Sunday, November 06, 2011

Darwin's Rescue

Yesterday afternoon, Dave, Hypatia and I went to PetSmart to buy Hypatia a car harness. Two hours later, we left the store with a car harness, some puppy treats, a doggie toothbrush, two new leashes, two new dog crates - and a second dog.

As Dave said later, that turned out to be an expensive harness.

How, you may ask, did we end up adopting a second dog?

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and I'll tell you.

As we pulled into PetSmart's parking lot, we saw a van from the Lost Cat & Dog Rescue Foundation, a sign advertising an adoption event, and a lot of dogs milling around outside the store. As we walked into the store, I pointed out one pretty dog (not a Beagle) to Dave, who responded by saying, "I want another Beagle." The three of us went into the store, found the harness and puppy treats, paid for our purchases and left the store. As we crossed the sidewalk toward the parking lot, we were greeted by a beautiful 2 year old Beagle named Opal. I greeted her and she responded to me happily. I hesitated to adopt her, though, because I'd read that, if one is introducing a second dog into the family, it's often best to adopt one of the opposite sex from the first. Apparently, two dogs of the same sex sometimes have difficulty adjusting to each other, whereas opposite sex dogs usually get along quite well together. So, I said "Goodbye" to Opal and kept walking. About three dogs over, I saw a tiny male Beagle. Since he was smaller than Hypatia, I estimated he was 4-5 months old. I walked over to him and said hello, and he promptly jumped onto my lap and smothered my face with kisses. And stole my heart.

I called out to Dave, "Look at this little guy. What do you think of him?" Dave and Hypatia came over and Dave said, "Yes, he's cute." We spoke with his handler and discovered that his age is actually 8 months or so. As we walked to the car, we talked about whether we should adopt him. By the time we finished loading the harness and puppy treats into the trunk, we had talked ourselves into it. So, we turned around and headed back to the dog formerly known as Tommy and adopted him. While I filled out the paperwork, Dave texted Joshua and told him to come to the pet store when he got off work so he could meet the new dog.

As Joshua, Dave and I shopped, Dave suggested that we rename the dog formerly known as Tommy. I said, "Do you want to call him Darwin? That's a great name for a male Beagle - I like the wordplay involved." Dave agreed, and Joshua noted that it follows the trend of naming our dogs after scientists. Darwin is a smart boy and he already knows his new name. It's much more dignified than Tommy (which is a cute name, but not dignified).

Darwin had a rough life before his adoption. He's very undersized and was probably the runt of his litter. He was found as a stray about two months ago in Spotsylvania Couny, Virginia (a rural county located about an hour south of Washington, DC). We don't know if he escaped an enclosure and got lost or was deliberately abandoned. One of the guys from the rescue foundation said it's not unusual for hunters to abandon hounds who won't hunt. Can you imagine such heartlessness? It makes my blood boil!

Anyway, Darwin and Hypatia are adjusting to each other pretty well and they love playing together. When Dave and I take them for walks, they make sure the whole pack is close together. If either dog is in the lead and decides the other pair is lagging too far behind, he or she will stop walking and wait for the other pair to catch up. We're quickly becoming a cohesive unit.

Here's Hypatia. She's just over 6 months old, weighs 25 pounds and is probably fully grown now. Isn't she beautiful?

Here's Darwin. He's 8 or 9 months old and only 15.6 pounds. He's undersized and probably won't grow much, but we'll help him fill out to a healthier weight. He's small but spunky and he holds his own when he and Hypatia play tug-of-war.

Here are Hypatia, Dave and Darwin taking a nap this afternoon. It's a good thing we don't have Labs or Golden Retrievers - they'd never all fit on the couch!

And there you have it - the saga of Darwin's Rescue. Stay tuned for the future adventures of two suburban hounds.


Barbara said...

how wonderful to adopt another dog like that. I'm sure Darwin realizes by now just how lucky he is.

We adopted a new kitty last weekend. She's still a little skittish, but she's getting more comfortable with her surroundings.

Evie said...

Barb - I always felt that if we got a second dog we should get a rescue dog from a shelter. I think Joshua is tickled pink at having a second dog, especially since it's a little guy who really needed a home.

Dave said...

It was Evie's pleading eyes at the car that told me she wanted to adopt him. Our pups love playing tug-a-war, chase each other around, and cuddling with us and each other.

Dotti said...

The good thing about 2 dogs is that they'll play with each other instead of wanting you to play with them.

Thought: When Krista got married, we started cycling. When Jonathan got married, you invested in dogs. Hmmmmmmm.

Evie said...

The dogs prefer to play with each other rather than the people now. But they still know where to go for cuddles and treats.

Maybe the dogs are meeting some unseen need to nurture. You'd think that would have expired after raising two boys, but who knows? :) The dogs are pretty good exercise companions. We walk at least 1 mile a day with them and as much as 2 miles on weekends. It's easy to track the walking distance because a circuit around our block is exactly 1/3 mile. We definitely walk our dogs more than our neighbors walk theirs. We plan to keep that up even after they've outgrown puppyhood since we don't want to have a house full of obese people and dogs.

Catharine said...

I love the idea of rescueing an animal. Darwin looks like a real charmer. What a happy family!