Our wonderful, loving, faithful dog died in early December. Her last days were happy ones--she was lively and interested and thrilled that her oldest boy was home visiting. We knew her final visit to our vet would have to be made in a matter of days and we were glad her last days were filled with all the people she loved. We didn't have to make that trip--she made a graceful exit, at home, in her bed. We shed tears and gathered up all the belongings of our beloved friend so that we would not have so many daily reminders to stab at our hearts. Our house seemed empty without her welcoming presence.
Finally in mid-January we were ready to begin looking for a puppy to fill the empty spaces in our home. We went to the animal shelter; we went to the humane society; we searched on-line. We didn't expect to find the perfect animal right away. Both our previous dogs took at least a month of repeated visits to the county animal control or humane society. But a month passed and no prospects. Well, we thought, it's still winter and maybe Spring will bring adoptable litters. We continued to look and look without success. Well, we thought, maybe during Spring Break we'll find something and have an entire week to bond with a puppy. As Spring Break approached, the search went into full swing--continuous online monitoring of PetFinder, of our area pet-rescue websites, and frequent visits to our new County/Humane Society adoption center. We left no stone unturned--looking at postings from Southern California, Oregon, New Mexico, Washington, Idaho, Colorado. If the perfect puppy was out there, I wasn't going to let a little geography interfere (my sweetie wasn't so sure about traveling long distances to get a pup, but I was beginning to be desperate for some puppy love). Some possibilities began appearing and we kept adding photos and descriptions to The List. Of course, some of those were adopted and disappeared, some were just far-away pipe dreams, and some were good but just not quite right. We knew what we wanted: Aussie/Collie/Golden Retriever mix, 5 months old or less, female. We were willing to fall in love with an adult dog or a male if it happened, but we were pretty set on the breed mixtures.
Finally, Spring Break arrived. We survived our Easter blizzard and were ready to take to the roads went they were cleared. If Nevada didn't have the puppy for us, we were going to California to look. Tuesday was nice, but we didn't get an early start and decided to wait a day. In the rush of getting together pound names, addresses, and maps before we started we still found time for one last search on PetFinder and something new turned up--cute, golden, female, aussie-border collie cross pups. Well, Gridley wasn't real close, but maybe if nothing else panned out....
We find the Auburn pound after many false starts but the staff are on lunch break. Off to Roseville but only adult doggies to be seen and not much of a selection at that. Let's hope Sac has more. They do and we are happy to see an older couple adopting the grown aussie that we like, but know isn't right. Back in the car for another couple miles to the animal control--hey! puppies and a good selection. Still just not the dog for us there. (Yeah, we are pretty picky, but this is a new family member we are selecting, not a new shirt.) We think Stockton probably has the next best amount, so we brave the rush hour traffic and head south on I-5. They have two lovely female golden mixed breeds. We even visit with one, but she's just too timid (hence unpredictable) and we have to think of our two little neighbor girls. Guess we'll pass her up.
Time to sit in the car and talk about options. We have our bags packed for a possible overnight stay, so we could continue in the morning closer to the Bay Area. It's just that the shelters all open pretty late in the day. So I make my first long distance call on my Christmas cell phone and ask about the Gridley puppies. They are still available so we get directions and make an appointment to see them that evening. Gridley's a LONG way, my sweetie offers. But right then I would have flown to Indiana to see a good puppy. Almost two hours later, we pull up to Sierra Buttes K-9 Rescue and look for Darrell, our contact, only to have our eyes captured by a rambunctious knot of black& white and gold puppies rollicking around a large pen. The fuzzy gold one from the website is there, but we are captivated by a lovely curly blonde with white markings. There's no question--this is OUR puppy, the one we've looked for and dreamed of. It took 4 months and hundreds of miles, but we've found her!
Don't you just love happy endings?