Archive for January, 2008

The Best Laid Plans Of Mice, Men, Cats and Greyounds

January 22, 2008

So there’s this poem by Robert Burns about how a mouse’s home gets churned up by a plough. In the end, he says “The best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry.”

Which makes you think hey, why bother planning if someone’s going to just come along and ruin everything with a plough?

Sure. Ploughs happen. But sometimes, just sometimes, in those rare instances, you plan and tinker and consider and worry something to death. And, miraculously, the sun shines on you and, voila, it pays off.

Such was the case with Llewis meeting Stella. We executed our meeting plan properly and Llewis didn’t exactly ignore Stella but he behaved. Specifically, Llewis behaved normally.

He was a little interested, a little irritated, a little scared, a little puffed up.  After a while we opened the crate door.

Predictably, Stella acted as if she’d found another littermate; she wanted to play. And Llew, via a swat on the nose, communicated that in no way, shape or form was he nor would he ever be related to her or any of her species.

Importantly, Llewis didn’t lunge, he didn’t puncture, he didn’t wreak havoc. It was as if he had assessed the situation, concluded that the crate wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon and decided that despite her inferiority, she was worth putting up with if it meant that he would continue to receive free room and board.  

So okay, maybe that plough eventually was headed right for us and would soon ruin us just like it did that mouse’s nest but, for now, for the moment, our best laid plans actually did us some good.


The Big Day

January 21, 2008

I often wonder how Stella felt on that hot August day when we drove the three hour trek, for the second time, to take her home. I could not seem to get beyond feeling bad for her: she’d be leaving her mom, her siblings and a large spread in the country for a two bedroom, one bath house in a concrete jungle.

Dee told me she would be plenty upset at some point and to comfort her–but not too much, “She’ll get over it”

When we arrived we were greeted by the woman running the facility. She seemed happy to see us—ecstatic even. I figured she’d been fantasizing for the past week about offloading each an every one of these hellions onto new caretakers.

The woman pointed towards the field where the pups were all turned out. We’d come to take Stella away and to rock her little dog world for good. But for the time being she could have cared less: she hung in the field, ate grass and did what dogs do best: she stayed in the moment.

I snapped a few photos, signed a stack of paperwork and then, for the first time, showed Stella her leash. She looked at me like I’d just landed from Mars.

Weighing in at about fifteen pounds, Stella sat in my lap the entire ride back. I thought we’d gaze into one another’s eyes but I realized this was impossible to do if one or both parties were dead asleep. I kept myself occupied by thinking about the next challenge ahead: Llewis. I was hoping Llewis’ disinterest in Bally would generalize to all puppies. But I wasn’t 100% counting on it.

After many days of strategizing, our game plan for introductions was as follows:

P. would go up to the house first and put LLew in the bathroom. He would call on his cell, let me know the coast was clear and then I would come in with Stella.

Stella would get a quick and hopefully urine free tour of the home and then she would be whisked out the back door for a pee. Stella would then be brought back and we’d put her in her crate.

Llew would be released. And he would then have run of the place. He would be unable to kill her, we were pretty sure, if she were protected in the crate.

As we got closer to home, Stella began to wake up.  I thought again about how she would never see the green fields in Auburn, about how she wouldn’t wake up the next day and be able to play with her littermates. About how, in one car ride, her life would be radically changed.  

But while I wondered and worried and pondered how everything would go down, Stella simply yawned, looked up at the traffic, and then fell back to sleep in my lap. She’d deal with her new life as it came—one moment at a time.