Meet Maggie. Maggie is almost seven years old. She is a Golden Cocker Retriever Spaniel. Her old family has a baby who may or may not be allergic, and a new baby on the way, so they can't keep her. So she is coming to live with us.
Her old family lives in Waterloo, Iowa, and we are adopting her through the Waverly Humane Society in Waverly, Iowa. Waverly is a three hour drive, so this may seem a little strange, but in fact it's only 20 minutes from Grandma Walker's house. So we went down this morning, had lunch with Grandma, then went over to Waverly to meet Maggie. We weren't at all sure that we were ready to adopt a dog, but Maggie just stole our hearts.
She is very quiet and well behaved. Despite the chaos of four little Joggers, several other dogs, cats, and a few bunnies, she never barked at all. She knows "sit", and was happy to sit as long as she got attention. She's very cuddly and soft.
Waverly was the third shelter that we visited, and boy is there a difference. The Dubuque County Humane Society is a really big operation. They must have had 25 dogs ready for adoption. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable, but the noise and the smell were pretty overwhelming. The Iowa County (WI) Humane Society has very nice facilities, but Mrs. Jogger was a little put-off by the staff. They didn't seem to want to listen to her questions and concerns. The Waverly Humane Society is a small operation, literally operating out of this woman's house. But they still placed 70 animals in 2008, and already about 50 in 2009.
In my 44 years, I have never lived with a dog of any kind. So I have some learning to do. Mrs. J grew up on a farm, and had farm dogs, but never a house dog. I thought we were going to make it happily through life without ever having a dog, but the first Little Jogger, who was born wheedling for a dog, has finally prevailed. I think it may be a sign of advancing senility on the part of her parents.
We have several problems to overcome. First of all, we aren't sure how the cats are going to take it. Our plan is to keep Maggie on the main level, leaving the downstairs family room and bedroom as a cats-only zone. Since Maggie is a grown dog, and seems fairly obedient, this may just work. Not that there won't be some recriminations, especially from the chubby white cat. When our really old cat died last year, the chubby white cat immediately took up the mantel of Cat Curmudgeon.
The other issue is that we are going to go on a family vacation at the beginning of August. We had planned to wait to adopt a dog until after we got back, but Maggie had other plans. I doubt that we can leave her alone in what will be a new house, so it looks like a week in the kennel (or, as the Photographer would call it, Doggie Camp.) That's not ideal, but we just didn't feel like we could let Maggie go.
So, we are off on a brand new adventure, starting tomorrow. Since we weren't planning to adopt a dog at all, we just weren't ready to bring her home today. So we have to drive three more hours back to Waverly tomorrow to get her, and three hours back. She just better be worth it!