Sunday, November 15, 2015

Going to see a man about a dog

Yesterday, we "went to see a man about a dog", or in other words, went to a dog shelter to see whether there was a dog available for adoption which met our requirements. When we spoke to the supervisor on the phone in order to check whether they had dogs (the previous day we had phoned somewhere else and were told that they had no dogs for adoption), we were told very enthusiastically that they had 120 dogs and that we were very welcome to visit.

The shelter is about 20 minutes' drive from our home, coincidentally where my brother in law and his family live. This is a rural setting and the shelter has plenty of room. When we arrived, we saw many dogs milling around outside, playing or resting, along with about ten people. Most of the people actually work in the shelter; there were only a few outsiders checking adoption. Unfortunately, of those 120 dogs, about 110 are male and we want a female – this creates fewer problems with the other dogs on the kibbutz. First, we checked the dogs which were enclosed in pens (or cells); these were all male. Of course, all the dogs are of mixed breed; it's difficult to imagine how a pedigree dog would end up in such reduced circumstances, and anyway the folk wisdom is that mixed breeds are hardier than pedigrees.

We did find two bitches outside: one was almost all white and one was almost all black.  After some thought – and taking one for a short walk – we decided to adopt the black one ("Cora" – probably someone had been watching Downton Abbey). She's a size or two smaller than Mocha, and about a year and a half old. Although the supervisor tried to tell us the dog's history, it was very hard to hear for all the barking (we had come at feeding time). We think that she was brought up with a family and then something happened. The supervisor was only too willing to allow us to take the dog for a test period, between a week and a month. If everything works out, then we will notify the shelter in order to receive the dog's documentation. We will also have to ensure that the data saved in the dog's chip will be changed. This idea of a test period is very good; it takes a few days for any dog to get accustomed to new surroundings (especially after the somewhat less than salubrious surroundings of a dog shelter) and some prospective adopters have to get used to the idea of having a dog.

Yesterday evening went reasonably well: Cora was very quiet, but of course she needs to get used to us and the house (and especially to the smell of a non-existent dog). We went out for three walks yesterday evening and one this morning, so that she could get used to the regular walking path. She didn't sniff very much, and more importantly, did not excrete. Unfortunately, she did empty her bowels this morning – but inside the house. Hopefully these behaviours will change quickly. I haven't heard one bark although she did cry when she was left on her own this morning (on the balcony, not inside).

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