Friday, June 22, 2007

The Journey

Even though I was terribly nervous, the drive up to Port Townsend went quickly. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in the QFC parking lot, nibbling on a bagel and drinking some steamed milk in an attempt to quiet my stomach.

11:00 popped up on the dash of my car, and I drove back to Jacob Miller road, up Critter Lane, down a gravel path and through some trees -- and pulled up to the Jefferson County Animal Shelter.

I walked in the door, and there she was. A volunteer had just bathed her, and she was being cuddled/dried in a towel on the volunteer's lap. I pointed to her. I pointed to me. The volunteer smiled.

Mazzie, the woman with the lovely accent who I spoke to on the phone, was there at the desk, and she started pulling up the paperwork right away. No interview. After years of prepping for rigourous breeder interviews or aloof rescue volunteers, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed that they didn't grill me. I suppose the assumption was that since I had called twice on Thursday, placed the hold, and come all this way, I must be good enough for this puppy.

Eventually, it was decided that I could come behind the desk and hold her. She smelled slightly of damp puppy, and she didn't squirm too much.... until I had to try to hold her and write the check at the same time.

They had a donation box, and they offered me what looked like a cat bed for a windowsill at first. I passed on that. They then offered me a sheet of fake lambs wool as a dog bed, and I took that.

They also gave me some Purina puppy food and some Purina adult dog food. I asked what she had been fed at the shelter, and they said, "it changes every day." (Not a good sign!)

Outside on the grass, she immediately squatted. (A really good sign!) We spent some time getting to know each other out there and then headed out.

She was bigger than I expected, and so, even though I had brought Gesso's carrier and a cardboard box lined with a blanket, I decided to risk it and let her sit on the passenger seat. I draped the fake lambs wool over it first, and she settled right in. (Another good sign!)

I left my right hand on the passenger seat, gently holding the leash in case she started chewing on the upholstery. She never did. Instead, at one point, she turned around and used my hand as a pillow. I have to confess, I almost started crying with happiness at that moment. It was a really, really, really good moment.

We made it all the way to Port Gamble before the first problem... Apparently, she had eaten a huge breakfast of the mystery food. (In fact, since I've brought her home, I wonder if she's even eaten as much as that which came out on the lambs wool just outside of Port Gamble. ) Pulled over, cleaned up as best as I could, brought out the box, put her in that. Then I noticed the drooling. So much drool! Her chin, my jacket arm... saturated.

The ferry ride was ok, and she got lots of admiring looks from kids and ferry workers alike, but as we headed down I-5 from Edmonds, more breakfast came out in the box.

We were less than 10 minutes from home when this happened, and it would have been only moderately stressful if a brown car had not stalled RIGHT IN FRONT of us. Stuck in the middle of a fast moving I-5, sandwiched between a stalled car and a huge impossible-to-see-around Mac truck with a puking puppy -- that isn't my idea of a good Friday. Eventually the Mac truck played linebacker for me and we both pulled out into traffic, and we made it safely home.

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