Monday, February 15, 2010

When Cranky Met Sally

This photo was taken just a few days after we got Sally in December 2005.
What a tiny little peanut she was!

First, some background. We got our first dachshund, Sadie, soon after we moved into our home almost 21 years ago. When Sadie was 15, we figured she didn't have too much longer with us, so we started looking around for another dachshund to adopt. Skip had been looking around at the websites of different breeders and had come to love the piebald coloring. She found a 1 yr old piebald female that a breeder in Texas was selling. Skip worked out the purchase, and Ruby was shipped up to us via Continental Airlines, which has a good animal transport program. I picked Ruby up at Boston's Logan airport in February 2005.

Sadie and Ruby got along well. Ruby is very mild-mannered and so was Sadie, so there wasn't any jockeying for primacy. Sadie lived until May, dying shortly after she turned 16. We had loved being a two-dog household so began the hunt for another dog. Skip found Sally on the website of the Texas breeder and we arranged to have her come up again via Continental. She was 4 months old when she came to our home.

Sally was scheduled to arrive in the late afternoon. I headed over to the Continental baggage pick up to meet her. When they confirmed who I was, they brought out a tiny pet carrier. I was shocked at how small it was, it was more appropriate for a tiny cat than a dog. I looked inside and there she was! A tiny, shivering puppy.

I took the crate to the car, and placed it on the seat beside me. I cranked up the heat. When we got Ruby, the breeder had cautioned that we not take our new dog out of her crate until we got home. This would avoid any opportunity for the dog, who could be frightened, to run off and get lost. But in this case, I didn't take that advice. Here was a 4-month old puppy, who'd just flown up from a warm climate to a freezing cold place on a 3-hour plane ride. I couldn't leave her cold and scared in the crate all the way home. I opened the crate and took her into my arms. She clung to me. She was beautiful, tiny and sweet. I unzipped my jacket and held her close to me, so she could get some warmth. I could not put her back into that crate for the drive home. I knew it wasn't the safest thing I'd ever done to drive the hour home from the airport holding a tiny puppy, but I did anyway. When we got home, she didn't want to be far from me, and stayed in my arms most of the evening.

With that rescue of Sally from the crate, from holding her close to me for the drive home, from keeping her with me through the first evening, a strong bond was formed. Sally wormed her way into my heart right from the first moments of her life with us. I liked to joke that she "owned" me as I was completely helpless to resist her. And, the feelings went both ways. I was definitely her number one, and when she was nervous, she wanted most to be with me and get comfort from me.

Dogs bring so much joy to our lives. We were lucky to have Sally for even a short time.


Bibliotekaren said...

Sweet picture, bittersweet story. Cyberhugs.

zoomdoggies said...

Thanks for sharing such a nice tribute to your canine alter ego. She was one lucky pup.

kmilyun said...

Awe so cute - nice of you to share how you and Sally first bonded.

Cranky said...

Thanks, friends.

awb said...

My parents often wished they'd never taken me out of my crate! Thanks, that was a sure to make you smile story.