As I write this, Sugar Plum is creeping through the ever-lengthening backyard grass, crawling on her belly like a combat soldier, inching toward the small dove that has come down to peck up the seeds the finches are spilling from the feeder. The dove looks her way, then continues to eat, the gift of a free meal overcoming her good judgment. If you are a bird lover, no worries—Sug will not actually try to catch this bird as it is too large for her comfort zone (and even if she did ultimately sprint for it, she has grown too old to catch anything but the slowest of birds.
I am always glad for the company of Sugar Plum, my little dog-like cat. She follows me around the house when I am home, purrs me to sleep at night and then remains curled against my side. She loves the new house and the yard, and she seems happier here. She has been more playful and less skitterish of late.
But I long to expand our tiny family with a dog... or two.
Three weeks ago I filled out an online adoption application for one particular dog available through a rescue in Anaheim. She’s a corgi/sheltie mix—just like Harper (if you’ve read the dog book). I happened to see her profile on Petfinder, so I sent an email to the rescue group, asking about her temperament around cats, and I also filled out the application. Nothing. No response. Three weeks.
This is not the first time I’ve had this happen with a rescue group, and I find it distressing. Such groups are always pleading for money, it seems—and rightfully so, for those who are doing the hard work of rescuing dogs and finding them permanent homes. But too often I encounter groups that are run more like secret clubs whose members choose to snub those who are not deemed worthy. It’s frustrating.
I’ve also made the rounds of some of the local city shelters. I can never stay long. I walk through quickly, looking for that special spark in a dog’s eye… and I remember that Alex and Nicki, both pound puppies, had no spark at all; I found them (a year apart) curled in the back of their kennels, ears drooping, tails tucked.
If I wanted a Pit Bull or a Chihuahua, I’d pretty much have my pick of whatever size, gender, age, color or temperament I might want. The shelters are filled with them. But I’m not a tiny dog fan, and I am reluctant to bring Sugie home a Pit Bull to boss around, because Sug will be the boss, whatever dog is here.
Maybe the answer is to start with a puppy. But puppies are easily adopted, and I would rather rescue a big goofy looking dog, one that might not have a chance otherwise.
Alas, it’s a tedious process. In the meantime, I’m watching every episode of The Dog Whisperer and Leader of the Pack I can find. And I’m taking good care of Sugar Plum.