Carla, Oh Carla It’s Time to Go Home

I’m hesitating to write this because the last time I wrote about a dog getting adopted before it actually happened, it didn’t happen. But in the spirit of moving past my silly issue with jinxes, I’m writing anyway. (Hopefully I don’t jinx Carla. Wait, there is no such thing as a jinx, right?)

Way back with on our first foster dog Galina, I remember having this same exact moment of insight. I was frustrated and sad for Galina when one after another potential adopter didn’t pan out. Galina was with us four weeks. And when her forever family finally turned up it was clear why she’d been with us for so long and why so many potential adopters backed out – because she had to be available when her real forever family was ready for a dog. Galina’s adopters were so clearly perfect for her and she was such a perfect fit for them, it all made sense. I could see that some kind of larger plan had been hatching and that brought me peace, as it was painful to let her go after an entire month.

Carla has been here for three months! She’s truly become part of the family. We love her and treat her like our dog, even though she’s not. She’s someone else’s dog. I’ve had to tell myself that every day (well almost every day, sometimes she does get on my nerves with her barking and bigness, but only for a moment) because every day that she’s been here, I’ve had to make a conscious decision not to foster fail on her. I remind myself of all the other dogs to come. Dogs who need us. And I have held on tight to the truth that Galina’s adoption taught me – I am not the only good home for a dog. There is someone out there right now who is looking for a dog like Carla. Someone meant to have her.

The coolest part about the special someone named Carol who is adopting Carla is that Carla recognized her. Let me tell you about last Sunday when Carla and Carol met.

That morning I checked the last facebook message from Jamie, an OPH volunteer who had been messaging me the night before about her mom visiting from Indiana who was interested in possibly adopting Carla. When the original message came in I was at a 50th birthday party for a friend and neighbor and I may or may not have had entirely too much sangria. I had this crazy memory that someone wanted to meet Carla. I scanned my messages over breakfast and told Nick that yes! Someone was coming to see Carla that morning!

I’ve always felt that Carla understands English. There are certainly times when she chooses to play her dog card and feign ignorance, but most of the time she knows exactly what I’m saying when I ask her to please get down off my bed or please move her large self out of the way because she’s blocking the hall. When I finished breakfast Carla was waiting at the door to the deck. This is her signal that she’s ready to eat. If we don’t catch on, she’ll let us know verbally that the service is lacking. We feed her on the deck because she has an issue with stealing her friend’s food. So she eats on the deck and Gracie eats inside.

After she’d eaten (takes less than a minute normally), she did something strange. Normally she gulps down her food and then stands at the door waiting to be let back in so that she can double check that Gracie didn’t forget to eat every morsel of her own food. But on Sunday, she finished eating and turned and walked to the edge of the top deck and stared out across the hollow. She didn’t bark, she didn’t move, she just sat there, like she was waiting for something (or someone). Eventually, she lay down, but not in her normal dog-as-rug position, but in an upright, alert pose, still watching. It went on so long that Nick went and got the camera and took her picture.

DSC_9263

Carol and Jamie and their family arrived about an hour later. Carla had eventually retired to her couch and I was outside weeding when they pulled up the driveway. I went in to get Carla, but she was already at the door. I clipped on her leash and she walked out to greet them, as if she were expecting them.

Carol was delightful. She’s recently retired and hasn’t had a dog since her beloved beagle died five years ago. So she knows a little about hound dogs. She spent some time with Carla, and I enjoyed watching her grandson explore our property – chickens! Horses! Puppies! He even liked our hill! Great kid. I go for the enthusiastic ones.

Then Carol decided to walk Carla down to the end of the drive and back. They took off before I could warn them. Our driveway is a steep hill. When I take Carla out for her morning runs most days she is excited and hurries down the hill. In fact, most mornings I have to give a steady whoa on the leash all the way down. Remember those sangrias? Well, I hadn’t been up for running (or much of anything else) that morning, so Carla was about four hours late for her daily run. I was sure she would drag Carol down to the bottom, possibly injuring her in the process.

Here’s what happened – Carla walked slowly and carefully beside Carol all the way down. Carol did say she looked down the road longingly, but then she plodded right back up the driveway.

We talked some more and Carla remained at Carol’s side. Carol told me about her other grandson who lives with her in Indiana where he is attending college. She said he’s an outdoorsman and loves to hike and would truly enjoy Carla. (And Carla will be all about this young man and the streams and wilderness he might introduce her to!) She also mentioned her teenaged granddaughter who lives there with them and loves dogs. So in addition to Carol, Carla would have two “kids” all to herself!

Carol and Carla
Carol and Carla

As we talked, I told her how much Carla loves kids and how if she was still here in the fall I’d planned to see if she could be a Tales for Tails dog for our local library. (The dogs come in and the kids read to them. Carla would be FABULOUS at this. She is happiest, lounged out in the company of children.)IMG_1724Carol mentioned that she might like to explore training Carla to be a therapy dog if she took her home. Being retired, she has plenty of time now for new activities. A shiver went through me – Carla would rock as a therapy dog!

I stressed how much daily exercise Carla needed and Carol said, “She’ll be good for me. I need that, too.” She said ever since she retired, it was easy to stay home in her jammies all day (something I’m looking forward to when I retire!), but she knew she should get out. Carla would be the incentive.

The whole time we talked, I felt almost teary, but these were tears of happiness. Carla was a perfect fit for Carol. She’d be loved and adored and useful, too. She’d help Carol as much as Carol could help her.

Indiana is a long way away. Carol said they’d take the drive slow and stop lots. I warned her that Carla likes to look over your shoulder and drool as you drive. Hopefully, Carol won’t wear her good clothes.

Now this post is dragging on way too long. But I wanted you to have the full story. Some of you have also grown attached to Carla. I wanted you to be as sure as I am that she is finally going home to her forever home. The home she was meant to have. The home that took three months to find. Congratulations Carla (and Carol)!

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Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and occasional cowgirl who lives on a hillside farm in Southern York County, PA. You can find information about my books and all my writing adventures on my website CaraWrites.com.

7 thoughts on “Carla, Oh Carla It’s Time to Go Home”

  1. I’ve seen dogs choose their owners a few times myself. It’s a wonder and a miracle and truly brings tears to your eyes. Thank you for being Carla’s champion!

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  2. We have been following the story of Carla and couldn’t be happier that she found her forever home! That sweet girl deserves all the happiness in the world! 🙂

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