Someone asked me about the story of how I got Dante. Those of you who are sick of my dog stories may skip right over this. The dog people – please continue.
The last time I took Mike to the vet, I met a woman there named Daryl and we struck up a conversation about poodles. Come to find out, she ran Connecticut Poodle Rescue. We had a very nice conversation about our favorite breed of dog and I left there with her card in my pocket. Little did I know I’d be looking for it in less than three months.
So then I lost my Mikey. And I felt that I wanted to wait for a while before I got another dog. But pretty soon after that, I came to a firm realization. I am a woman who lives with a dog.
My old friend Cindy dropped me a note and said you should fill out the application for a rescue poodle so when you’re ready, the paperwork will be done. So I went on line, found the app, and filled it out. Then I sent a separate e-mail to Daryl and told her about Mike. She sent me a nice note and I sat back to see how I would feel.
Then at the beginning of my fourth week without Mike, my mother asked me if I was going to Maine and I started to cry. And I told her I couldn’t go to Maine without my dog in the back seat. In addition to our multiple trips to Lake Ebeemee, Mikey and I had traveled all over the country: Baltimore, Tennessee, Texas, New Orleans and Florida. If he was in the back seat, I was never alone. And if he was in my condo, I was never alone here either. At that moment, I knew it was time.
So Wednesday night, May 22, I went to http://www.poodlerescuect.org/ and saw a couple of standard poodles that had not been there two weeks before. And I sent Daryl another e-mail. My phone rang 2 minutes later and I had an appointment to see her the next afternoon to meet Dante.
I called my mother and asked her to come with me as she had been my poodle good luck charm because I had gotten my first poodle from her – a toy named Dave, and she had been with me when I went to get Mikey. And I wanted to make sure Dante got along with Barkley, my parents’ poodle, because we spend a lot of time together. So the three of us – me, Mom and Barkley – headed out to Naugatuck to meet Dante.
The meeting between Barkley and Dante went very well. Barkley sometimes lacks manners and peed on Daryl’s deck. She wasn’t one bit fazed as she has seven dogs – and yes they are poodles – all size and shapes and colors.
So I brought Dante home. And the first night, I wondered what I had done. He seemed so unhappy. But he had had one helluva week.
Dante’s mother had to give him up because she was forced by financial circumstances to sell her home and she could only have one dog where she was moving. And she had another poodle that was 12 years old and she kept her. What an awful choice to have to make. But I am telling you, I am very lucky she did.
From Dante’s original home to Daryl’s to his foster home to the vet and then had a grooming and then back to his foster home and then picked up again and home with me. It was raining Thursday night but I took Dante out at least 6 times before midnight. He did not pee, he did not poop, he did not eat. He did not get on furniture. He hardly made eye contact with me. I was supposed to go out to dinner with my girls but I canceled. I couldn’t leave him alone right away.
I took him upstairs with me to go to bed. I was picking up my room, there were shoes all over and I was neatening up a little and he sat and looked at me. I folded up a nice, clean, thick quilt next to my bed. When I sat on my bed, Dante became instantly airborne, and landed on the bed, lay down and went to sleep. OK. This was good. He slept all night right next to me. When we woke up in the morning, he seemed happy to see me. He was making eye contact, and he wanted to go outside for a walk.
Dante was uncivilized on a leash and was busy pulling my shoulder out of its socket. As the day went on he seemed better and more interested in his surroundings. He was coming out of his slump but he still did not eat. Friday night I had a bowl of chicken soup and he was very interested in that so I gave him some. He gobbled it up – the first thing to cross his lips except water since I had brought him home the day before.
On Saturday morning before I got up, I was lying in bed thinking about what would make him eat and all at once it occurred to me what he wanted, and that was canned dog food. I had a couple of cans and opened one up. He inhaled it.
Things went steadily uphill from there. I took him with me when I went to Petco and bought his name tags, one for home and one for Maine. He was pulling me all over the store and one of the salespeople saw him and introduced us to PetSafe Easy Walk harness. Problem over – I kid you not. Just like that. That made me happy because I was wondering how I would be able to teach this old dog (he’s 5 1/2) a new trick.
Today is five weeks since I lost my Mikey. I will miss him and his happy party-boy personality. He was my guy. Dante is more serious, not a rowdy dog, gentler. Today is our tenth day together. And I can tell you, we love each other. We are getting to know each other. He is different. He squishes himself into little places. He doesn’t sprawl on the couch. He likes to go behind my chair and make himself small. He likes food but he is not the food whore that his predecessor was.
But it’s all good. Different, but good. Dante and I – we are working it out. We spend a lot of time walking around the neighborhood. Dante gets along well with other dogs. He has no desire to be the alpha boy. He has adjusted and is obviously happy to be here with me. I am happy too. I am not lonely. I am a woman who lives with a dog.