Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stella Goes Home

Last Sunday we did our second adoption event with WAGS -- the last event before I flew to my parents' home for the holidays, and Stella's last chance to find her own home before Christmas.

For a while, it didn't look like she would get one. Several people stopped to ask about her, and one couple who considered her last week came back for a second visit, but in the end they all passed her by. Some had small kids, some weren't quite sure they were ready for a dog, and some just decided on a different cute puppy in the room. (In one case, this caused me to breathe a quiet sigh of relief -- the prospective adopter had been candid, even proud, about using what I would consider excessive physical corrections to train a previous dog, and I would not have been comfortable adopting Stella out there. Fortunately, the adopter decided to pass first.)

But then, just as I was starting to give up hope that Stella would find a real home for the holidays, one last family came into the adoption center. The younger of their two sons saw Stella wearing her bright orange vest, pointed at her, and asked "Is that dog for adoption?"


I asked Stella to Sit and Down for them, and the two boys came over for a closer look. Although Stella was a little nervous about the crutches (she'd never been in such close proximity to walking aids before, and she was already tired and stressed after a long day of being patted by strangers), she performed admirably on cue, and was cautious but friendly when asked to interact with the kids. The younger boy asked her to Sit, and she did.

And oh, how his face lit up when Stella did what he asked. I could see the magic happen. "Mom! Dad! This dog listens to me!"

After that it was mostly just trying to figure out whether this would be a genuinely good fit, puppy love aside. The parents had been looking for a larger dog, and there was a bit of hesitation when they found out that Stella was most likely part pit bull, but the kids were totally won over and they carried the day.

(This picture is not great because (a) I have zero photography skills anyhow; and (b) Stella was so uncomfortable about being crowded toward the crutches that I just took a couple of lousy shots and called it a day, rather than continue to stress her. So that's why she looks slightly nervous in this photo.)

Stella cried some and tried to come back to me when it was time to go home with her new people, which leaves me feeling a little more heart-achy than usual this time, but I'm confident that she'll soon bond strongly with her new family and hopeful that she's found her perfect home. The boys were realistic in their expectations (dogs will shed, there will probably be some potty accidents as she gets adjusted to her new home) and enthusiastic about training her, and she is a smart puppy who will thrive on the attention and continued teaching.

So that's the end of our journey with this magical little monster. Now the plan is to take about a month off to finish my current nerdbook and work more intensively with Pongupants the Fearful, and around the end of January we'll welcome in the next mutt for a crash course in civilization.

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