Saturday, July 28, 2012


It's been almost 3 months since Maggie died. It simultaneously feels like ages ago and just yesterday. A few weeks ago, Mari sent an email out with an appeal to find a home for Bingo, a 7-year-old black lab mix. The owner, Jessica, was heartbroken to rehome her, but she has to move to Colorado to take care of her aging grandparents; in particular her grandmother who had broken both arms prior to a lumpectomy surgery. Her grandfather is allergic to dogs and they don't have a backyard.

I didn't think I was ready for another dog. I'm enjoying the freedom of cat ownership; no walks, no rushing home, no worries about thunder storms, etc.  I dutifully FW'd the email to my animal friends but kept thinking about her:

Photos that came with the email. Bingo nestled in with one of Jessica's room mate's min pins. Obviously plays well with others.

Chow mix?

Melty picture that made me go all soft and gooey, of course. Those eyes!
 Of course I have a soft spot for black labs; all my dogs have been black lab mixes.  And even tho I kept telling myself It's too soon after Maggie, I had ventured over to Petfinder. I had even found a rottweiler that I was smitten with and had called about, but he had been adopted the day before I called.    I guess it wasn't meant to be. And Bingo was in the back of my mind. There had been a mention of food aggression and she was scared of thunder storms, but had a Thunder Shirt like Maggie. While I was sympathetic to Jessica's dilemna, I also was mindful of not taking on a dog with issues. 20 years ago, before Barkley, I'd had a very difficult dog named Bailey. She has her own chapter in my book-in-progress, Healing Dogs with Love. In fact, when I was looking at M&M, Miss Ruthie told me to do a home visit with the caution, "Remember Bailey." All of this was in the back of my head. But then I had just gotten a book on Amazon, and this popped up on the Thank-you-for-your-order page:

It's a sign!  So I emailed Jessica and sent her a link to my blog. Mari gave me a glowing referral. And I set up a time to meet Bingo. She was really sweet and I really hit it off with Jessica and her room mate, Karen (also a massage therapist). Jessica told me that she'd been praying to St. Francis to help find a new home for Bingo, and when she went to my blog, there I'd had a picture of St. Francis in a blog post. For both of us, it felt like this was meant to be. She would stay with Jessica for 3 more weeks and  then I'd get her. 

After my Bingo vizzie, I popped over to Mari's. I told her about Bingo and commented on how small she was compared to my other dogs; she's only about 60 lbs. Mari pointed out that my house was smaller now, too. I hadn't thought of that!

The day I picked up Bingo, it was raining. We all had convivial chit-chat and then a tearful good-bye, followed by an uneventful ride home. She's the first dog I've had who could jump up in the car by herself without the aid of a ramp or horse stairs or coaxing with treats. She nestled in to the back seat and we drove home in the rain. When we walked in the door, Tabby came to greet me as she usually does and Bingo lunged at her and snapped. Gahhhhhh!  

And that was the beginning of my OMG! What-have-I-done?! panic. But we took a walk down to the lake and she was very well behaved. She did go after the chickens across the street, but ignored the cows. We came back and Tabby was sitting on top of the sofa. Growling and hissing. Oh, no.

I gave Bingo some reassuring pets and fed her. Tabby had taken to walking on whatever surface she could find to be above Bingo; a path from the bookcase to behind the TV and up to the counter. Where she sat and growled. It had been a long day; 4 hours sleep and rainy-achey weather and well--just not the best day. So I went to bed. After Maggie died, I decided no more pets in my bedroom. I'm a light sleeper and they wake me up. So I put one of Bingo's bed outside my door and went to bed. She barked at 11:30p and woke me up. So I took her outside. Then again at 2:30 and then again at 5:30 barking. And she was whining--exactly like Bailey. OMG!  Not another Bailey! Not a good night. And in my sleep-deprived stupor, I emailed Jessica and told her this wasn't going to work out.  

I'm such an idiot.  

I had an email exchange back 'n' forth with Mari and said we have to find another home for her.  I was thinking about Bailey and how hard it was with her. What am I going to do? I can't have another Bailey. Somewhere I felt prompted to do some writing/editing of my book. And this is what I had written:

All dogs want is to love and be loved. 

Gah! I'm such an idiot!  

I had not given Bingo a chance to adjust. I'd just taken her from her family and she was in a new environment with a growling-spitting cat and me who was not focused on her, but myself. We went for a walk and I heard, Bingo is not Bailey. AND you are not the same person you were 20 years ago.  

I'm sorry, Bingo. I'm SO SORRY!  I sat with her on the floor and petted her. She looked at me with those liquid brown eyes. I will spend the rest of your life making it up to you. I wrote an email to Mari and Jessica, basically apologizing for being such an idiot. I feel so bad for putting Jessica thru all that drama. How horrible to love a dog and then worry about her in her new home with someone who might not appreciate and love her as you do. I'm so sorry.

As I write this, Bingo is snoozing on the floor by my feet. Tabby is growing used to Bingo and has stopped her automatic growling. She even jumped down from the counter to Bingo this morning and almost rubbed up against her. Progress!  Bingo slept thru the night and didn't bark until 8:30 this morning. We went for our morning walk to the lake and when we come back, she gets a treat. We are settling into a life together. It was a bumpy beginning, but I will do my best to give her the life she deserves. I love this sweet girl. 

Zzzzzz . . . .

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