Ev and I are getting each other a Christmas present after all.
It involves a Christmas Eve shopping trip to Rural King and a four hour drive to St. Louis and back to pick it up, and her name is Cooper ... and, of course, there's a story behind her.
Cooper is a seven year old female weimaraner who was surrendered to a rescue organization a year ago and placed in bad foster care. A different rescue organization got her in August ... hairless and nearly starved to death with a large hematoma on one ear ... and put her in veterinary care. After a month with a vet she was placed back in foster care, where she's bounced around a bit waiting to be adopted. She's gained her weight back, had her ear operated on and is trying to grow back her hair. We found her on the WonderWeimsRescue website last weekend and applied to adopt her. I got the official notification yesterday that she can come home with us.
We're going today to buy her a dog bed and some bowls and toys, and we'll drive to Missouri on Friday to fetch her home.
This is how we acquire pets, and these are the kinds of pets we acquire.
Our elderly dog, Sage, was adopted from the Humane Society when she was a year old. She'd been adopted and abandoned three times before I got her and she'd been beaten so much that she was hand-shy and had become a destructive chewer. She didn't chew up underwear, she chewed up upholstered furniture and berber area rugs. It took six months to cure her and turn her into a wonderful dog.
Cuppy, the one-eyed cat, was purchased from a breeder when she was "retired" from a breeding program. She was infected with Feline Herpesvirus and had a chronic upper respiratory infection. The FHV eventually led to corneal ulcers and the loss of her eye, and requires us to clean up copious amounts of cat snot, but she's worth it.
Melon Kiwi was a greasy gray and black kitten living under a truck in the parking lot of the local barbecue joint when Ev found him, bloated with worms. He grew up to be the handsomest and fluffiest black and white cat in the world, and Ev's soul mate.
Brian and Slipper were the products of the unplanned teen pregnancy of Carrie's cat, Princess Sophia, who started out life as a runty and boneless kitten found in a box in the PetCo parking lot. Brian isn't very bright, probably owing to some lack of oxygen during his traumatic birth, but he's our world-class string game guy and we love the tuxedo boys to pieces.
Mrs Underfoot was an outdoor cat who was abandoned when her people moved away and became the neighborhood cat. She was living on mice and birds and the kindness of strangers when Ev's ex-husband brought her to us the summer before last and asked if she could live in our yard. She moved indoors last winter after six months of coaxing ... and an ice storm.
When Ev and the kids talk about the pets they've had in the past, they all have stories. They were snatched from a sack of puppies tossed in a pond, picked up on the side of the road, plucked out of a litter of feral kittens living in a basement or under a shed or saved from some other bad fate. My first dog was a black lab dropped out of a truck that sped off from a local lake on a busy weekend ... my first cat was found wandering across a busy street in downtown Phoenix.
And now there'll be Cooper. She'll come to us already getting on in years, with patchy hair and a food allergy. She'll be wary and unsure of us. The cats will hiss at her and Sage will be afraid of being pounced on. She'll probably chew up something and she might chase the ducks. But she'll be home, and she'll turn into a good dog, and life in Nowhere, IL will be the best thing that's ever happened to her, just like it's the best thing that's ever happened to the rest of us.
The fact that it will happen at Christmas will make a great story for years to come, and we're all about the stories!