Thursday, November 18, 2010

Morning Reflections on Perfect Solutions

I stand in my back yard, hands encircling my hot cup of coffee, and watch the sun rise over Saltspring Island, turning the waters of Osborne Bay a golden yellow. It is a crisp, frosty morning, the harbinger of the winter mornings to come. The clear sky overhead belies the snow in last night’s weather forecast.

The puppies have been fed and their nighttime mess cleaned up, and the three big dogs are enjoying the sunrise with me. Lucy has the zoomies, tearing around and around the yard like a whippet chasing a lure. Occasionally, she pauses to playbow in front of Sadie who humours her with a game of kissyface or some happy, growly jump-and-bump.

This is the last full day at my home for five of the puppies. Tomorrow, they will make the next step toward finding their families. And a day or two after that, the remaining five will move on, too.

They are truly lucky little pups. Instead of going to the shelter, all ten are moving to Karen’s and Norm’s Puppy Prep School. Okay, I made that name up – but it suits the situation. (Regular readers will know Karen from the Wednesday Walks, and be familiar with her many dogs, especially the passing of Pearl and the loss of Luger). Karen and Norm have fostered literally dozens of pups, and have recently renovated their detached garage into a comfy sitting room/dog room/puppy training room.

There, where Karen and Norm spend much of their time, the puppies will have a cosy place with a dedicated puppy yard, and they will learn to go outside to do their business. They will also receive their first shots, be cared for after their spays/neuters, and be available to meet with approved applicants for adoption. It is a perfect solution which keeps the pups in a home environment and continues with their socialization. Thank you, Karen and Norm, for providing them safe haven.

As I return to the house from my morning reverie, Lucy charges through the door ahead of me and tears off after the cat. The honeymoon is over – Lucy is a two or three year old dog with all the exuberance of youth, the cat is pissed off, and my old girls are not sure what to make of this new, young, joyful dog. Charley opts to stay outside – like me, she enjoys her morning hour of quiet reflection – and Sadie dodges left and right to avoid Lucy’s joyous jumps and playful nudges as we negotiate the hallway back to the kitchen to refill my coffee cup. Allie, the cat, retreats to the top of the fridge, safe from bouncing butternut squashes named Lucy.

Though the pups are leaving, Ms. Lucy will stay with me for a bit longer. Her milk has nearly dried up, and once that is complete she will be spayed. Applications for her adoption will be reviewed, potential adopters will meet her, a homecheck will be done, and the transfer to her forever home arranged - all done with Lucy’s needs at the forefront. She, too, will be kept in a home environment rather than returned to shelter life. Another perfect solution. Well, perfect for Lucy - though I think Allie, Charley and Sadie would disagree.

One creature's perfect solution may be another's challenge. But we've made it this far, and together we'll see Lucy and the pups the rest of the way to their forever homes.

If you, or someone you know, wishes to adopt a pup or to adopt Lucy, can make the 15-20 year commitment required to give a dog a home forever, and can provide excellent training, healthy food, appropriate vet care, and a safe and loving environment for this new family member, please apply to the Cowichan and District SPCA. Lucy and the Butternut Squash Kids will be ready for adoption once they have been spayed/neutered.

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