Sunday, March 1, 2009

Welcoming Shayna

Shayna Sunshine

Maybe it's too soon. At least, it is according to all of the experts.

New dogs come into your life in the most interesting way.

Zoey, my first dog with my kids, came via a neighbor girl who was visiting a Pet Adoption event to get a cat the day that someone abandoned Zoey there. The girl came home with a dog rather than a cat, but her family already had five dogs, so they gave her 24 hours to find a home. We we walking in Sneed Park in Rio Rancho, talking about getting a dog; the girl was walking Zoey in the park and came up and said, "Do you want this dog?"

Lily came because someone had Pet Harbor send me her Shelter listing. I got the listing every day for two weeks, before I decided that it must be fate, and went down to see her. I took the family (big mistake) and came home with the adoption papers but sans dog. She needed to be spayed, and it was Easter weekend, something that I had completely missed. I was cognizant of the fact that it was March Madness, though. The kids say she's a Lily because of the white lily on the back of her neck. I think the Lilies in all the stores were subliminally in their minds!

Shayna came as a Pet Harbor picture e-mailed to me by a friend who thought she looked like a dog for us. She was listed as a Dalmation mix, but it looks to me like she has more Lab than Dalmation in her.

On Friday afternoon, I went down the ABQ Eastside Shelter to see her. I went through the buildings looking for her, and saw any number of really nice dogs, and I thought that maybe she had been adopted. And that this was probably good. It had only been a few days, after all. But before I left, I stopped at the desk and asked about her number. No one had assigned her a name. It turned out that she had been sequestered, so a staff member met me and took me to see her. She is very quiet and very shy. She is also beautiful. I was not sure about her temperment, so I called the Chem Geek Princess and asked her to stop by and see her that evening after work. The CGP is nothing if not forthright:

"Okay, I will, but Mom, you know what the experts say. It's only been since Tuesday and now you want a dog that looks like Zoey. I think it's too soon."

As I was waiting to drop the Boychick off for a Scout camping weekend, the CGP called again. She couldn't find the dog. I talked her through to the place, and she was able to see her. "Oh, Mom, she's beautiful. And she's different than Zoey. She seems pretty shy, though."

In our pre-Shabbat bath, though, the EG expressed interest in seeing her, and then yesterday morning, the CGP called to arrange to go with us. When we first saw her that morning, she seemed to recognize the CGP and I, but she was really shy about getting close to the gate. Then a Vet Tech came up and said, "Sorry, but you guys can't be in here."

I mentioned that the dog was released to be adopted on 2/16, and she said (actually, the area was loud with barking dogs, so this was a shouted conversation), "This dog is being treated and will not be released for three days. Why don't you go to the front desk?" I apologized for being in a restricted area and we followed her advice.

At the front desk, they said that the dog was finishing up meds for kennel cough and was released for adoption. The helpful clerk called back to the veterinary office to find out for us what was going on. We were invited to visit with the dog at the Vet center, and we were able to take her outside and walk her in that area, closely supervised by a volunteer. The Engineering Geek walked her, and she kept stopping and hugging his leg, nervous at the wide openess of being outside. The EG said, "Honey, I think she is scared of her own shadow." But at the end of the walk, she was on heel, and refused to leave the EG's side. For his part, the EG was already calling her "Sunshine."

Back in the Vet Center, we had a serious conversation about whether we should take this girl home. Dr. K., the Vet on duty explained that kennel cough is like a cold for dogs, and that in the outside world, it is seldom treated. "It will run its course in 7-10 days whether we treat it or not," she said. "But shelter dogs are so stressed, and come to us traumatized, malnourished and sometimes abused, so we treat it. It is contagious to other dogs, and there is a small chance that your dog at home will get it."

The Engineering Geek asked if we could pick her up after the three day hold.

The Vet explained that it was not a three day hold, just that they had decided to continue her meds for three more days, and keep her sequestered. However, she said, "We only have 10 open kennels right now, and very few spaces in isolation, so we cannot hold and treat her if you adopt her today."

The EG was undecided, although he clearly thought we should have this dog. But he also did not want to put Lily at risk. I broke the stalemate by suggesting that we call our vet in Tijeras about it. I explained the situation to the receptionist there, and she talked to the vet. "Dr. C. says that you should not worry," she told me. "Lily is strong and healthy, and the chances are very small that she will get ill because the new dog has already been on meds for seven days. And if she does, it is like a cold in humans. We can easily treat it, but it will run its course with no problems." I, in turn, relayed the information to the EG and CGP, and then we were on our way back up to the front.

"Let's go get the shayna maidleh ( Yiddish: beautiful girl)," said the EG. We had previously talked about names. The CGP was partial to Bellah, and the EG had been calling her Sunshine. I was not particularly partial to either.

"That's her name," I replied. "She's a Shayna, a Shayna Sunshine."

And that's how Shayna joined our pack.

It's probably too early.

But she's here now. The experts will just have to deal with it.

And you, gentle reader, must deal with one more post about dogs!


Anonymous said...

She is beautiful! :-)

Anonymous said...


I never go by experts' opinions. Follow your heart on such matters. It is obviously the right time for all. Shayna is beautiful.

I'm very happy for you.


Lisa said...

Shayna Sunshine is beautiful. No one can tell when it's the right time to get a lovely new member of the just know in your heart when it's right. Congratulations on your new journey with her and I think she will really bring happiness to the gray you have been feeling.

Melora said...

She is beautiful. And you are the experts on when it is the right time for you. I hope she settles in well and brings you joy.

Amie said...

Congrats on your new family member!

christinemm said...

It sounds like this is exactly the right timing to me!

It seems your heart is open and ready.