Monday, September 5, 2011


Yesterday, Gremlin finally went home.

Quick recap: Gremlin, formerly known as Annie, was a foster dog who came to us from North Carolina, where she had been found as a stray, taken to the local shelter, and eventually ran out of time because her eccentric appearance didn't immediately endear her to potential adopters. Essentially, she was about to be put down because she wasn't cute enough.

We agreed to foster her. She turned out to be a feisty, funny, bold little dog, although not without a few minor issues -- mild separation anxiety in the beginning, then a later episode of on-leash reactivity toward strangers that occurred (I'm pretty sure) as a result of a tense encounter we had with a stranger at the park. But we worked past these problems and taught her how to live in a house and obey a few basic commands, and in the meantime we tried and tried to find the right person to adopt a Gremlin.

Finally, that home appeared... in Minneapolis, a solid 20 road-hours away. But the (awesome) adopters were undeterred by this, and so over Labor Day weekend we coordinated an epic Gremlin Launch.

We drove from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to shave a few hours off the adopter's driving time.

Pongu came along for the ride too, of course. We could hardly leave the needy little nerdpuppy at home.

Upon arriving in Pittsburgh, we met Jeff (the adopter) at the Station Square Sheraton, which (hooray!) allows dogs. Gremlin liked him immediately, which was a huge relief. She doesn't like everyone she meets (in fact, Gremlin torpedoed two prospective adoptions back in July when she made it very clear that she did not care for those people), and it would have been disastrous if she'd reacted badly to Jeff after all the trouble that everyone took to make this happen.

Luckily, it was love at first sight... possibly encouraged by my suggestion that Jeff greet her with a generous pocketful of treats, but even so, Gremlin seemed to take to him with an unusual quickness. Maybe she sensed that this was, at long last, Her Person.

Two weddings and a large family reunion were going on at the hotel on the same day we were there, so there were a LOT of people (who were drunk, rowdy people by the end of the night) wandering around in big cheerful herds, creating a little bit of a trial-by-fire for Gremlin with her new owner. Fortunately, she maintained good manners throughout, and didn't get overly stressed or reactive.

That night also turned into a trial because the room next to ours was occupied by a group of very loud, very drunk girls who partied noisily until 2 am, causing the dogs to alarm-bark every once in a while. But, despite a somewhat less-than-perfect trial night, Gremlin's adopter decided to keep her. Hooray!

They went home the next morning... and I have every confidence that this will (apart from the usual bumps and lumps of dog ownership!) be a happily ever after.

It's always a little bittersweet to give up a foster dog, especially one you've had for a while. Gremlin was with us for two and a half months -- more than enough time to move past the "omg you little monster you are destroying my house" stage and get attached. But seeing how happy she was with Jeff, even after just one day, takes a lot of that sting away.

Would that every dog could be lucky enough to have a home like this.

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