Welcome Home, Lexi!

LexiIt seems that a little over a month is about right for me to get another dog after losing a best friend. I am still in the weepy, sobbing stage of grief after losing Mugen. I’m still missing him every night when I go to bed and I miss him worse in the mornings because he’s not in my face giving me kisses. I started looking for a third dog for real about two weeks ago. I wasn’t 100% sure that I was ready, but then I met a puppy at a shelter, and while I missed the chance to adopt him, I knew that I was ready to make room for a rescue. I would love to be able to raise another puppy again someday, but that’s not where I’m at right now. I’m too heartbroken. I’ve raised two puppies and I lost both of them far, far too soon. I’m very gun shy about the idea of raising another puppy, but I do see another puppy coming into my life some day. Just not yet. Mugen, I know, would want me to keep trying and keep moving forward and most of all, he would want someone to give me kisses when I get out of bed in the mornings, since he can’t be here to do it himself. When I realized that, I decided it was time to start searching.

Before I did anything else, I sat down with Jet and had a talk. I asked him how he felt about having a new brother or sister. He gave me a kiss. From previous experience with Mugen and Lucy, I knew this was, “Yes!” Jazzmin was a little less convinced. It took a day or so of discussing the matter with her before she understood and was on the same page with me. Once everyone agreed and we decided it was the right time for all of us, we started looking. My daughter’s friends found various dogs for us to adopt. My son looked around on the internet and saw a couple of potential dogs. My husband grumbled every time I looked at Petfinder and talked about this dog, or that dog, because he was convinced we should talk to a breeder and get a puppy because that’s his favorite way to adopt dogs.

I was okay with just searching for a dog. I wasn’t in any rush to get a third dog right away and I figured it would fall into place as it was meant to. I also put a caveat on our dog search that I felt would slow things down a bit. I insisted that our next dog would be yellow. Yellow dogs are hard to find in my neck of the woods. They get adopted quickly, which is why I missed out on that chance to adopt that puppy from the shelter. The shelter didn’t do adoption holds and he was a young, very well behaved yellow Lab puppy. After I told a dear friend, Lucy’s foster mom, what had happened with the puppy and complained about feeling like I should have been reimbursed for the gas I wasted driving back to the shelter with my dogs in the car, she forwarded me a link to a dog on Petfinder. She was a pretty yellow Lab and the family life she needed sounded exactly like mine. She suffered from separation anxiety and her current owner had some lifestyle changes that had her leaving Lexi alone for long hours and this dog really needed a “permanent” home with someone who worked from home (or in my case, tries to work from home, but that’s not really the important part). The only problem was that she was in Seattle and I needed to do a meet and greet with Jet first to make sure that it would work. Jazzmin is perfect, she has never met a dog that she didn’t like, I wasn’t worried about her at all, but Jet can be a bit too much for some dogs to take.

The rescue that she was being placed through did not place dogs outside of their area when I contacted them in the past, but I figured I would email them, just to see. It turned out that they were willing to make an exception to their rule in this case because Lexi’s needs were pretty specific and they’d had a hard time finding the right sort of family for her.

Silly LexiThis is when I drug my family on a crazy journey that my husband swears gave him permanent hearing damage, gave me a kink in my back and traumatized my daughter and actually, for once in the history of his life, wore Jet out. We drove to Seattle. We were in the car with a very bored Jet for 5 and a half hours. When we finally got to the motel, Jet was so exhausted from all of the barking that he was doing in the car that he immediately claimed a bed and sacked out. We were relieved. We ate dinner in peace. Things were fine until about 1 in the morning, when Jet started jumping back and forth between the beds and by 2:30, my husband had had enough. He put Jet in his crate and I was terrified that he was going to bark and get us kicked out of the hotel. Jet surprised me though. He settled down and went straight to sleep.

The next day we loaded up on Starbucks, which I swear to you, and will swear forever, actually tastes better in Seattle than it does anywhere else in the world, and on Saturday morning, we took Jet to meet Lexi at a park. We introduced Jet and Lexi on lead. Lexi had one issue with Jet, she didn’t want him near the right side of her face. She didn’t mind if he sniffed her butt, or stuck his head in her crotch, or pretty much anything that you or I would consider a violation of common decency, but her head was an issue. I was a little concerned about that, but we spent an hour with Lexi and Jet hanging out together and over that hour, I became convinced that she was just particular about her face. This felt like something I could live with, I suspected there was more to the story with Lexi there, but I didn’t want to sit down and do a full body check on her in the middle of a public park. After walking around with her enough, and getting a massive sunburn on the back of my neck and shoulders, I finally decided. She was perfect. I wanted to adopt her. Bill loved her, Manda loved her, Jet loved her. When I took Bill aside to talk to him, he said that the decision was mine. Of course, he’s full of it. I know the man. I saw him light up when he saw Lexi. He knew from the second he saw her. I’m a bit more reserved than he is right now, but Bill has great instincts when it comes to dogs.

Jet and Lexi PlayingSo, I went and spoke with Lexi’s owner and told her our decision and asked her what she was thinking. She thought we were perfect for Lexi. We walked and talked for a bit more, then gave her some time to go home and say her good-byes to Lexi and make all of the necessary arrangements for ownership to be transferred over to us and then we met up with them later in another part of town. Lexi’s owner tried so hard not to cry when she handed me the leash, but she did end up crying. We waited until she left before putting Lexi in the car, so that she didn’t have to see that part. I cried too. Lexi has been loved for the last two years by a wonderful woman who put the needs of her dog first and called a rescue when she needed help and she was determined that Lexi would not go home with anything less than the perfect family. So few dogs have someone like that standing behind them. Lexi has been a very lucky girl since the rescue pulled her out of that shelter situation, very lucky indeed.

So here’s her story as I know it, so far:

Lexi is somewhere between 5 and 7. Her first owners got her as a puppy and then immediately had a baby. From here, Lexi got passed around. I’m not sure how many owners she’s had, but I can tell you that being rehomed is not a big deal to Lexi. She really knew what was happening when I was handed her leash and when we got back to our house, she walked in, not really like she owned the place, but like she knew she would be staying for a while. After getting passed around, she somehow ended up in an animal shelter when she was approximately 3 or 4 years old. This shelter caught on fire while Lexi was inside. She and a hand full of other dogs that were escape artists managed to get out of the shelter with their lives. After she was recaptured, Lexi was picked up by a rescue group in Seattle who adopted her out to her most recent owner and now, she is here with us.

Lexi is now a well-adjusted, somewhat precocious tomboy. She needs some obedience training. She loves to wrestle with Jet. She loves to chase squirrels in the yard and tried to climb up one of the hundred foot tall pine trees in my back yard, just to get at one. She is also incredibly girly and seems to prefer pink. She and Jazzmin get along like they are old friends and Jet has a wrestling partner again. Her issue with her face turned out to be due to an ear infection. We’re heading to the vet today to get this cleared up. Most importantly, Lexi will never have to shop for another owner again. Whatever happens from here, we will work it out.

So now, my house is full once more and the balance in my universe feels as though it’s been corrected.

Of course, Lexi is not a brown dog. I have explained to her that even though she will never be brown, unless she rolls in a muddy pond again, that’s all right by me, but the shoes she has to fill are vast. I have been, and am, loved by some truly amazing dogs.

Lexi seems to think she is up for the challenge.

Today, for the first time in almost two months, I woke up to kisses on my nose and cheek, so I think maybe, just maybe, she’ll do.

Welcome home Lexi. Settled in.