Meet the newest member of our family! Yep, this sweet pup is now officially part of our merry band of misfits.
Back in the fall, you may or may not remember that I visited my friend Kathy, who helped me seam together my Cranberry Custom Fit Sweater. Kathy told me on that day, "Oh by the way, I found your next dog." As it turns out, Kathy's husband Sam (who I haven't met yet) is a volunteer for a local group who assist blind people. He knew a couple who each had guide dogs who were getting ready to retire them, and Kathy thought either dog would be good for us - already grown, well-trained, and well-behaved. So I told her to let me know if anything developed.
To back up a bit, a couple of months ago, The Tim had told me he thought he was ready to adopt another dog. Now as far as that goes, I am not picky at all. The Tim had many things on his list of the perfect dog, and among them were that a) the dog not be too old, so we would have it with us longer, and b) the dog not be a really big dog, since it became difficult to lift Dug when he got really sick. I could appreciate this, and so did not point out any dogs I knew that were available that fell into these categories.
About six weeks ago, Kathy told me that the dogs she had mentioned were going to be retired very soon, and gave me the number of the man in the couple, named Jeff, and said to call him. So I gave him a call, and we talked for quite a while. Never having had any reason to really think about it, I was surprised to learn that guide dogs were "retired." But it turns out that it's fairly common. A perfect guide dog has to be on top of its game, and though Jeff's dog was still perfectly healthy, he said the dog had slowed down some, and he had applied for a new dog. Apparently, you are only accepted into a new session when they think they have a perfect dog, based on your profile. Jeff expected to go to the session in October, and the dog, named Hamlet, would probably come for a visit over a summer weekend, to see how we all thought it might work (or not).
The kicker of course: the dog was 9 years old, and a Golden Retriever.
When I reported this part to The Tim, he said, "Oh that would be great - almost like another Dug!" Which of course meant that his list of qualifications meant nothing in the end. :-) (Also, I think the English major in him was thrilled.)
Jeff called about three weeks ago, with news that he had been contacted to say that they found him a perfect match dog but instead of October, the session he was in would start today - way ahead of what we all had expected! So we quickly arranged for Hamlet to visit the weekend after July 4.
Surprisingly, all went well. By the time the weekend was over, Pip and Jack were *very* close to being friends with Hamlet, and he was clearly interested in them, but not aggressive in any way. The Koodle, who of course thinks of himself as a real badass, spent the weekend in the basement like the chicken he really is ...
Saturday afternoon, we headed over to NJ where Jeff and his wife live, to pick up Hamlet to join our family for good. On the one hand, I felt bad because of course we were taking him from the home he knew for most of his life, complete with his people, and Karma, the black lab guide dog who belongs to Jeff's wife (and who is already placed in a new home as well, once she goes to her session in October). I think Hamlet is still a bit confused, but he is adjusting, and is getting a TON of attention, walks, treats, and love. The cats - because, well, cats - have of course forgotten they ever met him, and so we are starting again from the beginning. But in no time I'm sure the household will be back to the usual routine.
Though just to let you know, Pip is already friends with Hamlet because why not if there is someone else to narc on? He would however, like you to know in case you did not that there is a DOG in the house and apparently the DOG will be staying and did you know the DOG drank some of Pip's water?????!!!!! Trust me, we're hearing all about it ...
Hopefully Hamlet will decide our house is a good place to be and he will be happy that he joined the family. We couldn't be more thrilled!
I have to warn you, there will be more stories about him in the days to come, and you can expect to be subjected to many more photos - so prepare for the deluge. :-)