Why We Don’t Have a Dog

When Griffin came along, we decided we just didn’t really have the time to take care of dogs about the house like we should. At the time

We’d given Elmo back to my parents a while back and gave Duke to Erin and Daniel. He and Daniel in particular have become inseparable, and he seems suited to boat life (they live on a boat), so we wouldn’t dream of trying to take him back.

Tristen, however, did get it in her head that we should get another dog now after seeing how much fun all the boys had with Duke when Erin came over recently. I was pretty meh about the idea. Work keeps me really busy given the amount of time I watch all the kids right now, and I didn’t think I’d have much time to take care of a dog on top of all that.

When she gets an idea in her head though, it’s hard to get Tristen sidetracked from it. She kept looking up dogs and found one named Louis who was being kept at a place that rescues shelter dogs. She sent me the picture and I thought he was very cute, with a sweet face and these big ears that stand straight up. And the fact that Bruce, honestly my favorite dog ever, was originally named Louie and I thought, well, maybe it would be nice to get a dog the kids could all grow up with.

The place, Saving Grace, was just north of Raleigh, about two hours from us. Tristen was in touch with them, told them we really wanted to get Louis and that we would be coming from Wilmington, but we already had plans to be in Durham for the weekend, so it would be a good time for us to come by.

They apparently only show their dogs by appointment and didn’t have anything open until after the weekend initially, but two spots opened up: One on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. We found out about this on Tuesday and could have made it, but it would have been a rush and kind of complicated for us, so Tristen and I talked it over and came up with a plan.

The Plan

There are a lot of moving parts here, so bear with me.

We were planning to go see my parents in Rougemont (northern Durham) this weekend. Our family’s annual Fourth of July get-together had to be scrapped, so we moved it to this weekend. We also chose this  weekend because Milly was staying with Andra’s family in Gastonia for the week, and it would be an easy way to pick her back up.

Tristen is usually off Wednesdays and Thursdays and works a half day on Fridays. She switched hours with a coworker though so she could be off on Friday, meaning we’d have been able to leave to my parents’ house as early as Thursday afternoon.

Erin and Daniel were planning on coming too, but they don’t have a car, which means they’d be borrowing the Sorento from us.

To wit: We’d have two cars traveling to Rougemont.

So what we decided was that I’d take either the twins or Griffin, go get the dog, and then head on over to my parents’ house, which is only half an hour from the rescue. Otherwise I’d be traveling two and a half hours up there and turn around to go right back, then a couple days later take another tw0 and a half hour trip back that way with everyone else.

So we checked with Erin, and it ended up that Daniel was working this weekend anyway. She didn’t want to leave Daniel, but she also didn’t want to miss out on visiting with the family. I told her we’d be using both cars, and so she decided she’d come with Tristen on Thursday after work.

So that’s the background of everything that went into planning out the trip. I ultimately decided to bring the twins instead of Griffin because they’re at least a little more independent and I’d maybe be able to get a little work done.

Before Leaving

Nobody woke up at 5 AM this morning, which was nice. Tristen got up with the boys and I got up around 8 or 8:30. She took all three boys to Torrie’s house to hang out while I packed and did a little work and she went to help her dad pack some things up to bring to our house and to Torrie’s. We got a wheelbarrow and the bed that she stashed in her parents’ garage the other day.

We all moved that stuff inside the house the Tristen went down to Torrie’s to help there and pick up the boys. I showered and did some more work until the twins came back, then we finished packing up the van and I left town with Fawkes and Phoenix.

The Trip and Saving Grace

They fell asleep in the van around 12, 12:30 and napped a good hour and a half. Tristen was about to pull down the DVD screen when we left, but I stopped her and said I’d like to see how long we can go without it. Not once during the entire trip did they ask for a movie, which was cool.

Our appointment with Saving Grace was at 2:00 and we got there about 10 minutes early. It’s a pretty cool place; a private residence with lots of space, dogs roaming all around, and lots of nice pens and such for the smaller dogs. There was what I guess I’d label an information booth when you first go through the gates. Another family was talking to the people there and at first I waited a safe distance from them (everyone was masked), but it was in the sun and Fawkes and Phoenix were getting annoyed, plus they were being skittish about the nice dogs who came up to nuzzle and lick them, so I picked them up and held them under the shade of a tree across the walkway. But then while I wasn’t looking another family came up and started talking to the info people, which was annoying, but I didn’t make a fuss.

