As I mentioned previously, we've been on the hunt for a dog.
I've probably been in the market for a dog since we lost Maxamillion to Nina's thong. Wherever I've lived since graduating college - Bellingham, Seattle, Tacoma - the local humane society has been on my short list of frequently visited websites.
That's why I didn't think too seriously about getting a dog this past Saturday when we attended Woofstock, an animal adoption event/concert at the University of Puget Sound. In fact, we rode our bikes to the event.
We strolled past the many cages on the field and saw a lot of great dogs. Below all the small, cute puppies, I spotted a dog with strikingly bright, blue eyes. I walked around the cage a few times and looked at her, a Border Collie. Despite all the chaos and noise and yelping at the event, she was totally calm.
Still, there were plenty of cages and booths to see, and we had rode our bikes to the event. We were not picking up a dog. We had Seafair plans and a party in West Seattle that night. Too much going on.
We looked at some other great-looking dogs, but I was compelled to come back to the blue-eyed dog. This time, the rep from the Wenatchee Humane Society asked if I wanted to walk her, take her for a test drive. As we walked away from the tent, the dog was totally attentive, which was surprising considering all the distractions that hardly allowed Amanda and I to hold a conversation. We stopped at a clean patch of grass and the dog immediately dug her snout into my chest and stayed there, saying "Love me!" Then she rolled over on her back and Amanda and I accepted the invitation to give her a solid belly rub. It was probably her first in awhile, at least since she'd made the trip from Eastern Washington, and perhaps the first since she arrived at the shelter a few weeks earlier.
Needless to say, we fell for the dog pretty hard right then and were taken aback by how affectionate she was. We walked her back to the tent and tried taking out another dog, just to see if we'd get the same response. We didn't. The other dog, a white Aussie Shepard, paid no attention to us as we walked her and could care less that we were there. Maybe he needed to be fixed. He wasn't fixed on us.
So we took the blue-eyed Border Collie back out for another round, and I knew then that we'd be adopting her. Amanda teared up a little after learning that she just turned 6 years old in July. The idea of adopting an older dog is just a little sad sometimes, but she had such a great personality and temperment, we were stoked that she was available at all. I signed papers for her, spent a ridiculously low $150 and walked away with "Sky," her shelter name, which we demoted for a middle name. We renamed her Gianna, which was something that just popped into my head at the time. I later found the meaning to be "God is gracious," and that seemed appropriate.
Now, you recall that Amanda and I rode bikes to the event. This was the point in time when that came around to bite us in the ass. For as good as Gianna was on the leash, I walked the longest eight blocks of my life trying to keep the dog going the right direction with my left hand while balancing the bike as I walked with my right. So awkward, kind of funny. We finally arrived at home and let Gianna roam. We also shortly thereafter had that "Oh crap" moment when we realized that we didn't have any basic gear for a dog. After another $150 on toys, food, a bed and other necessities at TJ Maxx, Petsmart and Mud Bay, we were in decent shape.
We learned two important qualities about Gianna that first day: First, she is insane about tennis balls. She has to have one, or she's looking for one. I took her off leash at the local elementary that first afternoon and she played fetch well, sprinting like a mad woman after each ball and obediently dropping the ball at my feet upon return. It was fun; I just didn't realize that we'd have to make this event a 2-3x daily thing. Second, the dog has hops. We attended the party in West Seattle that night, and we "thought" we enclosed her in the kitchen by placing our marble butcher table, 4 feet tall and 3 feet deep, as a blockade between the kitchen and the rest of the house. We got home that night and Gianna was on the other side of the table. Either she had played David Copperfield or she has some springs in those legs.
One of my favorite parts of adopting Gianna was surprising her on Sergio. He had a busy weekend, shooting three weddings or three consecutive days. He knew we were considering getting a dog, but he obviously didn't know he'd come home to one. When he arrived late Sunday night, he was totally shocked to find his new roommate waiting for him when unloaded his gear in the kitchen. Speaking of roommates, there's one more that has probably had the roughest transition to Gianna's homecoming, and he deserves his own words on the topic.