Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Gotcha Day, Savannah!

Savannah Now...

It seems like just yesterday that I picked up the dogs' Aunt Julie and headed out to Topeka, KS. We were "going to see a man about a dog." I'm pretty sure I wanted to cry during the entire drive, several times almost turning around and ditching the whole adventure. I didn't cry, because I almost couldn't let myself think about what we were going to do. {For those who never had the privilege to know her, I said goodbye to my Best Girl, Graycie, at the end of June 2007. When I explain my connection to Graycie, I would say that if Kane is my Heart (because most everyone knows Kane, and just how special he is), Graycie was my Soul. After I had to say goodbye unexpectedly to Graycie in June, I was pretty sure that there would never be another Weimaraner in our home. However, the house seemed incomplete, The Boyz had lost their leader, and nobody seemed comfortable assuming a leadership role. We were all just kind of lost.}
Fast forward to November 2007. Someone in my office wanted to adopt a dog. I directed her to Petfinder, and somehow, a listing got into my inbox. It was a listing for "Weimaraner, Senior, Female." I felt my stomach lurch just reading the header. Why I clicked on the link, I'll never know. But for some reason, I was compelled to see this dog. What I read was a Petfinder listing for a senior Weim, from a shelter in rural Kansas, west of Topeka. The shelter was merely some runs put up at the city water treatment plant. All animals were exposed to the elements, and the city had no budget for a shelter. Volunteers made everything possible for the animals who needed help.
The Weim in this photo, listed with the name "Towanda," was one of the lucky few who had found a family to foster her. She was with a lovely couple and their dogs. During another strange, out of body moment, I found myself emailing the foster family to inquire about the situation of this old Weim. I learned that Towanda was sweet and gentle, but she was pretty gimpy. It seems that she had been injured on her left side, probably years ago, and she had a bad limp in her front left. Her back left was weak, and she did not put her full weight on her back left leg. I started talking with the foster dad, Preston, and his wife Anna about this dog. Preston and Anna loved Towanda, and they had pretty much resigned themselves that nobody would want to adopt an old, crippled Weimaraner. Oh, and she had a giant tumor hanging from her chest, just as a bonus. However, I'll never forget one email when Preston said that as much as they loved Towanda, he and Anna could see in her expression that she was always "searching for something" and they felt like perhaps this dog was destined for something else. Even in this photo that Preston sent me, I can see her expression, and see that she's looking, looking for something or someone. The stories I'm sure this dog could tell.

We talked back and forth for a couple of weeks, and then set a date to meet in Topeka so that I could meet Towanda and see what happened. I was approved to adopt her, and the day to drive to Topeka finally arrived. I took Kane with me, because I knew he would tell me if this dog would be OK in our house. When we met in the parking lot at the Topeka Petsmart, I let Kane out, and he sniffed Towanda, and she gave him a glance, and then ignored him. I walked the two of them over to some grass to get some exercise, and I saw how pronounced Towanda's limp was. She nearly lurched forward with every step, but her tail wagged non-stop and she loved going for a walk. When we walked back over to where Preston, Anna, and Julie were chatting, Julie looked at me and I remember her asking, "Do you want to have a few minutes alone with Towanda so you can see if you think this is the right dog for you?" I don't remember exactly what I said, but I think it was something like, "Nope, let's put her in the van and take her home."
For some reason, I felt like maybe Savannah needed me, and the dogs and I needed her. I have a wonderful vet, and a fantastic acupuncture/chiropractic vet, and I really thought maybe we could get this girl to feeling better. So, after getting to know the foster family a bit better, and making sure they were comfortable with me, I loaded up some dog food donations for their city's foster dogs, along with some toys and collars. When we opened the side door of my van, and Preston saw the big dog crate, I asked if Savannah was good in a crate. He said he had no idea if she'd ever even been in a crate. I guess we were about to find out. I travel lots with the dogs, and I was hoping this girl would like to join the fun. Towanda needed some assistance getting up into the side of the van, but she went right into the crate, and she acted like she'd ridden there all her life. Julie and I talked about it several times on the drive home. I couldn't see the dog, but Julie assured me that Towanda was laying down like a professional crate traveller.
Long story a little less long... Towanda came to live with us late last November, and when I saw her smile for the first time, I was reminded of "Savannah Smiles" and so she became... Savannah. Now she's Savannah, S'Vannah, Th'Vannah, and just plain Vannah. And if all else fails, she'll always come running to "Cookie!" She's likely somewhere between 8 and 10 years old, but she refuses to act like a senior.
When I look at her photos from foster care, and I look at the Diva she is now, I just know it was meant to be. I'd like to think that when Preston said she seemed to have a soulful expression and was "searching for something" that maybe somehow she found it with us.
Happy 1st Gotcha Day, Savannah! We* Love You!

*Sydney would like the record to show that in no uncertain terms, she does not and will never love Savannah. Thank goodness they have a bit of an understanding, though, and can co-exist without too much drama!

1 comment:

Preston Surface said...

Towanda was found abandoned in an open field near Wamego, KS. We fostered her for a month or so before Sarah gave us a call. We had already fallen in love with her as we do most the time when we fostered. At the meeting in Topeka, KS, Sarah asked if we were sure if we really wanted to let her go. That was a dangerous question to ask. I almost wanted to back out and take her home, but I have four other dogs and I could not give Towanda the attention and medical care Sarah was offering. Besides I knew the story of Gracie and I truly felt this was meant to happen.

Sarah has made this as easy as possible for us by always keeping us informed about our last foster dog, "Vannah."

Happy "Gotcha Day" Savannah. You have the best home in the world. This is a very happy ending.

Preston Surface