And then after everything cleared up and we moved closer to the booth the two ladies there were discussing something while I stood there fiddling with the kids, but nobody asked if they could help. I didn’t interrupt until one of them said something about someone looking to adopt a dog. I raised my hand and said, “I am.” and then they finally talked to me.

So they asked some questions and one of the ladies started taking me to where they keep the younger dogs (various stages of puppy-hood, but none were brand new puppies). I explained what brought us there and who we were looking for, so she went to go get Louis.

Side note: I assume they were pronouncing Louis as “loo-ee,” as in King Louis XIV. Turns out there was a Louie and a Louis, and they were pronouncing Louis as “lew-iss.”

Anyway, she came back and told me, gut punch, that he had already been adopted. I might have reminded her that I had come all the way from Wilmington specifically for that dog and that we had told them he was the one we were coming for more than once. It took a bit to swallow down my anger and frustration at that. Apparently they don’t put dogs on hold, and they even advise on their website to not get set on one dog before coming because they don’t have time to keep all the pictures updated. But Tristen had been in communication with them and expressly said that was the dog we wanted.

Well, the lady brought me Louis’s sister, but she had more of a German shepherd look. I like German shepherds, but that’s not what we were going for and I just wasn’t feeling it with her, as much as I hate to say that.

She suggested looking through the pens to see if there were any others we might want, and there were a few, but every single one of them I felt a draw to was already spoken for. I’m not sure how that works, since they don’t reserve dogs. Maybe the people had already come and paid for the dogs, but weren’t ready to pick them up for one reason or another.

There was one who was the sister of two other ones that I really liked, and if it wasn’t so expensive to adopt them, I might have gone for her. But as much as they ask for (and I get it- they do a lot and take good care of their dogs), I just wanted to make sure I really felt it with any dog I got from there.

So we came away empty handed, and I was more bummed about that than I expected I would be. The place was pretty cool and the people were pretty nice, but I came away with a sour feeling because we went through so much effort to get there and came away with naught.

On to the Rouge

But then it was on to Rougemont.

It started raining shortly after we left, and then it started coming down pretty hard. I considered pulling over once or twice, but it subsided after a bit and didn’t really delay the last leg of the trip.

I really enjoyed driving through there, the north side of Raleigh, the northwest side of Durham: Hills and woods and space. It made me think maybe I wouldn’t mind moving back out that way, or somewhere similar.

I mentioned that to my mom a little after we got to their house, as she and my dad were walking around outside with Fawkes and Phoenix, showing them the things they’d done with the barn and letting them see the horses. She mentioned that the sale of their previous home, right next door to their current one, had fallen through and we should buy it. I told her I wish we could, but 1) we don’t have that much money and 2) I wouldn’t want to see Milly less than I do. She said she could probably refinance and make it affordable.

That really put a bug in me, so I mentioned the possibility to Tristen at one point and we talked about it at length later. Too many uncertainties for her, long story short.

Anyway, Fawkes and Phoenix had a terrific time with their Mum Mum and Pap. They played with them a bunch. Dad gave both boys some Gatorade, which Phoenix, for the most part, drank pretty well, but Fawkes doesn’t know how to not open-mouth drink from a bottle like that and essentially spilled all of it all over himself. I mean, his entire chin, chest, and tummy were all red under his shirt when we took it off. We ended up getting them naked and hosing them off on the lawn before going inside to shower them off a bit.

After that there was a lot of playing with pillows, spilling giant Uno cards all over the floor, a bunch of tickling, followed by hardly eating any dinner.

Missing Mommy

I got the room ready for them, putting them on these two fold-out ottoman beds. Last time we were here we had them pushed together to make one big bed, but since they’ve got separate beds awaiting them now at home (Tristen spent time getting that all set up today) I figured I’d keep them separate, and they did fine with that. They fell asleep pretty quick, but I guess they had a pretty active day. Afternoon and evening anyway.

Everything was fine until a little after 10:30. Phoenix woke up crying really hard. I thought maybe it was because he woke up in an unfamiliar place, or maybe he had a nightmare. I think the biggest thing was that he missed his mom. It took him quite a while to settle down, and usually after he did he’d start back and and call for mommy. We eventually drifted off in the guest room on the bed I ended up sleeping in. I woke up at some point and put him back in his bed. I fell asleep snuggling with him until around 1:30, then finally got back in my own bed.