Wednesday, May 29, 2013
ON AN ANNOUNCEMENT
She picked me.
She was whining to be picked up, reaching her little paws up the sides of the large pen she was in, with about 10 other dogs. It was a Saturday afternoon in Hollywood, and my first day volunteering with this new group. She was carrying on so much, her little eyebrows furrowed together, that I finally reached down and scooped her into arms. She instantly settled, staying there the rest of the event, lounging in one arm while I used the other to pet the other dogs, hand out papers.
I knew who she was. I had gone through the photos on their facebook page the two weeks leading up to this day. These are the things I do in my spare time, totally normal. I knew she needed a new foster, hers were en route to India, which is kind of far for weekly adoption events in LA. I had shown her to the friend I was staying with, flipping my laptop around, look at this little one. He would roll his eyes when he spotted me going through the dogs again, but within minutes he was next to me, eventually on petfinder, exclaiming over boston terriers and french bulldogs. He came to visit me that fateful Saturday afternoon, making the drive east from Beverly Hills, after I sent her picture to him. He stood face to face with her, sunglasses still on, arms crossed, a quick nod to me before heading over to the puppies.
When it was time to leave, she was still in my arms, and the two girls turned to me. "She has nowhere to go tonight, you know." I knew. "Just take her for the night, we'll figure something out for tomorrow." Permission came though my phone, and we drove back west, where he greeted us with an eye roll and a smile. "I knew you'd bring her home."
She ripped down the seven-foot curtain rod. She tore off blinds. She ran out the door after me, making my heart jump out through my throat. Troublemaker. She listened to me, with my face pressed into her fur, as I contemplated just what the fuck I was doing. She danced with me in the kitchen, front paws waving wildly. She hurled her body vertically, as I turned away from the pen each week at the adoption events. One of the last ones, tears welled up in my eyes as I literally forced my legs to keep going toward the car. She met him through skype, his smile wide, but brushing it off, ready to have his eyes locked on me again. I told her about him, I told her about Henry, I told her about New York, we shared dinners, had long morning walks around the reservoir. We drove across Beverly Blvd endlessly, she sat in my lap as I cruised or sat in traffic.
We spent another month in Los Angeles, moving from Beverly Hills to Silver Lake, before flying across the country back to New Jersey, then New York City. Henry wasn't having it. Oh no, sir, no way. That's my mommy! He made it clear with his bark, his attitude, and his biting attempts. His big brown eyes looked up at me, asking me how I had brought her home, who was this dog? She slept in my lap, peed everywhere, ignored him. He got better about it. A miracle. They touched noses, connected. My little terrified man crept a little bit further out of his shell, being pulled by this firecracker new sister of his.
I'm not sure when it happened, to be honest. For weeks, I protested. No, really, I was only fostering her, the dogs didn't get along. And I meant it, too. No one believes me, but we had quiet talks, she and I, and I'd explain it to her. I meant it. But then... I don't know. Maybe it's our history. Maybe it was the things that happened in the time from LA to now. Maybe it was the way she woke me up with this giant smile, a tail swoosh like you've never seen. But one day I realized she was mine. And today we went ahead and made that official.
Lady, Layla, LaLa, LayLay, my little bug. You're home now, sweet girl. You're home now.