If you have been following along, you know how much we adore Sarge. So when I imagined what his forever home would be like I imagined one worthy of him. Never anything specific, I just wanted him to have someone that was willing to see how amazing he was and give him the best.
When we heard he had a meet and greet we were excited. Things were working a tiny bit different than they did pre pandemic. So we disinfected his long lead and gave him a good brush down. With the long lead we could maintain the 6ft rule and still safely pass Sarge between us and the potential adopter. When we told Sarge he had a meet and greet he was so excited. I think he could sense our excitement.
Here is Sarge doing a happy dance in the backyard after we told him about his meet and greet.
Although the meet and greet went great, it wasn’t a good match. No reflection on the person, just sometimes that is how it is. So we were surprised when we quickly had another meet and greet scheduled. This time everything had been streamlined. If things went well, Sarge could go home that day. Adapting the adoption process to insure everyone is safe.
Shout out to Deana for being the most amazing adoption coordinator for Pacific Northwest Cattle Dog Rescue. She found Sarge’s family. Which is no small feat when you can no longer do in person home visits - you have to do them virtually. And do everything in your power to streamline the meet and greet and adoption process for the safety of everyone involved.
I think she knew they were his people pretty quickly and shared the application with me. She told me about the phone interview she had with the family. And then all of a sudden I knew it too. The key bit of information was, this family had adopted a boarder collie mix when she was nine months old. The dog had extreme separation anxiety but they stuck with her and lived happily ever after for almost 15 years. And the details went on and on. I just sorta keep having this strong certain feeling that these were his people.
So I did my best to have Sarge absolutely ready to go home with them when the day arrived. Sarge got his nails trimmed, a bath, and brush out. The bath part was pretty amazing. If you remember from Sarge Stories - Day 5, Sarge was NOT a fan of the self serve wash station when we picked him up from transport. So we made a lot of efforts to help fix that for him. We went really slow and gentle with him. No loud water noises, lots of teats, and I stood in the tub with him.
He did pretty amazing. Major major improvement. And he still talked to me afterward, so that was great news. In fact, he was pretty concerned when I got into the shower afterward. Kept looking at me while I was cleaning the tub - like “lady why are you still in there? Get out!”
These two boys never ceased to crack me up. I loved seeing them together.
The next morning, before we were going to hit the road and drive up to Bellingham to meet his potential adopters - Sarge got a really solid brush out. We’d worked on him being ok with this way more frequently than baths. Spring time is when dogs and in particular ACDs love to dump their coat. So thank god for Ferminator brushes.
Being a stray all these grooming experiences were new and strange so again we went slow, loads of treats, and were gentle. Kind reassuring words, calm environment, the works. And he made big strides. Please ignore the insanely old floors of our little fixer upper house. Kitchen remodel is on hold at the moment for obvious reasons.
I packed a little tote bag for Sarge, just like I had done for Tim. I think this feels like a good tradition. It had enough food for 10meals, treats, a no-hide bone, thank you card for the family and a printed out fact sheet. The fact sheet I had some fun with and you can see what Sarge’s looked like below.
On the drive up I was nervous. It is hard to want something to work out so so badly and at the same time not want to say goodbye. Sarge got lots of treats on the car ride up. Mostly to make me feel better.
Sarge kept a watchful eye on the treat bag and then got sleepy. The drive up to Bellingham about about an hour an a half so he took a solid little nap.
When we pulled up to the meeting place we had already texted and emailed a bit with the family. It felt really good that they were preparing for him to come home and wanted to make things just right for Sarge. So when we saw them pull up, we got out and had Sarge on his long lead.
Sarge just went up and immediately started charming their pants off. No surprise here. It is what he does. But at the same time I think dogs just know good people when they see them, you know? Everything about the meet and greet went right. So we knew they were his family.
We handed them their little tote bag and watched them walk away to go on a family walk around the lake. While the meet and greet was happening a barred owl called from the tree line. My heart fluttered. I knew, I just knew everything was trying to tell me. Trying to tell me, this is it kid. Sarge made it. He got his happy ending and it is a pretty spectacular one at that.
Man did I cry when we got in the car and drove away. I missed that damn dog but I was so happy for him. I just really didn’t want him to think I left him because I didn’t love him. I wanted to somehow be reassured that he knew I wasn’t abandoning him. I did a much better job of having that chat with Tim before he got adopted. Things happened fast with Sarge so I just flat out forgot.
I know it is probably considered weird to be mad at yourself for not sitting down with a dog and explaining to them that you aren’t abandoning them that and they are going home with good loving people and their new family. But I’ve learned that that is an important step for me in this process and one I’ll be sure to do every time.
But right after the sadness came clarity. I knew this wasn’t going to be a “once or twice a year” thing for me. That was what we originally thought. We’d do one or two fosters during the months when market events were slower. Now I knew I had to do this again and again. After falling in love with Sarge that hard, how could I not? My god, there are so many Sarge’s out there that need help getting their shot at a happy ending. And I need to help as many as I can.
It is insane to think about that all this started because I wanted to try and find a way to celebrate the legacy of my dog Jack. Now there is a pandemic and we are going into our third foster with zero plans to stop.
Stay tuned for one more Sarge Story tomorrow. I’m excited to share more about what happened after he was adopted and how we are getting ready for our third foster to arrive.