a moderately excited dog.

Other things we need to do are obvious: clean the house, pick up the library and organize the spare bedroom. I even emptied the litter box last night, a task alone that surely should earn me a new puppy.

Also, we need to wash up the medium-sized crate. My large-sized crate already is clean and prepped, from when we thought we would have Ranger. But it seems way too big for a puppy. In all the hub-bub, I forgot to ask a couple important questions. Like how big is Scout? Is he crate-trained? Sheesh. I don’t even know if he’s housebroken. This whole thing is quite a mystery.

Last night, Matt looked me dead in the eye and asked what we would do if we didn’t like him. I told him there was no way that would happen. But worst case scenario, I guess we could ship him back on a round-trip car ride to Kentucky.

That thought made us sad. We agreed something terrible would have to happen for us to not take him. And chances are, even then we couldn’t be swayed.

We are ready to welcome Scout home.

Dog drama resolved

It was a rough day. After announcing to all my friends and family that our soon-to-be adopted pup would arrive for a home visit on Friday, I received a call this morning saying his trip to Michigan was on hold. I was told to hold tight for a return phone call.

I was sure I would not hear back. I called Matt on the way home from work hoping for distraction. We did our best to avoid the topic but I could hear the disappointment in his voice.

Well, when the going gets rough, I go to Cupcake Station. I picked up two Originals for us, and a pupcake for Lexie. For a dog who hates carrots, she sure devoured her carrot cake creation. The chocolate frosting on our cupcakes was divine, and temporarily transported Matt and me away from frustration.

The phone call finally came at 7:57 p.m.

Jackie, a rescue volunteer in Kentucky, told me Scout would arrive Friday afternoon. I could barely make her out because she has a bad cold, so I plugged one ear and listened really hard until I heard confirmation. She said that the other dogs originally scheduled for transport had all fallen off the roster. But since I had rearranged my work schedule so I could be there for the home visit, they would send Scout solo after all.

I couldn’t believe it. We would finally meet Scout!

Jackie asked if I was sure Scout is the one. It was a six-and-a-half hour drive from Kentucky.

I assured her that Matt and I are more than ready to meet the pup. I told her I already had written a blog post about him and showed off his photo to anyone willing to humor me.

So now, it’s really for real. I’ve got to get cleaning.

Maybe I’ll pick up a pupcake or two for Friday.

A home visit? Finally.

Our efforts scouting for a dog finally paid off. We have a home visit scheduled for Friday!

For those not in the know, this is the magical step before an actual pet adoption can take place with most private rescue organizations. The pup, named Scout, is being hosted by a rescue out of Belleville, Mich., and will be driven to Michigan from Kentucky, where it currently is being fostered. Sound complicated?

Let me back up. I’ll show you complicated.

Matt and I will meet Scout on Friday. He’s supposed to be partly border collie, but looks mostly Brittany spaniel to us.

When Matt first showed me a picture of Scout, I didn’t even pause before barking out my order.

“Fill out an application!”

“Really?” Matt asked, then paused to look at the profile: a stout pup that mostly looked like a brittany spaniel. It was clear Matt was still burned by the collective Ranger/Daisy experiences.

“Do it,” I said.

But doing it was not an easy task. The application was mammoth, asking everything from our understanding of the dog’s breed (with examples of how we researched this information) to what we would do if we could no longer keep the dog. It also asked for two personal references (including their phone numbers AND emails!) and contact information for our current vet.

Matt was daunted.

“I don’t want to do this,” he complained, about 10 minutes into the process.

“Babe, it’s worth it. Push through,” I reassured him.

Another 10 minutes later, and Matt was stumped.

I reached out, asking for his computer. “C’mon, let me finish it up.”

“It’s just so invasive,” he said. “They’ll know where we live and we haven’t even seen the dog yet. They’ll even know we have a dog door!”

We sent out the app, and I got busy sending thank-you emails to my friends for putting in a good word. I later found out they each had to fill out a lengthy questionnaire asking everything from where my existing pets sleep to my disciplinary approach.

That night I received an email saying the application was received, and that it could be expedited by faxing vaccination records for my current pets. Amazingly, I has those papers handy, and sent them off. I soon received a second email thanking me, and letting me know the adoption process could take up to three weeks since the organization is run completely by volunteers. The woman also explained in detail how the adoption process worked.

Matt and I were pleased with this news since, well, it was news. After our last experience, this little crumb of communication felt like a steak dinner.

Next we received an email saying the reference portion of our interview was complete, and that Scout’s foster parents or a rescue representative would be in touch to interview us.

That Thursday I received a phone call during my lunch break. Seeing the number was from Kentucky, I eagerly picked it up. A woman with the rescue’s main office had a few questions for me, then she said all my paperwork was in order, and she hoped to conduct a home visit within two weeks. My heart just about jumped out of my chest. We were making progress. Finally.

After a long four-day weekend of no communication, we felt less hopeful. So I jumped in the driver’s seat and called the woman in Kentucky. It ends up she was about to call me to ask about availability for a home visit. She offered Friday, and I said Matt would definitely be there, and I would be able to meet after work.

It’s finally feeling possible. Possible that Matt and I could soon be parents to a new pup. It’s hard to keep our emotions in check, while giving ourselves permission to whoop it up a bit. I called my mom to share my excitement. I imagined Scout, with his soft brown ears, in my house and meeting Lexie.

Matt and I considered buying another dog bed for the front room. But we decided to hold off. We know better.

One thing at a time.