WANTED: one adopter. Must be a long-distance runner or hiker or have a securely fenced, large yard. Must be a patient person with a good sense of humor. Must be smart and not intimidated by a smarter dog. Must be creative and willing to adapt to my needs. Must not be a person who is overly attached to their belongings and/or is a neatnik and never leaves valuable items lying about. Must be kind and understanding and willing to accept that we all have our own histories, habits, and hang ups. Must be a one-dog kind of person. Must be allergic to cats (okay, maybe not allergic just not inclined to ever own a cat). Proclivity for road trips and adventures, a plus. Adopter should be looking for a dog who not only provides excellent and enthusiastic company, but also personal protective services. Lifetime commitment required.
That’s the ad that Gala would have me place. We discussed it on our long run this morning.
She is breaking my heart.
She is so incredibly awesome and yet, she will need the perfect adopter. She is not an easy dog, in any way (except the fact that she will eat ANYTHING, including croc straps and rivets, charger cords, books, footballs, and pillows). That said, I am quite certain she is one of the coolest, smartest, most athletic and most charismatic dogs I’ve ever encountered.
My family is torn. We love Gala and want to help her find her forever home, but living with Gala is stressful. This past week my college age son came home and Gala considered him a threat. For over a month, she has been beyond welcoming (slurping faces, leaping into laps) of every person she’s met, but for reasons only she must know, she was terrified of Brady and considered him a threat worth addressing.
Now, in case you’ve never met my oldest son, let me explain that there is probably not a less-threatening young person around. He’s not large or noisy or intense. He is soft-spoken, easy-going, and quick to smile. He was excited to meet Gala, who he’d heard so much about. Her reaction startled all of us.
At first, I thought she was protecting our house from an intruder, but then other people stopped by and we had the same happy let-me-kiss-your-face Gala. Nope, just Brady. She’s getting better with him. OPH training sent some suggestions and Brady’s been trying to do a few of them. Gala is softening, but she’s still on alert when he is in the room. Her reaction is a reminder that we don’t know what she’s been through. Perhaps Brady reminds her of someone she’d rather forget.
I think Brady will win her over, but my bigger fear is when his friends begin arriving. Our house is a bit of a hang-out for him and his friends. I worry that the influx of young men will overwhelm my Gala.
(note: last night just such an encounter happened when seven or eight other young men descended loudly upon our house. Whether it was the sheer number of them or the happy sound of their laughter, Gala offered nary a snarl.)
She has made chew toys of several pairs of crocs, my book of killer sudoku puzzles, seemingly hundreds of pens, and plenty of more valuable items. We are all being schooled in putting our belongings where they belong, but it has led to frustration and occasional outbursts. Yesterday Gala slipped out the door and treed our elderly cat. Her intensity can be entertaining but it can also be exhausting.
Yet we are all enjoying her – I run with her, Nick runs with her (sometimes the same day – and she never misses a step), Ian even dances with her.
She is the first foster dog that Addie has taken to Starbucks (her place of employment) for a pupcup (she discovered Gala doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth). Gala makes us smile more often than she makes us yell, but how long we can do this is anybody’s guess.
I know if I ask, OPH will move her to another foster home, although I also know that could take some time and meanwhile Gala would be left in boarding where her energies will be trapped in a restrictive setting.
So, what I’m doing is waffling.
One moment – like the moment when she scaled the baby gate and dove into the living room to join us as we watched a movie on Saturday night, leaping over the coffee table and knocking over my water glass – that moment was one where I decided that YES, she is going to another foster home.
And then, another moment when her energy stills and she lays her sweet head on my knee and waits for me to pet her; or the moment when she greets my mom, licking her face and twirling circles of happiness; or the moment when we are running at sunrise and her steady pace and happy tail inspire me to keep going – those moments I think, NO, we can deal with her, we can hang in long enough for her person to find her.
This weekend Nick and I are going away. We’re traveling to my favorite place – Front Royal, Virginia – for three days of wine tasting in beautiful countryside with some of my favorite people. Gala is going to boarding while we are gone. And then when we return….I still haven’t decided.
The best solution would be for her forever family to come and get her. I know they’re out there, but I also know these are special people we are talking about. Her adoption might take a little more time than it usually does, but one thing I do know is this dog is worth waiting for.