It was a Saturday morning in New Orleans. The first Saturday of the month. We like to go to the local Freret Market. Freret Street is transitional. It is up-and-coming, revitalizing, and still haunted by its pre-Katrina gang and projects past. It’s a microcosm of my part of New Orleans, the affluent bumping up against the poor. House-by-house, block-by-block, revitalized, revitalizing, under-construction, tear-down. We looked at a house near Freret Street. It was an affordable and modern shotgun rebuild, walking distance to great new restaurants and bars. It was great except for the drug dealers two doors down. They were very polite. Like really polite. They said Good Morning as we walked the neighborhood. It’s a very southern thing, that politeness. I still can’t get used to it after living in DC and Paris. We talked to some neighbors and passed on that house. Not with kids, they said. Still, we like the restaurants. We frequent the monthly street market that has live music and food trucks and local artists and dog adoptions…
He wanted a hot dog and a beer. We put Pen, our young Labrador Retriever, my writing companion, in a harness and leash and headed out. There were puppies. Five of them, in a little pen. I knew they would be there. I just wanted to maybe look. They were really cute. I picked one up. I didn’t want to put him down. Um, beagles I think, said the sorority girl volunteer. They sort of had beagle coloring, and floppy ears, and long legs. Non-beagle legs. Beagle with a lift-kit, we decided. Cute, we decided. Pen liked him. She was surprisingly cool and well-behaved around the puppy. Please, I said? I might have whined. A little. I might have definitely had the pleading eyes and sad face as we walked away. Can we please? I pleaded. I came for a beer and a hot dog, he said. We can’t afford another dog, he said. It was true that our one dog was expensive. We bought her and she had parasites and needed so many vaccinations and medecine, and dog beds, and a leash and collar and toys, and food and treats, and toys. She needed a good deal of toys. And attention. She needed a lot. And she would need to be spayed. Cha-Ching, cha-ching.
Let’s just ask, I said. I had heard sorority girl saying they had their shots and the rescue would pay for the spay/neuter. Maybe not so expensive, I said. We asked. We found the non-sorority girl in charge and we asked lots and lots of questions. Really, not so expensive. Cool. Ok, he said. Grudgingly. I could tell that he only wanted to make me happy and basically thought this was a really stupid idea. But, he said ok. We filled out adoption paperwork. I will need to talk to your vet, she said. We called his personal number, on a Saturday morning (sorry Ned), and handed her the phone. All good. I’ll need to do a home visit, she said. Right. We have a fence. We don’t have a landlord. We aren’t cooking meth or a puppy mill. Sure. When? I can come right after I’m done here, she said, around 4. Great, we said. And here is where it gets weird. It was loud with live music blaring. We thought she had okayed us taking the dog, and so I named him Ollie and brought him home. She never showed up at 4. We later got a phone call. She was unhappy. We took the dog without her permission, she said. Wait, what? We had talked to her for like half an hour and walked away from her holding the dog and everything was cool. Except that in her version, we had stolen the dog. Whatever. She was kind of dramatic. Ollie was fine, and napping, and I tried to reschedule that home visit for the next three days, and she just kept saying she would come, and never did. So, I’m not going to say who that rescue was, except to say that it’s not Zeus’ Place, which is usually at the Ferret Market and is great. I will say that that other rescue should have been more organized, more explicit, and more thorough. They should have followed up and they didn’t. I stole their dog. He is a great dog. We really love him. I’d steal him again. Trying to track down that rescue so that they could do the home visit is the reason I rescue now. Before that, I knew nothing about dog rescue. That was just the beginning…..
Pen - 8 September 2016 - forever Ollie - 19 November 2016 - forever