A Dog Story: A New Home for Francine
Posted on May 09, 2012 by WayCoolDogs
I was asked by a friend to pick out a dog for another friend of hers, as her male had lost his mate and was pining. Since I had been working mostly with the little dogs for a while, I was out of touch with that section of the kennels, so I didn’t realize that the one I liked the look of had already been there for a month, and was on the point of being put down as no one had adopted her. Some fancy footwork was involved to first of all get the lady there to see her as soon as possible, and then to make sure that the papers were signed to guarantee that no one could make a mistake and go ahead with the PTS (put to sleep).
She was the oddest combination of breeds. The body, predominantly black, was all german shepherd, and the tail and paws and ears, and her general bearing was all shepherd. But her face was covered with an endearing cream-coloured frizz, and this was repeated on her upper legs, and on her tummy. It felt a little like handling a baby hedgehog, whose quills hadn’t yet solidified enough to hurt. Her fur was bristly, but not unpleasant to the touch. I considered calling her Surrey (with the frizz on top!), and then changed my mind and she became Francine.
What was remarkable about her, from the first time I opened her cage, was that, even after a month of ‘incarceration’ she was so laid back. Most dogs at that stage are absolutely frantic to get out, but Francine looked at me, cocked her head, and gave me her paw. And when I looped the leash around her neck and stepped back, she delicately picked her way out, instead of making a mad headlong leap as the majority do.
Outside she was a model of good behavior. She would walk along quite sedately and then, not being able to resist any longer, break into a gentle trot, all the while looking round to see if this was alright with me. She never pulled me off my feet, like some of them do, and if I stopped to chat to someone she stopped and waited patiently till I was finished. If I sat on the stone bench, she would hop up beside me and sit as close as she possibly could, so I had no choice but to put my arm around her. Then she would lean up against me and very gently lick my cheek.
Off we would go on phase two of the walk, into the banana plantation, and once she realized we were headed in that direction she would start making little leaps in the air, and looking around at me and smiling. I swear a couple of times she almost clicked her heels. She loved the moist smells of the undergrowth around the banana trees, and would delicately investigate the fallen leaves which were piled as mulch around the base of them, burying her nose deep inside to savor the aroma (which frankly I couldn’t appreciate but could see that it gave her much pleasure).
Due to a mix—up in the paperwork, her spay date was passed over several times, but I didn’t worry as I knew her home was secure, and I so enjoyed her company. One day a scout from the canine division of the police came looking for a candidate for the search and rescue program. She took Francine out and put her through her paces, testing her for this and that, and she passed with flying colors. Then of course they located her paperwork and realized that she was already spoken for. It was heartening for me though to realize that it wasn’t just me, and that she did indeed have very special qualities.
Finally it was time for her surgery, and the next day she went home. To my great delight, a few days later I received photos of her with her new soul-mate, Brownie. She looked quite at home, and my friend was delighted with her.
There was no doubt that Brownie was delighted too!
Guest Post by Cindi Scholefield, a volunteer at the local animal shelter in Kingston, Jamaica.
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