Sunday, August 14, 2005

Tails of Adventure and Other Shaggy Dog Stories

Tucker's mom Dale and I spent our Saturday on the roads of Vermont for a good cause yesterday. We delivered a needy dog named Max (who would soon have been the product of a broken home, as his owners are splitting up) and delivered him to a wonderful rescue. Fueled by Green Mountain coffee and Val's fabulous homemade chocolate chip cookies, we had plenty of chance to knit, laugh, gossip, and admire the scenery on the way.

Poor Max just hasn't had the good life he deserves. He's had two homes in his short time on this earth (he's about 3-4 years old), and he was rescued from a life of being tied to a chicken coop so he could spend his life tied to a basement bulkhead instead. He was never allowed inside the house or trained to much of an extent, so we weren't sure what to expect. Would he be a wild thing? Would he ask us to pull over if he needed a biology break, or would the upholstery suffer?

Max turned out to be a fabulous, sweet, mellow, loving dog who couldn't get enough of being touched and petted and cooed at. He spent much of the trip to Williston on his back in the back seat of Dale's car, luxuriating in belly rubs and sweet talk for perhaps the first time in his life. He was an astonishingly calm dog who rested his big blocky head on my shoulder as I drove.

We first delivered Max to a vet's office in Williston, where we would meet the director of the rescue who took him in. The vet examined him, gave him the necessary shots and took blood samples for heartworm and Lyme, and pronounced him basically healthy, if a bit dirty and stinky from a recent encounter with a skunk. Max hadn't seen the vet too often in his life, but he behaved himself wonderfully, gently kissing the vet tech as she held him and patiently enduring all the probing and pinpricks and nail clipping.

Next, we brought Max over to the rescue director's business (a pet supply store and grooming shop). The groomer at the shop gave him what might have been the first real bath he's ever had. As the brown water ran off his back, I saw him half-close his eyes and smile. If he could have, he'd have said, "Aaaahhhhh." The groomer planned to keep Max overnight at her place before delivering him to the kennel where he would wait for his foster home, and we suspect that she and Max spent the evening watching movies on the couch and sharing a bowl of popcorn with extra butter.

After Dale filled out Max's paperwork for the rescue and I gathered the dog bed, toys, and treats that Val had bought for him, we said our goodbyes and headed southward. We stopped for lunch on the way, and toasted Max and his new life. Things are finally looking up for that poor dog, and he deserves it.

Dogs are basically optimists by nature; no matter what's happening to them at the moment, they always hope for something better. Max had every reason to give up on humanity, and it never once entered his mind. Throughout our trip, Max just kept looking forward to the next adventure, and the next. We think that he'll make someone a fabulous best buddy, and we hope that he and his new family will have wonderful adventures together for the rest of his days.

We're Baaa-aaack!

Because Novice classes won't start until September sometime, Seamus and I have decided to repeat Advanced Basic obedience class in the same place at the same time. Tucker's in the class, and the other four students are also "repeaters" from previous classes. It will be nice for us to get in some extra structured practice while we wait for September.

Just When You Thought It Was Time to Give Up...

After my friend Gill had emailed me to let me know that there would be no litter of puppies this June, I filed the idea of a puppy into the "Maybe Next Year" folder in my mind, and stopped thinking about puppies for this year. In a way, it was a good thing that the idea hadn't come to pass: I could focus more time on working with Seamus, and on enjoying a household with two healthy, young, already-trained adult dogs for a while.

This past week, Gill emailed me to tell me that her brown girl Willow might possibly be in whelp, and that the puppies would make their entrance into this world around the 27th of the month. This completely bowled me over with surprise and delight, since Willow is possibly my favorite of all of Gill's beautiful, sweet-natured Beardies. This is a repeat breeding; Willow and her handsome blue dream date Badger had a litter a year and a half ago, and all of the puppies were stunning. If this comes to pass, I might end up spending Hallowe'en in Wales this year.

All This and Knitting Too

I've managed to get quite a bit of knitting done of late (for me), between listening to the audio version of the latest Harry Potter book and road-tripping through Vermont. With that much knitting time, I've managed to complete one tote bag in Lamb's Pride Bulky (color Blue Magic) for felting, and the second one is about three rows shy of the final castoff. My ultimate plan is to get a small bunch of them done for the Rescue Parade at the National Specialty, but I'll have to change my plans if there are gazillions of last-minute entries.

The lovely antler toggles for the Fletcher sweater arrived a while ago, and with any luck, I'll get those attached today. Photos to follow!

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Pat said...

Great story about Max! I mentioned it in my blog today.

Pirate said...

What a wonderful story about Max. Yes, aren't dogs just the cat's meow? ... ahem ... sorry ...

They are so sweet and loyal and want to give you everything of themselves if they're only given the opportunity. A little while ago I was upstairs masking the baseboards on the bedroom we're painting, and Sam laid down, curled up right up against my thigh.

He's feeling much better by the way (Sam, that is ...).