Seven Year Itch

I was wide awake at 3:30am. Suffice to say, nobody was up. For reasons not entirely unknown, I found myself on Craigslist. I hadn’t been on Craigslist in at least five years. I know some of you are on there everyday, but not me. Just don’t use it. Or do I?

So I was on Craigslist. And again, I really don’t know what was behind all this, but next thing I knew, I was looking at a picture of a dog with an ad that read:

2 year old Red Queensland heeler. Great dog for a family or being a companion for a female preferably. Quinn is smart, sweet, affectionate and active. I’m asking a $100 rehoming fee just to know she goes to the right family/ person.. Give me a call and we can chat further. I would prefer she go where she would be the only dog. She is a gem and I only want her to go to the best home possible.

Hmmm. Rehoming fee, and a desire for her to go to the best home possible. I found my first loophole and knew I could have the $100 rehoming fee waived because I didn’t have a home. The part about going to the best home possible didn’t really phase me either. Sure a dog might care about a home. But more important than the home itself is the master. Because home, for the great most part, is where the master is. The homeless canine that gets to spend 24/7 with his or her master is the privileged canine. The canine that gets food in the morning, food at night, and a couple pats in between, could care less about his or her 4 bedroom 2.5 bath house near the park.

When my brother woke up, and after making coffee of course, I told him to go to Craigslist and pull up the ad. Neither of us completely understood the line about being a companion for a female preferably, but I decided to reply to the ad to say that I am interested. I basically told them that I am going through the breakup of a lifetime, and that I could provide a wonderful home for the dog.

After we went back and forth for a bit, she asked if I could meet at New Leaf on the westside of Santa Cruz CA. She was coming from Bonny Doon. We agreed to meet at 11am.

I arrived at 10am because I had nothing else to do. Again, I was in a world of hurt, and I felt like I needed some serious grounding. This felt much more than just being ready to have a dog again in my life. It had been seven years since the M & M show were in town, and once Madison had passed in September 2008, that is when I began my winter migrations to  Southern Mexico. Well all that came crashing down in a foul way, which opened up the possibility of ‘dancing with the wolf’ once again.

At 10:45am, two young women, with two dogs in the back, pull up right next to my big white van. It all felt like a real moment of truth. We introduced ourselves to one another, and they let Quinn out of the car. I got down on my knees, looked the other way, put my hand out, and that was how it began.

Immediately I noticed the golf ball-size knot around her left knee area. One of the young woman said that Quinn injured her growth plate when she was a puppy, but that it’s a non factor. That it was scar tissue that had grown around the plastic rubber band that never held in place after the surgery. But again she assured me that it had been checked a number of times and the general consensus is that it doesn’t bother her, and that surgery to remove it, albeit a pretty routine surgery, wouldn’t be necessary.

I then noticed that the inside part of her right leg wasn’t growing hair. They said that Quinn was caught in barbed wire some time back, but that too was and is a non factor. She also had an inch long scar under her left eye, but I didn’t even bring it up. Fact is, my mind was racing and my heart was broken. It was a surreal sort of morning.

One of the girls said that they were going to go inside New Leaf for a cup of coffee and maybe I should see if I could bond with Quinn while they were away. They left. Quinn didn’t like it, but dealt with it. I was still down on my hands and knees. I was trying to get this dog to look at me, but she was intent on watching the girls walk away.

I scooted closer to this canine, and slowly began to make eye contact with her. I kept my hand on her underbelly, and slowly moved my head closer to her head. I went to pet behind her ears, and that’s when she nipped me in the face. I knew right then an there that this attempt to bite my face marked the beginning of a relationship that was sure to flourish.

Ok so now i had this 40 lb Queensland Heeler on a leash in a parking lot. She wasn’t so good on a leash either. She was actually pulling pretty hard. I was like, “Aren’t you a heeler?” And she was like, “Not when I am on this fucking leash with somebody I don’t know!” I took a deep breath, and let it go. I totally understood this canine from Australia. Knowing this, I opted for no commands, no discipline, no nothing.

The girls came out of New Leaf. I took the leash off Quinn and let her run to where the cars where parked. She ran straight there. When we all regathered, I asked the girls what they wanted to do. The one girl said that she was hoping that I would agree to a one week trial with Quinn. She suggested that I provide daily updates, pictures, etc..  Basically just see how it goes.

“When do you want to start?”(gulp) I asked.
“What about right now,” she said.

So now I had a dog. The seven year itch was being scratched.  She sat in the passenger seat. I drove straight back to my brother’s home in Aptos, CA. When I pulled up to the house, the whole family was outside in the driveway. Everybody’s eyes lit up. Out of thin air, I had just come home with a dog. Hey everyone, this is Quinn!