Your favorite adoption of all time, please share.
A low thud joggles me awake. Slightly groggy, I wonder for a second where I am at. Another thud. Oh yes, I am on the plane, headed to Texas. I look out the window at the rain coming down in the low light. Another thud, as the ground crew heave luggage aboard below.
My day started at 3:30 am at the truck yard where I work. I was nervous, and excited all day, what began almost 3 weeks prior was coming to fruition sometime in the next 30 hours. I was getting a GSD, one I had never even met, one who very nearly lost her life, before a network of wonderful people got her out of danger in the nick of time. And I was had adopted her, for 2 weeks, she was mine, and I did not even really know what she looked like. June 7th, 2007 would be the longest day, as I worked, tried to keep busy, be patient. I went to work at 5am, so I could get out a 2, and make the 7 hour drive 355 miles away to Anchorage, where I would fly away to Texas. 2 Oclock finally came, and I jumped out of my coveralls, grabbed a quick shower, and grabbed my bags, and drove off into the rainy, cool afternoon for Anchorage. Despite my excitement, the smooth road, and quiet Aveo, along with my early morning rise, began to fatigue me. 5 hours into the drive, I could no longer keep my eyes open. Although my flight left at 12:30 am, I did not want to risk falling asleep, and oversleeping. But I could not drive any further. Finally, pulling over, I set my alarm for 10 minutes and kicked the seat, and closed my eyes. About 2 minutes later, I zonked out, and got the best 7 1/2 minutes of sleep. Refreshed, and some coffee from my thermos, I drove the rest of the way to Anchorage, checked the Aveo into a 24 hour parking lot, and got the shuttle to the airport with 3 hours to spare.
The APU hums soothingly away, as the tug moves the big Airbus out of its slot and out to the taxiway. People are talking, laughing, as the safety video starts up, and the flight attendents go through the safety procedures. Reality sets in. I am doing all this, I thought to myself, for a dog. I feel slightly crazy. Fatigue returns, and by the time we are roaring skyward, I am out like a light.
Shiva had just died about 3 weeks earlier. It was May 18th, and I was feeling lonely, and very sorry for myself. I had gone out for breakfast that morning, and now I was on the computer lurking on the GSD forum. After some posting, and responding to some of the other boardmembers, I went to the Urgent section, to see who might be up for adoption. Then I saw Hannah. I looked. Looked again. It was a bad photo, taked through chainlink fencing, but it could not hide her face, her eyes. I was in love. But, she was so far away, in a shelter in Laporte Texas. And her time was nearly up. But, several boardmembers, and I rallied for several days, and by memorial day weekend, I was able to put up a post, that Hannah was safe, moved into a vet boarding house across the street from the shelter, where we got her out 2 hours before being euthanized. And I was listed as her new owner, but it would be nearly 2 agonizing weeks before I could meet her.
It was a torrential rain, as we landed in Seattle on our first stop. I deplaned as the cleaning crew came aboard, and went off to get some breakfast and coffee. An hour later, I reboard, and we take off, and I try to relax on the 5 hour flight to Houston. I am nervous, and excited, and still feeling a mite crazy about what I have taken on. What would she be like, I wonder. Would we love each other, or would we clash?? I read, watch my DVD player, watch the planes movies, try to eat, relax.
We finally land in Houston. I wait forever for my bag, and then I get my rental car, and rental GPS, so I could find the vet clinic, 35 miles away. My heart is in my throat, as I get settled in the little Mitsubishi, punch in the coordinates and head off to Laporte.
40 minutes later, I am there. I hesitate a moment, as a calm suddenly comes over me. This is it, I think. I open the door, walk inside. Hi, I am Richard. The staff look at me. I am the guy from Alaska. Sudden smiles, your here for Hannah!!! I pay the last few bills, sign my name, as staff bustles around, and one of them runs off to the back. A moment later, she reapears, and my heart nearly stops. The shelter photo had done the hyper, straining little GSD no justice. Hannah was so pretty in person. I really had no idea. The vet staff hand her little red throw-away leash off to me, and Hannah drags me out to the parking lot. I get her into the rental car, and we drive away. The pent-up energy was spilling out of her, as she was climbing all over in the car. A panic hits me. Will a kennel keep her contained on our way home??
Back in Houston, we check into our motel. Hannah is nervy, edgy, panting nonstop. I am dead, almost. The outside temperature is nearly 100 degrees, and it has sapped all my energy out. Hannah cannot seem to settle down, and I finally go to sleep, expecting to awake to a trashed motel room. But for 12 hours, we slept. And silently bonded. It is nearly noon when we awaken from our slumber, and I am suprised to see a calm, collected Hannah. We load up in the car, and go off to breakfast, and shopping for a kennel. And a puppy pawprint collar and leash. On our way back to the motel, I load Hannah into the kennel, and am suprised that she seems quite comfortable in it.
We play tourist for 2 more days, and on June 11th, we head to the airport for the long flight home. The whole way home, I am so nervous. Would the flight break the magic, would I find a terrified Hannah in Anchorage?? Forever, and a day later, we land in Anchorage, and I run to the oversized luggage reception, and wait nervously. Soon the big kennel comes through the door, and I run to it, and look inside. Hannah is laying in the bottom, quietly preening herself. Her eyes suddenly sparkle, as she sees me, and recognizes me. I hurriedly call the airport shuttle to take me to my car, and then it is finally time for us to head back to Fairbanks, and home. And we have not looked back.