Monday, March 09, 2009

Adoption proceedings

We have been so busy lately with readying ourselves for our new house that my blogs have been few and far between. I hit on a number of things to blog about nearly every day, it just seems to be a matter of having the time to sit down and write about it. Our house is a mess of boxes and whatever time I have in front of the computer is quickly translated into a need to get up and put things in boxes out of fear that the day is going to arrive that the movers will be here and we will not be prepared.

In the midst of all of that some of you know (those of you on Facebook mainly)… and some of you don’t know… that we will be adding to our family.
And this will be happening potentially this weekend.
We have one last hurdle to clear in our adoption process… a home study.
I can't help but compare this process to our friends’ adoption process of their daughter from India and am happy it is moving quickly. But at the same time I am amazed how long our process is taking given that our addition to the family runs on four legs and not two.

Looks like Winny, huh? But it's not.

Meet "Skeeter".

My mom told me about picking her cat out at the pound and the works of art who came in to adopt at the pound and how no one is checked thoroughly – like a couple who brought in a dog to surrender it and left with another dog they “just couldn’t resist”. Umm hello. You dropped a dog off. This isn’t Blockbuster movie rentals.

I can understand why the process to adopt a child is ridiculously long as far as dealing with lawyers and sometimes other countries and all the hoops and hurdles. We are talking about a person here. But when it comes to a dog? Really, how much worse can adoptive wannabe doggy parents be comparatively? (Hoping that doesn't make me sound insensitive to dogs.)

About a year ago we filed application with the BSCA (Belgian Sheepdog Club of America) for a Rescue dog. We filled out the paperwork and then did an hour long phone interview with a volunteer from BSCA. She also talked to our vet and Vargasgirl confirming that we were up and up people. Not the type to take a dog and abandon or abuse it.

I don’t think I ever really thought anything would come of our application. We were told Rescue Belgians are few and far between because as a purebred, they are a sought after breed. They are not a common breed and people who seek out Belgians as pets most often have experience with the breed and not to mention the copious amount of money a purebred Belgian puppy costs. You know those wasteful spending reports? The ones that cite your city spending ridiculous amounts on a police dog? They aren’t that far off base given that many are Belgians.

This one is Winny. We bought her for $50 out of a box of puppies at 10 weeks old. She isn't purebred - she is 75% Groenendahl and 25% Siberian Husky - or at least that's what we were told. Her Belgian stands out big time, even people who know Belgian's don't usually pick up on her bit of Husky until told and then you can see it in her face, she doesn't have nearly such fine features of a Belgian.

We were told there are more people who want a Rescue Belgian than there ever will be dogs. Plus the fact that we requested strict screening of any potential dogs – they have to be friendly with children, other dogs and a big nearly 20 lb cat. Rescue dogs often have issues and so the likelihood of all this coming together might require an act of a higher power.

So I guess when I saw Skeeter from just outside Boise, Idaho on the BSCA webpage last week I thought she was a long shot. There for about a millisecond I told myself we have so much on our plate right now, how could we adopt another dog too? Then the whole act of a higher power thing kicked in and I knew I had to at least try.

I e-mailed hoping to get our name in the queue and was told our application must have been lost, she couldn’t find it (which was why we hadn’t received a phone call). At this point I admitted my husband what I had done and waited to have him roll his eyes at me. But he agreed that it seemed right and if we don’t jump on this now, we may not get another opportunity. It wasn’t long before they found our application and we had phone interview number two.

That was almost as long as phone interview number one.

This Saturday after swimming the coordinator for the Pacific Northwest phoned and chatted with AB. Her concern, that was not really addressed in our phone interviews, was about our dog Winny. How will Winny handle a new dog?

AB tried not to laugh, remembering that none of them has met our big soft hearted lump of a dog. They don’t see how invigorated and happy she is to meet other dogs on our walks. They don’t see that at nearly age 10, a companion would do her a world of good and may reinvigorate (we hope) our old girl. AB talked about how well Winny will do with a companion and agreed that yes, certainly she could surprise us and reject another being moving in on her turf, but it is unlikely and something we would have to deal with regarding any dog, like one of these furrballs that was born about 4 weeks ago instead - whose webpage kept beckoning me.

This one looks JUST like Winny did as a puppy.

I guess he satisfied the coordinator since our next phone call was to the foster mom in Boise.

This call I made. She told me about "Skeeter", she is crate trained, but not housetrained. (Ugh.) Was probably a malnourished backyard dog and really just needs some love. She strives to please and to interact with people – to the point of chewing through her tie to go be near people a few weeks ago. She is very intelligent, learned to sit and heel within about 30 minutes. She told us they had rejected one adoption request to ship her to the east coast and another adoption request from 100 miles away because the woman didn’t have a fence. She also then asked if we could take her this weekend?

I wasn’t quite ready for that since I was hoping to be in the new house before taking her, but since that package was presented to us and includes transporting the dog here to minimize our travel, we will take it. Dogs are resilient, I am sure moving into a new home and then into another new home in less than a week will be the least of what "Skeeter" has been through in her 15 months.

We had our home study this evening where Winny was tested at the new house with another young dog. She passed with flying colors and the home study volunteer said a few times he wasn't quite sure what he was doing there, the house was great, yard was great and Winny obviously loved companionship. Now Winny will have a sibling… or a daughter… or best friend... hopefully not nemesis.

The last bit to figure out (aside from what color of collar to buy her) is her name. One of my coworkers (who does dog rescue) insists that we change her name from "Skeeter" saying she will learn quickly her new name and the poor dog should not be known for the rest of her life as an annoying bug. I kind of agree, it would also symbolize a new start for her. “Skeeter” isn’t a name I would have picked out, but is better than some Leif has come up with so far. (Ba-doopa, Parumba and this morning found Leif very obsessed with genitalia in coming up with names… lovely.) AB and I discussed Freya this evening as an option (sticking with the Nordic theme).

Any name ideas that do not involve references to genitalia (aka four year old potty humor) would be most appreciated!

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