|Austin surveying the snow - we're definitely not in Texas anymore.|
This is just a little adventure story.
2006 had a sad beginning. Both of my wife's parents passed away three days apart. Her very dear friend died after suffering a head injury. And Duke died.
Duke was our elderly springer spaniel. His litter-mate, Duchess, had been put down a year earlier. For the previous ten years, they were our constant companions and our daughter's playmates. Duke's departure left a big hole in our lives.
It wasn't long before my wife began combing the internet and found English Springer Rescue America. There were hundreds of springers up for adoption all over North America, but only a few available pairs. We narrowed these down to a couple of boys, Austin and Dallas, of Dallas, Texas.
As rescue situations went, theirs was far better than most. They had been well treated, but their humans were splitting up and moving into smaller premises and neither could take take the dogs.
We started to correspond with Lori, the dogs' mum. So that they would recognize me, Lori suggested I send a 'snapshot' of myself, in the form of an old t-shirt. For the benefit of US Customs, the package was labeled: "This envelope contains one used t-shirt (no monetary value). Sender will be visiting addressee on
November 4, 2006 to adopt 2 spaniel dogs. T-shirt is to acquaint dogs with sender before arrival."
To get from Victoria to Dallas, I took the Coho, a Washington State ferry, from Victoria to Port Angeles and drove to the Sea-Tac airport near Seattle. Because I arrived in the evening and was catching a morning flight out, I just slept in the parkade in the back of our station wagon.
I arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth and checked into a motel. Beth, the dogs' 'social worker' from the agency, drove me across town to meet Lori and the dogs. Whether they recognized me from my 'snapshot' or were just friendly, I'm not sure, but when I arrived, Austin and Dallas ate me alive. Although Lori was clearly glad that we got along so well, I was sure she was dying inside, trying not to think about saying goodbye in the morning.
The flight would be leaving at 7 a.m., and because I was transporting dogs, I was supposed to arrive at the airport by 5 a.m. Which meant I had to be at Lori's around 3 a.m. Which meant I had to get up around 1 a.m. for Beth to pick me up at 2 a.m.
My cell phone alarm went off at 1 a.m. and I groggily had a shower, got dressed, packed, went downstairs, checked out, turned in my key to a rather puzzled desk clerk, and went outside to wait for Beth. For some reason, I glanced through the lobby window and noticed that the wall clock said 11:45. I don't recall exactly what I said, but WTF??? comes to mind. After the clerk confirmed that the clock was right, I sheepishly asked if I could check back in for a couple of hours. Evidently, my not so smart phone re-set the time to PST thinking I was still in British Columbia.
At Lori's, the goodbyes were as heart wrenching as I had feared. We loaded Dallas and Austin into their large brand new crates in the back of Beth's van while Lori tried unsuccessfully to keep a brave face. I gave her a big hug and promised to look after her boys.
After the plane landed at Sea-Tac, a porter and I trundled the surprisingly cheerful dogs in their crates on trolleys out to the parkade, only to discover that evidently, not so smart Dave had neglected to check some important measurements. There was no way the crates would fit into the station wagon. We had to take them apart and nest the four halves together, and let Dallas and Austin loose inside the car.
Although I politely asked the boys to stay in the back seat, they weren't having any of it, and insisted on keeping me company in the front. In fact, Dallas insisted on sitting on my lap and trying to drive, which made for an interesting trip up Interstate 5. By the time we reached the ferry, we had bonded nicely.
On the Coho, the dogs were rather subdued. I don't know if they were missing their mum, or whether it was just the strangeness of the smell of the salt air and a floor that moved.
When we got home, the dogs ran inside and immediately ate not only my wife but also my daughter alive, confirming that they found us to be satisfactory, and the big hole in our lives was instantly filled.
We corresponded with Lori to let her know how the boys were doing, and sent her some photos of them doing what they love most.
|Running when it's sunny|
|Running when it's rainy|
|Running when it's snowy|
Dallas watching Patsy Cline - Austin not so much...