Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Introducing: Spencer & Abby!

After the loss of dear Kirby last month, there was a hole in our hearts. Ayhan and I tried to decide if there was an appropriate mourning period before we might bring a new dog into our lives. We recognized that there are animals out there now that would benefit from our love and care, so why not make it a happy holiday?

I started the research process on petfinder.com, looking at both rescues and pups on ebay classifieds. We were in hopes of finding another rescue, but the application process can be so cumbersome that you might as well be adopting a damn child, so we were as open to a newborn.

After two weeks, we found ourselves with two viable options: first, a litter of maltipoo puppies from a private home in East Harlem and second, a pair of adult Schnauzers rescued from a puppy mill in Missouri.

Fortunately, because we are both stay-at-home daddies and have experience with a rescue, we moved to the top of the list with New York-based In Our Hands Rescue, following a warm, enthusiastic conversation with the organization's Jen.

Last Thursday I visited the 10-week-old puppies, who, as you can see here, are ridiculously cute, with the face of angels. One in particular was gregarious if not overly animated. The appeal: Ayhan's love for Maltese and my adoration for friend Liz D's smart, well-behaved poodle Coco. Put them together: maltipoo.

Then on Saturday, the Schnauzers' foster mom brought over the bonded pair of 4-year-old rescues, a male and female, so that we could all sniff each others' butts. I was admittedly cautious because of a horrible experience last year when we rescued a second maltese as a playmate for Kirby, who turned out to have Satan in his soul. He was ultimately returned to the foster (where, a year later, the poor critter is still on the adoption roster). I was scarred by that heartbreaking ordeal—both emotionally and where the little fucker bit my hand more than once.

From the moment the Schnauzers entered our apartment, they were lovebugs. Despite their upbringing as little more than breeding machines, they were surprisingly socialized, curious, unafraid, affectionate and so sweetly bonded to one another. We took them for a walk and they approached other dogs with no aggression or fear. They welcomed petting from everyone they passed.

The foster mom Susan agreed to let us keep them for a few days—unorthodox, but I again was reluctant to commit on the spot after Satan's spawn, and with Thanksgiving coming and the fact that she lived two hours away, Susan relented.

Fast forward three days: I took them to the vet for a check-up and to have stitches removed from just being neutered. Thumbs up!

As the pair became more acclimated, they played together, rolling around on the living room carpet. They continued to be so very sweet and loving, wanting nothing more than to pile together on the sofa and be petted. The boy talks with little grunts, the girl just stares at you with beautiful warm eyes. They don't yap! They're good on leashes. Calm, though personable. And housetraining: We're working on a few slips with patience and a steady hand.

Decision time: It's a go. It's so a go. And time to grant them names (sadly, for the first time in their lives). Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to introduce: Spencer and Abby. What a wonderful gift. It's a very Happy Thanksgiving in the household. And a month from now, hopefully their Schnauzer beards will have begun to grow in, a la Santa Schnauzers, promising a very Merry Christmas, too.