I always said that when I retired I would get a dog.
When working, I just wasn't home enough to give a dog the attention needed. In the meantime, I would get my dog-fix by dog sitting Goldie, the neighbor's old yeller lab when Holly was working her weekend social worker shifts. Goldie and I played fetch for hours in the schoolyard across the street. We were 'best buds.'
So I retire and sell my house. I move halfway across the U.S. to the Pacific Northwest and get settled in. I started thinking about getting my very own dog.
Initially, I concentrated on finding a shelter dog. I frequented websites and made a number of visits to two local organizations. I waited in line and filled out forms and was interviewed. I was discouraged from adopting dogs I was considering, and encouraged to adopt dogs that I did not want to consider.
I became discouraged and started doing internet searches. I took an on-line survey at a national veterinary organization website, "The Best Breed for You." I provided information about my lifestyle and preferences, and the website suggested about five breeds that would be a good match for me. In the medium-size range there were two that appealed to me, one was Cairn terrier. I liked both breeds. So it sounded pretty good to me. I knew I didn't want a slug bug. I wanted an energetic, eager and bright dog that would take me for walks and keep me active in retirement. So began my quest for a partner in my golden years.
I finally fixed on getting a Cairn terrier when I found a rescue network website. I filled out an on-line form. I had a phone interview and a home inspection. I passed all this with flying colors so I scanned their website each day looking for an older dog needing a home. As I continued to get more information from the organization it became apparent that it would be a long, long wait for a dog. It was likely that the dog would come from quite a distance away and I would need to fly him/her to Oregon. It was likely that the dog would likely have medical/behavioral problems some possibly severe. I shared my discouragement with the ladies in my Tues-Thurs coffee club. One lady told me that her friend in Washington State had a Cairn and I should talk with her about how she got him. I phoned the friend and we had more than one good phone chat. She got her Cairn from the rescue network but said that there were other avenues I should pursue. She suggested contacting the Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club. I found their website and contacted the Breed Rescue coordinator. I shared the particulars of my quest with her and she said she would let me know of any older dogs needing a home.
Kaplooey! Two weeks later on a Sunday evening she phoned to say that she just had a call. An owner was looking for a home for an older dog, a former champion. "You must phone right away, tonight even. Phone as soon as you hang up the phone." And she gave me a phone number. I phoned the owners and was invited to their home, 3-hours' drive from my home. "Come any time." I said I wasn't doing anything the next day. They were delighted and invited me to come for lunch. "In fact, pack a bag and plan to spend the night." I was hyperventilating when I got off the phone and I was so excited that I didn't sleep much that night.
The next day I was driving out of town at the crack of dawn. I was so excited. I didn't really know what would transpire at the owners' home. I figured that I was going to be interviewed by the family and meet the dog. For their part, the owners were thinking that if I seemed a suitable companion for their dog, they would let her come home with me.
To make a long story short, Megan and I hit it off right from the start and she did come home with me. And here we are almost two years later, two matronly ladies. We are 'best buds.' We get up in the morning and we waddle out to the kitchen where we have our little morning routine…put on the coffee, fresh water, out to pee. On nice days we sit on the front porch bench and Megan growls when she sees Big Boy, the neighbor cat, padding down the sidewalk across the street. I drink my coffee and do rub-a-dub (also known as 'head scratchies') for Megan.
After our usual morning porch-sit, we get ourselves together and take our morning constitutional. Megan takes the lead and she has her favorite walk-about route. And that's just the beginning of our day together. All is good in the world!
Megan & Me