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.


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.