This is the second part of the story of how we adopted our new puppy. If you haven’t read the the first part yet, start here.
Picking out a pup
I got to thinking and realized that it would be a very bad idea to wait and take all the kids. They would argue in the car being cooped up together for that long. They would argue after we got there about which dog to bring home. Much better for me to just jump in the truck and head over by myself. If I was really quick, I could even be back shortly after they got home from school. A little past noon, I did just that, arriving at 1:45 pm. Ten minutes later, a transport truck arrived with a new load of puppies from Little Rock, Arkansas. I found my puppy.
She was a listed as a shepherd mix. She arrived with two sisters, and I watched as they went into quarantine. Three baby chocolate labs arrived with them, too, along with a few other young dogs. After the commotion of the delivery died down and the truck pulled out on the way to their next stop, I began the process of adopting this little 15-week-old puppy with big sad eyes. Since she had just arrived, I could not bring her home then. She had to go through her quarantine and get her NH health certificate. I drove home with a huge happy secret in my heart.
For a whole week, my husband and I kept the secret of the new puppy from the kids. I made generalized remarks like, “If we want to adopt a puppy, we should really get this house picked up and ready for a puppy to come home.” I continued to look at her picture on the rescue group’s website. I felt like I could explode with happiness. Over the course of the following week, I collected everything our new baby would need. I washed up Sif’s dishes, I retrieved the small animal carrier from the chicken yard and dried it out (it had collected rain), I found the harness we bought for our bunny before she died last year, I made sure I knew exactly where the leash was.
One thing we could do while we waited was choose a name. Our previous dogs had names from Norse mythology. I liked the idea of using names from mythology, but I wanted to get away from the Norse pantheon. I looked up lots and lots of names and ran a search for little known goddesses. One of the results was a list of nature deities from mythologies all around the world. We especially liked the name of the Baltic goddess of nature and trees. We decided to name our new puppy Medeina.
Bringing her home
Finally, on Thursday, they called to tell me that she passed her health exam and to schedule a pick up time. Of course, that day the car was in the shop for new brake pads, and I didn’t have time to get there and back before the kids got home. I arranged to pick her up as soon as they opened the next day. On Friday, I got the kids off to school, then made sure I had everything I needed in the truck to go pick her up. Animal carrier, harness, leash, water dish, towel, pooper scooper, plastic bags. I had some breakfast and at 9:00, I headed over there. Halfway there I realized that although I had remembered a water dish for her, I had forgotten the water jug with which to fill it. I stopped and bought a gallon of water.
I brought in the little harness and large leash, and after going through the final paperwork with me, the staff lady put the harness on this little puppy. Little puppy was very unsure of this whole process. She did not want to walk with the leash. Instead she braced herself against it. Eventually I had to just pick her up and carry her to the truck. She was shivering with fear, and it broke my heart. I hugged her and kissed her and promised that she would be safe from now on and she had nothing to fear. I sat her in the front seat beside me and reached over to pet her while I drove.
After about ten minutes, she stopped her shaking. She loved to be petted, but she didn’t trust me yet. After twenty minutes, she had settled down enough in the truck that she lay down and started to doze in and out. She was highly aware of every turn and bump of the road. We stopped once to get out and stretch our legs. Now that she was a bit more used to me, she was excited to sniff the gravel parking lot of Pitcher Mountain where we pulled over. She lapped up a little bit of water, but not much. After five minutes or so, we were on the road again for the final half hour of the trip.
Meeting the kids
When the younger kids got home on the bus, she and I were outside to meet them. Their faces lit up with such delight when they came round the corner on the bus to descend the stairs and they saw her. A’s eyes got wide, and her mouth got so big it took up half of her face. Both E and A were very respectful of her, though. They thoroughly impressed me. Instead of running at her and screaming in delight, they approached her calmly and quietly. Almost reverently. I explained that she was very nervous and didn’t know any of us yet so we had to give her time to get used to us.
R and L had stayed at school because they had a soccer game, so I bundled up the kids and the puppy and we went to go watch the game. I made sure to get there a little early so that the girls could meet Medeina before the game started. R reacted just as I had expected. She squeed and she bounced and she came over to pet her.
L, however, had a very different and unexpected reaction. Instead of being excited to see a new puppy, she burst out sobbing. I hugged her and held her and asked her what was wrong. She said she still misses Sif. I apologized for disturbing her like this and explained that I thought she was ready for a new puppy. She said that she had thought so, too. Sometimes we think we are ready for something until it actually happens, and then we discover that we weren’t as ready as we thought we were.
L continued having a difficult time throughout the match. Fortunately, as goalie, she doesn’t have a lot of active play time so she could have a mini meltdown while the action was at the other end of the field. It didn’t seem to impair her performance, and she played a great game. By bedtime that night, she was warming up to the new puppy, petting her and taking pictures of her.
Medeina, I discovered, is a terrified little puppy. She is afraid of everything. I wonder what trauma she went through before coming to New Hampshire. Being a stay home mom, I have been able to take the time to bond with her, and she almost never leaves my side now. She sleeps under my desk when I am writing or sewing, or next to my bed at night. If I get up and walk to another room, she follows me. The kids are hoping to build the same kind of bond with her. Our cat has given her a hard time, and has swiped at her several times, drawing blood once on her ear. She was excited to meet the chickens and thought that it might be great fun to chase them, even though they are nearly as big as she is.
After four days now, she no longer shakes when I pick her up. She does not walk on the leash, so I have to carry her outside to do her business and then back in again. The leash seems to terrify her and she braces against it. I am hoping that time and love will cure that. She does love to play fetch with her new glow-in-the-dark ball, and is so gentle when she carries it back to me. We spent a good hour or more outside in the sunshine yesterday (before the downpours came), and she got some good romping in, as well as a nap by my chair.
I am completely in love with her. After the initial upset of still missing Sif, L seems to be doing very well with her, too. Everyone else is infatuated with her and wants to play with her and hold her attention. I think we will have a happy life together.
Have you adopted an animal from a shelter or rescue? What was that experience like for you?