28 April, 2010

All Hail, Chico

The skies and clouds of Chico continue to delight and uplift me.

Tonight, I am witnessing rainbow #4 for this new year.  We had a huge windstorm, rain, and hail storm today.  Moments ago, the skies opened up to soak us; and, in appreciation, we now have another beautiful rainbow shining over us at 7:25 p.m. PST.  Amazing.

As much as I love this rainy, blustery weather, this week, it is not on my list of desireables.

You see, last Saturday, Don and I adopted a new puppy.  Or perhaps, more accurately, a previously owned (?) pooch that was being housed at the Butte Humane Society.

We had been searching the internet --Craigslit, Petfinder.com and Adopt-A Pet for finding the new canine member of our family.  It was getting a bit frustrating trying to find the right sized, right age and temperament that fit our needs and desires.  I almost got obsessed with the search until I decided to seek prayer support on Friday night from a colleague and let it go.  On Saturday morning, I awoke fully determined that if there was no specific 'sign' or information, I was going to spend the day cleaning out my closet instead of scouring the web.

And there it was.  The e-mail with Adopt-A-Pet Search Finder results for the weekend. The very first photo was of a young female at the Butte Humane listed as "Fraggle."  My heart leapt and I knew she was the one.  I couldn't read her bio fast enough.

Four month old (weren't we looking to adopt an older dog?) Cairn Terrier who came in as a stray on April 10th and never claimed.  Friendly with people, children and cats.  Cats.  The key word.  We had been looking for a pooch that would be friendly and playful for for our kitties, especially the teen cat, Beauregard.  I read as fast as I could and placed a call to the shelter. So what that it wasn't even 8:00 a.m. I wanted to get the adoption ball rolling.

In perfect Chiconess, a young woman returned my call in less than a 1/2 hour.  She just happened to be in her office at the computer early.  We talked and she explained how to download and fill out the pdf adoption application. In our conversation about getting approval from our landlord to her I find out that this woman's mother attends my church; and that she went to high school with my landlady's daughter.Oh, I felt the animal angels smiling down upon me.

By now, Don was awake and I showed him Fraggle's photo. He, too was smitten. We filled out the application and mailed it before breakfast.  Lindsey called later to say that we passed musster and we made an appointment for 5:00 p.m. to meet the puppy.  Puppy???!!!

Feeling euphoric I set off in a frenzy towards cleaning the house.  After all, it needed to be as clean as possible and ready for our new arrival.  You would have thought I was on Red Bull while expecting my in-laws the way I was bustling about.  Yet I knew that not only was this the right thing to do for hygiene, if we brought home a new dog I would want to spend all my time with the pooch and not with chores.

Don was great in his understanding and in helping. He ran errands so I could keep cleaning.  I could tell that he, too was excited. He even drove over to the shelter in advance so we would know exactly where we were going for our appointment.We discussed name options that we would give to her and let her decide which one she wanted. Then  we told Beau and Belle that this might be the day and this dog might be the one we bring home.  Beau's demeanor certainly showed that he knew something was up or that he thought his mom was possessed by Mr. Clean.

We arrived early to the Shelter and met one of the nice staff members, Carrie. She went in the back to retrieve Fraggle. Carrie came out holding this itty-bitty jellybean and I knew it was love at first (well, actually second) sight. Even though she was far tinier than her photo--guess the camera really does add pounds-- she was even more adorable.  Fraggle was as amiable as they described and seemed non-plussed by the fact she was living in an animal shelter because in her world, everyone was always happy to see her.

Carrie put a leash on her and we went out to the yard area to meet and greet.  Fraggle frolicked and was so friendly to us both.  Any resolve we had about adopting an older or bigger dog dissolved in the sweetness that this puppy exuded.  As she was running about, I heard her rasping and coughing and brought it to Carrie's attention.  It turns out that Fraggle has a case of kennel cough and would require medication.  That also meant that we could not officially adopt her while she required medical attention but we could foster her till she received a clean bill of health.

After getting all the papers, instructions and her medications, Don and I stopped at Petco for some food, supplies and toys.  It's been years since I bought dog food and I was spending inordinate time reading all the ingredients to be sure we got her started on really good food and that it was free of corn so that she would not develop any allergies later in life.

We arrived home and Don went into the house first to tell the kidz.  Then I carried her inside and found Don holding Beau.  I saw Beau go rigid and as we got closer he began to hiss and growl and squirm and jumped out of Don's arms. I immediately took the little one outside to the yard.  Beau planted himself at the screen door and proceeded to puff up three times his size.  I thought I was watching the feline version of "American Werewolf in London" as he bared his teeth and began to drool.  Don was surprised and concerned and mistakenly leaned down to calm him and Beau attacked him leaving Don's arm and leg with huge gashes. 

Watching horrified as my husband was bleeding; and my loving kitty spewed at us while I held the puppy in my arms for protection lest Beau tear through the screen.  Belle seemed more afraid of her brother, Beau than of the new arrival.  I felt so helpless not being able to support Don or calm Beau.  I ended up sitting on the cement outside for hours while things calmed down.

I called friends for prayer support. Rev. Karen came over and loaned us a dog crate because we knew that we would have to sequester the puppy in our bedroom till we could figure out how to introduce Beau to her.  Not only was she too small to compete with Beau in his current state but her recent surgery required her to have minimal activity.  So much for 'Welcome Home.'

Beau stayed in his frenzy for most of the night.  PuppyGirl was content to stay close to us and didn't even mind sleeping in the crate. Around 2:00 a.m. we heard one yip and we got up to take her out being careful that Beau did not follow.

Our time with the puppy allowed us to try on the names we had chosen and a few dozen more. Although most people are familiar with Cairn Terriers from Toto fame, our girl is a strawberry blonde. In fact, she looks like a cappuccino with a foam swirl on the top of her head. Or a creme brulee. I was describing her to Jessi and she was the one who suggested we call her "Chai" not only for her coloring but for my penchant for soy chai lattes. She responded best to that name and so did Don.

Immediately, I went on the web to research the meaning of Chai and learned that in Sanskrit, the word means "consciousness." Perfect.  And further research revealed that there was a saint named Chaitanya who wrote the Sanskrit paean, "Hare Krishna."  Chaitanya Converse.  My little puppylatte, Chai.

Fast forward from Saturday night to Wednesday.  Don and I are typical sleep-deprived new parents who have the added challenge of seeing that their little one manages to safely get outside to pee in-between the capricious storms. Belle hides out in the guest room; Beau has holds court in the front rooms and Chai, resides in her bedroom castle with frequent visits from us.  Not an ideal situation as yet, but a safe and healthy one till everyone gets settled.

All hail, Chico. All hail, Chai.

City Slackers

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