After experiencing one losing roll of the dice, I was loath to try the pound again. What to do, then, about finding a companion for my 70s? Why not broaden my search? At the time, I got some prescriptions filled over the internet. I get my Birks from an internet source. And my T-neck shirts. And my pants. Even though I left Oregon a while ago, now, I still order books from Powell’s Books, a place I used to love to haunt when I lived in Portland. So, why not look to the internet for a pet?
O.K. I can do that. Now for the criteria. All my positive experience with dogs has been with standard poodles. I knew I wanted a poodle. But, not a large one this time. I’m not getting any younger and have had a couple of experiences of being pulled over by a large, energetic poodle. One time, a frosty deck and steps played a role in the mishap, and the result was a cracked head, several bruised and sprained places. Ouch!
A small poodle – a miniature – not a toy – would be good. Toy might be too small for me, but a miniature at about 12 to 14 pounds or so could be just right. Further, I would try to get a dog as young as possible, but not a puppy.
Internet sources close enough to check out in person had no available animals under $2,000 which is an excessive price in my book. Sources from several states away were much cheaper, but I couldn’t tell if they were puppy mills. A puppy mill as a source would be against my lofty principles. Regarding most of the sources, the further I dug into their backgrounds, the less I found. Very suspicious.
What to do?
At last, I found a woman, Eva, a small breeder of toy poodles in Indiana. She looked pretty good on the web – had good poodle connections, etc. As I checked other possibilities, I kept running into her on the web, so I phoned her to determine if she was real and if she could lead me to a mini poodle like I was looking for. Well, she had just rescued several dogs including Ellie, a four-year-old mini from a “kill shelter” (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) in Tennessee. The dogs had been relinquished by a puppy mill in dire financial straits.
OMG! Death! My poor heart broke! What a payoff for a dog used to breed who knows how many litters of puppies. What a sick reward.
After several e-mail and phone conversations with Eva, we agreed my requirements for a house clean dog with a pleasant personality were met with Ellie. I passed her test for an adopter and my references were submitted. So, I had to quickly decide how to get Ellie from Indiana to California. Ellie was beginning the process of recovering from near death and if she were to be mine, I wanted to get her before she started to bond to Eva.
Ellie had been with Eva since the final days of December 2009 and it was already January 2010, just at the beginning of a period of non-stop travel-crippling storms in the eastern part of the country. I had to get a move on if I would do this at all.
I ruled out rail since I wouldn’t know if there would be ample opportunities to walk the poor little stressed-out critter. I have flown quite a lot. However, never with an animal. With good weather, there would be at least one stop/lay-over mid-country with a plane change, then another stop and plane change at Portland or San Francisco to get a flight to Arcata. Who could say what air travel would be like in inclement weather. This was simply too much. Ellie already was fragile and I would become a basket case if I had to worry and stew over her possible demise during either of these travel modes.
Bus was an option, but would take a lot longer even than driving. No. I simply could not face the bus. I would have to drive. From Eureka, California to Indiana. In February. Through some of the worst weather imaginable. I knew I was a fool, or crazy, or simply a senseless old woman.
To be continued . . .