I was sure he wasn't the dog for me, the timing wasn't right, I didn't have time for a dog, blah, blah, blah.
Then Bernie and I went for a walk around the block. On the other side of Zumstein Street, a little dog ran out of a yard. "There he goes," I said to Bernie as the mutt scrambled down the sidewalk at full speed. But as the dog came past the cars parked over there, he dashed forward, across the street ... right at me. Wiggling madly, he came to my feet to greet me with recognition and delight. There was one white dot on the back of his little red neck, a dot that looked exactly like the dot on the back of the neck of a shelter dog called "Hoagie" that I had met and petted months before -- like last August. "Can this be Hoagie?" I said, just as his owner came running across the street, shouting, "Hoagie!"
"It IS Hoagie! I met this dog at the shelter," I explained to his owner. Bernie and I chatted with Brett for a while, then we went on our ways. I was glad to see that Hoagie had found such a doting owner.
Yet it gave me food for thought. If Hoagie, a dog I petted in passing six months ago, remembered me, what must that big pup think of someone who spent twenty minutes petting and playing with him, someone who just turned around and walked away and never came back?
I'd referred to him (after I met him when talking to Alex) as "that froggy mutt down at the shelter." And standing by my bedroom door looking out at the rain, I thought, "What would I do, call him 'Froggy?' Stupid name for a dog." And I'm not kidding, I heard something like a small voice say, His name is Kermit.
We went down to see him again this morning. Oh, boy, did he ever recognize me. We took him to the Adoption Room to let him interact with us in a quiet setting; we were impressed with his calmness mixed with happy spirits. He didn't bark, he didn't jump. He sat beside me, he came when we clapped for him. I put a leash on him to test how hard I'd have to pull on him to get his attention and direction ... not much at all. And then, on the leash, he just lay down and relaxed.
He'll visit the vet in the morning when Animal Control takes him there for neutering, and by evening, I will have a big, smelly dog with me, a dog named Kermit.