Monday, April 11, 2011

How I got here...

In 2003, I found a large dog running loose on a busy street (actually, he was in a supermarket parking lot on a busy street). Supermarket employees tried rounding him up because he entered the store through the self-opening doors. They took a dog lead from the store shelf and tied him in a room, then called animal control. He, however, had other ideas, and he chewed through the lead in less time than it takes to write about it and left the store, without buying anything. Store personnel tried again; same result. So I volunteered to take the guy to my office and redirect animal control there. Later, an animal control truck (air conditioned cages) pulled up, and I handed him over.

The following day, I (being in a worrier mode) went to the county shelter to check on him. He has fine, in his kennel, and waiting for his owner to claim him. At the same time, I noticed the dog in the adjacent kennel. Through the bars I could see that she was kind of grayish, and had a nice face. What impressed me was that she, unlike most of the dogs, was not jumping around in excitement or barking.  I casually read her kennel card, which had just a bit of information: she had been there for about a month, was a spayed female, and was, they reckoned, about two or three years old. Picked up as a stray. Somewhere. That was it. I left and went about my business.

Two days later, out of curiosity, I returned. She was as before, friendly, no fear of strangers, and with kind eyes (have you ever watched your dog change facial expression when she realizes that a stranger has noticed her and made a remark? Eyes soften, ears drop, entire face relaxes). I left. I had no intention in adopting a dog at that time, even though I was"dogless" (more on this later) in Tustin.

Saturday morning, I woke up and a thought flashed through my mind: if she was still there, I was going to adopt her. She was, and I did. And at my wife's suggestion, I named her "Shauna." She appeared as she is in my header photo here, a cross (or so we thought-- later on this) between a Siberian and a collie.

I had no idea how I was going to make it work, since for a couple of years I had been busy capturing feral cats from a colony across the street from my manufacturing biz, in an industrial area. I would trap them in a   humane trap, take them to a vet for shots, spaying/neutering if needed, care for any medical problems, and then releasing them where they had lived. When I found kittens, I fostered them and found homes for them. But I had kept three kittens, which were now cats. (This is irrelevant, but I had never before had a cat, and watching these feral cats emerge from hiding at night and scrounge for food tugged at my heart.) I had no idea how I was going to arrange things to add a large dog to the collection. I guess that sometimes, you just have to dive into the water without knowing how deep it is, and have faith that things will work out somehow.

And my new life began.

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