Gotcha Day. Adopt-aversary. Adoption day. Whatever you call it, it’s a good day to celebrate.

Four years ago last Wednesday, Oakley came home. Did I show you this picture? oakley

(He was getting anxious and his eyes had dilated, causing a weird bounce of the flash.)

The application had been processed in forty eight hours. The call came: want to meet him at the adoption fair on Saturday?

Yes, please. Clean the crate. Put anything chewable out of reach. Get the water bowl ready, the one with DOG on the side. Kept us from using it for chips.

Ready as we ever could be, we drove to the pet store hosting the fair. It was sunny, mild, and the residual snow from the Groundhog Day blizzard clung in clumps and small heaps to the green spaces in the parking lot.

Oakley and a terrier mix occupied a large crate. The director of the shelter reached in, put a slip lead around Oakley’s neck and brought him out to meet us. He seemed puzzled, but compiled with us walking him around on the leash.

Filled out some more paperwork, bought some necessities, and headed to the car.

I managed to corral several yards of legs and tail into a manageable bundle and sat him on my lap. He looked out of the window, then put his head on my shoulder, sighed, and began to snore.

Even with the bond forging between pour hearts, it took time to unpack the shelter baggage, more than expected. It took patience to help him grow beyond the semi-feral anxiety based behaviors, more than I thought I had. Every night, I reminded him, “You are a descendent of the companions of the courts of France and England. I expect you to act as such.”

Not a few treats later, he blossomed from the spastic moody teen-dogger into a calm (except at play group), affectionate, gentle companion doing his Great Pyr and hound ancestors proud.

And his human mom, too.

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