Last month, a few days after my sweet Nellie died, I took a detour at the animal shelter through stray dogs. Small dogs and puppies are housed in a room near strays where potential adopters view the pups from a windowed hallway and subsequently fall in love at first sight. And that’s where I first saw her.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t need another dog. Nellie is irreplaceable, as are all my pets. But I remembered a cute adoption dog I’d seen recently and thought I’d stop and say hello. Turns out he’d already been adopted, but as I went to leave, there in the last run sat a tiny red dog politely staring back at me with equally tiny eyes. Her kennel card said “Phoebe.”
Phoebe’s feet and chest are white, with a stripe running from her nose to the top of her head and with ears far too big for her. In a word — adorable. So I said, “Well, who are you?” Not a peep escaped her mouth, which, by the way, sports an overbite. Still, she inched forward, her fluffy tail swaying back and forth like one of those feather dusters.
Phoebe’s bio stated she’s two-and-a-half, a sweet girl and house-trained. Staff and volunteers gush over her simply because she’s so damn cute. So I entered her kennel and sat down. Just like that she was in my lap. Moments later she crawled up to my chest to rest her head on my shoulder. Oh crap. She was trying hard to make me love her.
Resisting her advances to win me over, I put Phoebe back in her bed and walked away, waiting for her to start yapping. She’s part Chihuahua and we all know how much they like to be heard. But again, not a sound. As I headed out the door, I heard her whimper. But to my credit, I kept on walking.
Phoebe may have been used as a breeder, having 2 litters in 10 months, the last litter producing 6 puppies. How that 8 lb. body held 6 pups is beyond me. Turns out her guardian relinquished her, her pups, and her previous puppy; all were immediately adopted once available. But Phoebe needed to dry up from nursing before being spayed, so she waited at the shelter. I thought, well that won’t do.
The next day, I decided to foster her. Why have her bide her time alone in a kennel for 10 days? May as well join my 3 cats, 3 dogs and foster cat until she’s spayed. What’s one more? Not knowing how she’d do with cats, I told staff I’d return her if she seemed predatory. So I took her home, where she initially seemed a little too interested in the cats. Uh oh.
Luckily, not long after introducing her to my menagerie, Phoebe fell into step with my dogs, Callie and Wally. They immediately accepted her, seeming thrilled to have another playmate.
But jealous Skip pretended Phoebe (who literally ran circles around him) didn’t exist.
As for the cats, Jack treated Phoebe like an old friend, not the least bit bothered by her nudges to play. Oliver immediately swatted her, asserting his dominance and Savannah basically ignored her. Perfect.
I guess by now you figured out I adopted Phoebe. Although she doesn’t, and wasn’t meant to replace Nellie, she brings a youthful energy into the house. Perhaps it was meant to be I saw her that day. What isn’t meant to be, however, is her name. Phoebe had to go. I considered Nugget, Cricket and Pickle, but ended up choosing a favorite candy.
Friends, I’d like to introduce you to Taffy.