Adventures in Diplomacy
GRRoW applicants are subject to home visits/interviews just as are adoption hopefuls for real kids – except adopters of kids don’t always get to meet samples! Our rescued goldens, Ben and Bailey, had found their calling. Most of the time, they both came on these outings, and between May, 2007 and August, 2014, they made over 200 Home visits. Many families are experienced golden owners, and some have recently lost a furry buddy. As expected, they are enthusiastic about meeting the visiting dogs and are often right down on the floor for a snuggle-fest. Ben and Bailey returned the affections happily, taking their jobs seriously. I don't think there is anything they liked better than these activities. As soon as either of them spotted me in my bright orange shirt with the GRRoW logo, they got all goofy. Don't tell ME dogs can't see color! Can it get any better for a golden than going for a ride – and meeting new people? Maybe another critter!
One of the factors we look for is how comfortable the candidate is with the activities of the visiting dog in the home. Ben and Bailey were happy to oblige, and they always went exploring. The applicants’ reaction is part of the process. If there was a soft toy or a tennis ball, even under a bed or sofa, they'd find it.
On one visit, Ben suddenly pounced – swallowing a kitty toy whole and “sliming” another before we retrieved it from his jowls. Maybe he liked catnip. Later, he wrote a note of apology which included replacements. The chuckles all around were worth it. On other occasions, kids and other dogs would help turn things into a bit of chaos. A visit to a Waukesha family had three kids, two dogs and a half-dozen tennis balls flying about the room. Soon, the only things not panting were the tennis balls. Not long after, two GRRoW adoptees joined the family. Another success.
On one particularly memorable visit, I was chatting with the family about the adoption process and noticed that B & B had disappeared down a hallway for longer than usual. I asked the man of the house if there was something that might be of special interest........... His eyes got really big; “Omygosh – I forgot about Iggy!” We all hurried to a back bedroom/office. There the dogs were, sitting at attention, tails wagging furiously, as they were looking up into a fake tree in the corner. In the tree was a huge iguana - peering back at the inquisitive pooches. I recall the critter's name was "Igor." I was told that Igor wasn't much bothered by dogs, and that he used to nap with their former Golden in a dog bed in a sunny window. I'm glad our furkids could suppress their prey instincts. Well, not with chipmunks, gophers or small birds anyway. Ben still focused closely on rabbits, hamsters and birds in cages, but he was always the gentleman. (All bets could be off if a gerbil scurried across in front of him!)
Not long ago, Ben headed up a hallway, and in moments we heard the rustling of paper followed by a very clear sound of a dog chomping on something crunchy. Ben liked crunchy. He strolled nonchalantly from the back room, licking his chops and leaving a trail of crumbs. "Oh no!. That's Scott's dinner roll," exclaimed Kim, the evening’s interviewee. It turned out that a big sourdough roll from Panera Bread Co. had been left in an open purse on the floor. Hmmm, Ben had pretty good taste. It all came to a good laugh and a lesson learned regarding open purses on the floor in the presence of a visiting dog. Ben then topped things off a bit later by sitting right in front of the "victim" for some attention - and burping loudly right in his face! It was the best case of adding insult to injury I've seen in some time. Scott chuckled that he could smell the sourdough!
There have been occasional raids on cat food dishes during home visits, but B & B usually don't misbehave that way. Well, we'll recall that earlier incident of swallowing a catnip kitty toy.................. And then there was the time both of them met horses, up close, apparently for the first time. Engage your imagination. It was about as you might expect. Freak-out time brought on by “the biggest dogs they ever saw!” They’ve always gotten along with dogs in the families they visit, and cats are no big deal. Recently, a really friendly cat tried to play with Bailey, and for a few moments they raced around the yard. Ben ignored the whole thing, preferring to post a “p-mail” on a nearby tree.
Home visits were special for Ben and Bailey, and they were fine ambassadors for GRRoW, offering unconditional affection – and the occasional small adventure. Sometimes they’d get a bit bored and commence to play – all teeth and growls, but always in fun – although one little boy asked me, tearfully, “Are they fighting? Please make them stop!”
We were often invited to stay, and the fun they brought would sometimes add an hour to the interview. It was worth every minute.
TIME FOR A NAP!!