Flower, the adoption counselor, had emailed the evening before Polly and I visited the shelter, a note that well-prepared me for the visit. I’ll bring some boiled chicken for you to give her and I’ll have a little stool in her room for you to sit on. Then I’ll leave you along with her so you can ‘speak to each other,’ Flower wrote.
One of Flower’s dog therapy friends, Jodie—very good with shy and/or physically damaged dogs—had joined her at the shelter and they’d spent a lot of time with Adelaide. Addie is such a precious little dog that is trying to be brave in all of the noise and chaos of the shelter—but it isn’t easy for her to relax just yet (totally understandable). Lord only knows the trouble she’s seen. It is likely that she would have been dead by now had Animal Control not discovered her.
The first thing Jodie and I did was sit in her room with her. Unlike dogs who are terrified of people, Addie shyly welcomed us and did not tremble or cower when we walked in. I took my offering of boiled chicken breast in with me and Addie just laid on her bed enjoying Jodie’s caresses while I sat down next to her bed. I held out a small gift of chicken. She sniffed it, perked up a little, and began eating it very gently. (Her empty breakfast bowl was nearby—she had already enjoyed breakfast.) Jodie loved on her while I hand fed her, but I didn’t feed her too much. She is very skinny but her belly was round and full of food by then. After I put the chicken away I loved on her too. She really enjoys gentle physical affection and doesn’t seem afraid of people at all—but she is concerned about noise and fast, unexpected movements.
Adelaide’s wounds are clean and seem to be healing nicely. Her ears looked clean inside—the vet may have cleaned them. Her teeth look pretty good too—they are not old teeth. The poor thing is missing hair in many places—especially where the ticks had their way with her. It seems to Jodie, and Fonda, and me that she might have been attacked by an animal. Some of her wounds are punctures.
Jodie leashed her up to take her on a walk but when Jodie tried to walk her down the noisy hallway, Adelaide balked. She walked, but she didn’t want to. Once out in the fenced area, with dogs barking all around and a backfiring truck barreling down Route 29, Addie melted onto the ground and wouldn’t move. She couldn’t be coaxed either. Jodie finally picked her up and carried her to the hiking trail behind the shelter, and put her down again. Addie was more than happy to walk then and she was very good and gentle on leash. She freely walked the entire trail, sniffing around like all healthy, happy dogs do, but she shut down again when they neared the parking lot of the shelter. Jodie had to carry her back into the shelter.
It isn’t Addie’s fault that she is afraid to move around freely in the shelter environment. She’s been through so much and life has taught her that she needs to be careful. She doesn’t seem to be afraid of people at all though. She loves to have her face and chin stroked, and what hair she does have is very soft.
Adelaide needs a quiet home in a quiet setting; we are pretty sure about that. If you decide to adopt her, Ed and I will loan you a crate so you can set it up as her own “safe haven.” Dogs often like little spots where they can go to feel safe if they become overwhelmed at times. And you will be able to secure the crate door closed when you, at first, have to leave her home alone before you get to know her real well. We will loan you a crate for as long as you feel you need one.
There is no pressure for you to adopt Adelaide, but I do think she would be very easy for you to manage on leash and it appears that she probably won’t be all that interested in your cat.
See you tomorrow and I am looking forward to it!
So did I….
The next morning Polly drove the 40 minute trip to the shelter.
“You know,” I said, “Grandmother Davis’ mother was named Adelaide. There’s a part in my memoir where I write about a memory of being together with Mom, her mom, and her mom’s mom, four generations of women, in my grandmother’s kitchen. They were bathing me in the huge kitchen sink, preparing me for my first day of school. It’s the only time I recall being with them all together, those quiet, gentle women. Hearing Adelaide’s name yesterday reminded me of that time with my great grandmother Adelaide.”
“And your mother lived on Adelaide Park,” Polly said.
“Yes. Now I wonder if Grandpa Davis had anything to do with naming that small lane.” Grampa had built Mom’s cozy cottage, as well as several homes that stand to this day on Long Island’s eastern south shore. Grampa had also cared well for his mother-in-law, Adelaide Cartright, widowed as a young mother with two small daughters and left impoverished. She responded to her crisis with strength and courage, boarding her girls with family members as she because employed as a housekeeper.
“It’s very possible Grampa suggested the name Adelaide Park for the road but the problem is there’s no one alive now that I can ask.”
I smiled sadly as Polly turned left into the shelter parking lot. “Don’t let that happen to you, okay? Ask me your questions now while I’m still here,” I reminded her. She nodded decisively. Then I pondered how these little pieces of serendipity floating in the gentle breeze that were giving me a warm feeling about Adelaide before I even met her. The universe will show us all where the right place for this little girl will be, I thought as I stepped out of the car. I trusted that feeling with my entire being.
It was the same feeling I’d experienced with joy several weeks ago when Flower had facilitated a beautiful re-homing transition for Beau, who had grown too strong for me. His new exceptional human, Liz, sends me photos of Beau and invites me to remain part of Beau’s life. I hiked with them one day and clearly saw how happy and settled and peaceful he was. Liz has been such a gift not only for Beau but also for me.
Liz and Beau
And there in the lobby was Flower, who greeted us warmly.