After the President's Day adoption fail, I was a pretty unbearable human. I have been known to put up with a lot of things, but failure isn't one of them. Nick had duty the next day, which meant he'd be gone all day. It gave me lots of time to stew. I should have been more decisive. No, she may not have been the right dog for us, but we'd never know now. Manatee was the one that got away.
Except that the nice hippies didn't end up walking away with this dog after all. I checked the internet, and Manatee was still up for adoption. Nick had assured me that we could go back to see the animals again on Wednesday after he got off work. It took every ounce of self-control that I had to not to visit this dog, but I knew this wasn't just my choice. Nick had to love her too, and we had to see if she'd be ok with cats.
Nick was held up at work way beyond his projected ETA on Wednesday. Between the delay at work and the terrible traffic, I was pretty sure that we were not going to make it to the Hawaiian Humane Society before they closed at 7PM. I waited in front of the house with a spare sheet to throw in the back of the car in case we came out of there with something.
At 6:05 the car pulled up. I hopped in, and we were off. We plotted in the car on the way over. We knew we wouldn't have much time to look. We might only have a chance to visit with one dog, and I knew just the dog I wanted to meet.
There she was
Nick insisted on doing a pass through the kennels again. We saw another dog that might have been a good fit for us, but when we went to Manatee's kennel, she once more approached the gate and rested beside it so that we could pet her.
It was much calmer at the shelter on this day. I was surprised since Wednesdays are half-price adoption days. There was no crowd to fight on this trip. A shelter volunteer explained the back story on the other dog and Manatee. Both of the animals were survivors who came from rough circumstances (more on that in another post), but I knew I wanted to meet Manatee.
The woman put her on a leash for us and explained the rules for walking the dog. Then, the leash was in my hand. I was amazed at how calmly the she walked. There was no pulling or running like mad. We went to a fenced area where we could take her off the leash. She didn't seem interested in playing at all, and she shook. We thought it was because she was cold, but now that I know her, I know it was because she was terrified. We tossed a ball, and she didn't care. She could have run to the other end of the enclosure in fear, but she wanted to sit with us and get lots of belly rubs. This was a dog that would need lots of love.
After meeting Manatee, it was pretty clear that we would be her humans. How she would react to the cat and vice versa was still a bit of a gamble. They don't cat-test the dogs at this shelter. We'd have to take her home and see how she'd react (while doing everything possible to keep Summer safe, of course).
Nick signed paperwork and paid people while I sat off to the side with the shivering dog. All the volunteers came up and had nice things to say about her. They talked about how friendly she was, how much she liked to cuddle, and how she'd pack on a few pounds once we really started feeding her. I asked tons of questions to try and understand what she liked. She had been at the shelter for about eight days at this point, and I figured they must have some insight. Hearing from all of them reaffirmed our decision to adopt from the Hawaiian Humane Society. These folks really love these animals.
I tend to get a little misty while watching a happy adoption story, but when our own happy adoption story was unfolding it was so surreal. When we opened the gate to the parking lot, Manatee became more nervous. She wasn't used to taking this path. Then, in this haze of unreality, Nick was picking up this big dog and putting her into the back seat. I sat back there with her for her first trip, and she shivered the whole way.
We made a quick pit stop to get some supplies for her first night in her new home. I stayed in the car with her, while her new dad ran into the NEX to do all the shopping. At some point, her shivering subsided, and she fell asleep with her big block head in my lap.
(In case you missed it, Part 1 is available here.)