We are three again.
Meet Layla, a good-looking girl who just melted our hearts with her big brown eyes when we stumbled across her on petfinder.com.
We had talked about waiting until spring for a new dog, but I made the big mistake of checking the local shelters’ websites. As my longtime friend Cindy said, “The heart wants what the heart wants.”
We first saw her photo on a Sunday night. She has Nick’s eyes. And she looked smart. Australian Shepherd was listed as her dominant breed; I’m partial to herding dogs. When I showed her photo to Mason, I was really just sharing a photo of a really good-looking dog. I didn’t expect his response.
“Let’s go get her.”
The shelter required a 4-page online application. As we filled it out that night, you would have thought we were applying to get into Harvard. Of course she would sleep inside, on her own bed. Of course we would train her. Kennel? Never!! We argued over how to best word all of our answers so they would know we were devoted dog people.
The application submitted, we were now stuck in a waiting game. The shelter said it took 1-2 days to review an application. But Monday was New Year’s Eve, so the shelter was closed until noon Wednesday. For two days, we stared at her photos. I was convinced someone must have adopted her over the previous weekend. She was young, adorable and one of the few non-pit bulls available at the local shelters.
On Wednesday morning, I woke up and turned on the phone to stare at her photo again. But this time, it read “ADOPTED” under her photo. Heartbreak!! Mason moped all morning. I told him I’d call the shelter when it opened at noon just to see if they got our application and see if we might be “cleared” to adopt in the future.
The shelter worker put me on hold. She was confused, because she thought "our" dog was still available. What??? Yup, apparently someone had been approved to adopt her, but never showed up. Loser! SHE WAS STILL AVAILABLE!
Mason was in the middle of bottling beer, and you know how important beer is in this household. It didn’t matter. We bolted out of the house and down the mountain to the shelter in record time. Thirty minutes more, and we had a dog!
She came into Chattanooga’s main shelter as a stray, so we know nothing about her history. They named her Layla, and adopted her out, but the family who took her quickly realized they didn’t have enough time for her, so back to the shelter she went. Then for some reason, she got moved over to this other, smaller, shelter and renamed Lucile.
Alas, she’s now back to Layla and she’s all ours, for almost two weeks now. She’s very smart, with good food motivation, so she has taken quickly to training and building trust/loyalty. But she also has a strong predator instinct, which adds challenges when you live, without fencing, among all sorts of wild animals, from squirrels to deer to bobcats.
She seems a bit more like a dog's dog than sweet, timid Nick. In one week, she's destroyed several toys that Nick had for a decade. Still, she seems new to toys, but we're thinking a Frisbee may be in our future.
As for Australian Shepherd, we’re doubtful. Australian Cattle Dog more likely. She’s got beefy legs and thick short hair. Eventually we will splurge on a DNA test for her. But, of course, it really doesn’t matter. She already has our hearts.
She’s just over a year old, so we have lots of good years ahead of us.