"A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature.
You can't get it by breeding for it, and you can't buy it with money.
It just happens along."
E.B. White, The Care and Training of a Dog
The Humane Society of Jacksonville has come a long way since the days of over crowding and stinky cages. Now you don't just pick out a dog or cat you like and take it home, there is a process you must go through. New pet owners are screened and matches are made in a similar fashion to online dating. Instead of Match.com the HS calls it Meet Your Match. To participate in the service prospective adopters need to take a compatibility survey, again not unlike E-Harmony only they don't ask questions about you most romantic fantasy. The adoptees are also assessed - Couch Potato, Constant Companion, Teacher's Pet, Wallflower, Busy Bee, Goofball, Life of the Party, Go-Getter, Free Spirit - so at the end of the day, you should be able to hook up with the ideal pooch or kitty for your personality and life style.
When Sweetie and I were looking to adopt a dog, we didn't pay much attention to the survey. We knew we were couch potatoes and figured the adopted dog would be so grateful to have a new home it would adapt to our lifestyle. It seems like that's the way it used to be. Big mistake. And not necessarily one of our own making. When we fell for Suzi Q's big brown eyes and take-me-home smile she had yet to be assessed. We concentrated, instead, on her cuteness, not her Meet Your Match assessment. They guessed her age to be around 4 so, in our way of thinking (obviously off base) we figured she was a teenaged dog, not a puppy. Teenagers like to sleep a lot, right? Or at least they like to sleep late in the morning.
What we have since learned is that Suzi could easily fall into almost any of the categories except perhaps Teacher's Pet "who loves to learn and lives to please." Suzi does enjoy watching us try to teach her something, as if we are her own personal entertainment troupe. She is not, however, moved to fetch or come or shake or lie down or pee outside on command.
As a form of exercise I knew I needed as much as the dog, I began a daily routine of both a morning and evening walk. Suzi has come to expect it and anticipates the smells and friends she might find on the way. If I try to sleep past 6 am she is right there by my bed suggesting in animated dog language that I wake up, there are things outside worth smelling. Walking at a brisk pace seems to be more for me than for her, and she quickly lets me know this walk is all about the sniff not the exercise. Unless there is something to chase, then it's no holds barred and my shoulder is yanked out of its socket. I've begun sleeping with an ice pack on my neck to relieve the repetitive strain.
This morning I decided to film our journey. Here's a small taste:
First stop about 20 yards down the street.
One delightful smell after another. Life is good.
Wait, what was that? A garage door opening? Let's go back and investigate.
I can wait just as long as you can.
Home again! There's a cookie on the other side of this door. I can smell it!
Today I'm grateful for a dog with little brains and a a lot of love to share. I'm grateful for portable carpet cleaners and enzyme action detergents.
My wish for you is the ability to see past an obstacle and follow your heart (or nose as the case may be.