Monday, September 17, 2007
COLUMN: Randy, Pt. 2
I know this is supposed to be the "dog days of summer," but I never thought I'd get to live them so literally. The plot thus far, if you happened to read last week's column: Shane finds a small hapless terrier puppy in his parking lot. Shane takes dog to the pound. Owner pulls a no-show. Shane adopts dog and, for reasons unknown, names him Randy.
Here's the thing, though. I can't really have a dog. I work two jobs and I'm just not home enough. Plus, the vet told me that this puppy could put on up to 40 more pounds, which would be highly problematic in my already cramped abode. And any hopes I had of keeping a dog were dashed right away by my feline roommates.
The night I found the dog and took him to the pound, I returned home coated in dog hair and walked in to my apartment. As usual, my cats came barreling out from the bedroom. But this time it was different. Both of them came to a screeching halt. Sniff. Sniff. Hair goes up on their backs, and they made a slow, slinky retreat to the bedroom. They knew. And if I wasn't sure, I woke up the next morning to find the hair-covered shirt removed from the laundry basket and relocated to the middle of the living room. They knew, and they were NOT amused.
This is where my friend Linn comes in. I'll say it in print right now: Linnea Crowther is the most awesome person on the planet ever.
Why? Because Linn turned her Moline house into a foster home for Randy and did most of the legwork in finding him a good home. Linn deserves far more than a simple shout-out in the paper, but for now, this'll have to do.
It's fun to watch puppies learn new things. For instance, on Day 1, Randy discovered that he had teeth -- and he could use those teeth to bite, well, pretty much anything: hands, feet, shoes, sticks, and even large portions of a defenseless wooden patio. But his favorite thing to nibble on? Toby, Linn's sweet old-timer of a dog. Toby's as big as a house and as nice as they come, and was surprisingly patient in dealing with a puppy who spent most of his waking moments trying to turn Toby mental.
On Day 2, Randy discovered his nether-region, and spent the better part of the day doing his own version of the Humpty Dance with anything in sight. THIS is where Toby drew the line, and understandably so.
Still, Randy was a great puppy. When he wasn't traversing the yard humping or biting everything in sight, he was underfoot or licking your face or curled up in a ball on one of our laps, making us say words like "awww" and "lookit" far more times than I'm personally comfortable with. We didn't just need to find him a home, we needed to find him an awesome home. I ran an ad in the paper and we whittled our way through potential candidates.
I was suddenly going from Shane Brown, Dog Owner to Shane Brown, Adoption Advocate. There's no worse situation to be in than having to decide between a bunch of potentially great dog-owners. Finding Randy a great home was a mission, and part of that mission meant having to disappoint some folks, and I never want to be in that position again.
One family sounded great on the phone, and we scheduled a time for them to stop by and have a look-see. Of course, this was the day Randy had started teething and was thus gnawing on everything until he was bleeding from his gums. It was also the same day we discovered he'd caught kennel cough from his brief stint in dog jail. So, as if on perfect cue, the family shows up to look at the dog that we had promised them was cute as a button... to find Randy running around at warp speed, hacking and bleeding. Then Toby, who had the misfortune to be a white dog, saunters up COVERED in blood from Randy's gums. Suffice to say, it was NOT a love connection. It was more like an outtake from Cujo.
Eventually, though, we found Randy a PERFECT new life with a wonderful family out in Edgington. 4 kids, a beautiful house, a huge yard, and all the love and attention this dog could ever want. Plus I saw copies of our papers in their recycling bin, so they passed the first test.
I must admit, though, that when we brought Randy out to them, I noticed a Fred Thompson support sticker and a Rascal Flatts CD, meaning that Randy's new family are Republicans AND country music fans. Little do they know that in the two weeks we had him, Randy became a lifelong Democrat with a distinct affinity for indie rock. But we'll keep that our little secret.
Oh, and from what I've heard, Randy is becoming Sammy, but I can live with that. I had initially hoped that my folks would take the dog, and if that had happened, he'd be cursed with a name like Snooky or Pookums by now. Besides, the new owners have promised to send us photos and updates so that Linn and I can watch our little foster child grow up.
So here's to you, Randy-Sammy. Thanks for stopping by.