February 7, 2011
Warning: This is a long story. But it's got a smile at the end.
Last week, while the rest of the country was battling the elements, SoldierMan and I took advantage of the "snow days" by ramping up our search for SoldierMan's Valentine's Day present: a puppy.
I need to preface this by saying, I'm not a dog person. Like, at all. I know that you probably think this consigns me to some lower circle of Hell, but dogs have just never appealed to me. I'm definitely a cat person.
SoldierMan has had his heart set on getting a husky since....forever. He had a husky growing up, and when we got married we couldn't get one because we didn't have a fenced-in backyard. Then we lived in an apartment. Now, though, we're in a house with a yard with a fence and in a place we'll be for a few years.
(please don't leave me hateful comments about being breed-specific. this is our family and our choice, and I think we have darn good reasons why.)
Before we left that morning, we discussed potential names for the puppy we would get. SoldierMan already had a name specially picked if we found a girl puppy. But he needed help on boy names. So, being me, I pull up the complete list of Shakespeare characters and start reading off names. If it was up to me, we'd have pets named Hermia and Puck. Seriously, can't you see a pretty silver husky named Puck?? But he couldn't. However, when I read "Achilles," that just sort of seemed to fit a majestic looking animal like a Husky.
Then I mentioned I liked historical names, like Stonewall (after my favorite military figure, natch). He didn't like Stonewall, but we settled on Jeb. So, Achilles or Jeb. Depending on how the dog struck us. I know, completely dissimilar names, but that's what we liked. So, with names chosen, addresses written down and audiobook in the car, the search began.
Part of that search involved trips to two pet stores (approved by the local Humane Society, fyi) as well as a no-kill Rescue and the Humane Society. That was the most heart-wrenching experience I have had in a long time.
As we were walking through those shelters, especially at the Humane Society where they let us walk through the kennels on our own, I was to the point where I couldn't make eye contact with the dogs that were there, and I was choking back tears when we left. The worst was getting to the last cage and seeing a full-grown beautiful pit bull sitting in his cage, totally not trying to get our attention or look "adoptable," he just sat there looking at us like, "I know, I know. You aren't going to pick me. Move on." Ugh.
Then we went to another Rescue to see a dog they had listed as being a Husky puppy. We were really anxious by that point. We had been driving all day and hadn't eaten in hours, and even though we knew not to expect anything our first day out, it was really, really hard not to hope.
We're standing in the office and they bring in this puppy - that is so obviously NOT a husky. He was completely brown and a little mangy and had a bald patch on his head where the crate he was dumped in rubbed his head because it was too small for him. And at first, we were both totally let down. After all day, talking to these people on the phone and thinking this was the dog we were looking for...it's not.
And she lets his off the leash, and he runs straight to me. And when another dog in the room startled him, he clung to me. And dangit, he looked like a Jeb.
We told them we'd think about it and got in the car, still kind of upset that it wasn't a husky. But we couldn't stop talking and thinking about him the rest of the day. And so, on Saturday, we went back to the Rescue and got him.
So I got my Jeb.
Of course, this still didn't get SoldierMan his husky puppy. We had several feelers out and a couple of good leads. That afternoon, right after we had gotten home with Jeb, SoldierMan got a text that a husky puppy about the same age as Jeb was available to pick up - right now! So, after a quick trip to the store to get supplies for yet another dog, we made a rushed trip across the state line (it's pretty near impossible to get a puppy from a private citizen in El Paso. They have very harsh restrictions on pets.). Jeb wasn't too happy he had to ride in the back while I held the new puppy in the front, and when they "met" at first, Jeb was very skittish around the new guy. But once we got home, to "his" territory, the Alpha came out.
It was funny.
So now we have two dogs. SoldierMan's husky, Achilles, and my....Jeb. :)
Now, for pics:
Putting on Jeb's collar
He loves his green man