It's only been a few weeks since we said goodbye to Gilligan and I still feel his loss acutely. I wasn't really looking for another project, but with me it seems that things happen when I least expect them.
Meet Aspen and Pippin; the two newest T1dogs additions. These little ladies came from a home in the east bay where they were being given away. I honestly stumbled across the ad on accident; I had been cleaning up my craigslist account and making sure that Gilly's ad's for adoption had been deleted. The ad for the puppies had the normal phrases in it like "looking for good homes," and "responsible people only." The part that caught my attention was the last line that read "I'm not looking for money I'm looking for a good home." Honestly, I was surprised at that, most craigslist ads stated that an exorbitant adoption fee would be charged for a run of the mill, badly bred, backyard breeder status puppy. I noticed that the location was right around the area that Copper had been found wandering just about a year ago. I immediately sent the information to Alex with the text that read "look, Copper puppies!"
Ok, I admit it, I sent the information to a couple other people as well. I probably was trying to convince myself that they were Copper's siblings and that of course meant I needed to go look at them. If nothing else I wanted to talk with the owner in person and ask a couple questions to see if possibly this was where Copper came from. I sent a text to the contact number in the ad, and waited for a response. Twenty minutes later I went back to the craigslist ad link only to discover it had been deleted by the owner. I was a little disappointed, but accepted that it wasn't meant to be.
I was more than a little surprised to discover the next morning that the poster had replied to my text - he explained he had been out of town and was having trouble keeping up with all the people who had contacted him about the pups. At that time I happened to be on a field trip with my friend Natalie, her SDiT, Ghost, and Dodger in the middle of IKEA. Poor Natalie got an earful as I yammered about the story and how I was convinced they were Copper siblings. I cut the field trip a little short so I could pop over and meet the puppies. At that point I wasn't even interested in taking one - I told myself that only if they were absolutely fabulous would I consider taking one. Most under-socialized puppies who come from a situation like this aren't social and outgoing enough to make the cut for service dog work and I knew it. I just wanted to talk to the guy to possibly find out more information
It our text conversation it was revealed that he had one female puppy left, possibly two. I couldn't help but get excited at that. As much as I love training with Copper, Tucker, and Dodger, I was ready to work with a girl for a change. Alex and I popped over to the address the gentleman provided. Alex and I showed up at the address he provided (the front office of a photography studio) and within a few minutes he brought out two puppies - both males. I was a little confused as he had told me he had females left, but, I handled the pups a bit and couldn't help but coo over them. I was about to say "thanks for your time, but I don't think these guys are what I'm looking for," which would be my lead in to asking him about Copper when I turned and saw Alex was following the gentleman back behind the counter to the back. I quickly moved to follow them for fear I'd be left behind. The proprietor led us through the back hallway of his photography studio and out into the back lot where, waiting for us, were a big group of more puppies! There were so many I couldn't count them effectively, but there were at least 10 or 12. It appeared he had just put out a big bowl of food because most of them were chowing down. I squealed (I think just a little bit) and one spotted puppy (who turned out to be Pippin) came bounding towards me. I instantly knew that I wanted her. She was wiggly and bouncy, friendly and outgoing, and super adorable! What more could I want?
"Did you want all of them?" the proprietor asked. Alex and I looked at each other and laughed ruefully. We explained that we were a small outfit and only had room for one. I specifically remember looking up at Alex with Pippin squirming in my arms attempting to lick my face.
"What do you think?" I asked. I had told him before we went to look at the puppies that I wanted his real opinion and if he thought the pups weren't up to par to tell me straight up. I didn't want to end up with another dog that would career change out that wouldn't work for the program.
"I think you should get two," was his response. My first reaction was to laugh. Alex saying to get two was like him telling me to adopt the entire shelter. Alex is the brakes when I'm charging into a situation where my emotions get the better of me and I want to bring home dogs that won't work for service dog work.
I looked up at him surprised. "No really," he nodded, "I think you should get two."
That was all the encouragement that I needed. In a few more minutes Alex and I had settled on Aspen as our second candidate. Of course, we attempted to ask the gentleman about Copper but his answer was brusque and abrupt. We didn't push it. I'm choosing to believe that Copper did, in fact, come from this place however I'm tempted to get a DNA test done on these little critters and Copper to see if there are any genetic similarities. What do you all think? Be prepared to be bombarded with many pictures of these adorable munchkins in the future!