This is a long and detailed story, but it's one I want to remember so I'm going to post it.
After many many discussions, Jordan and I decided that this year Suzi could have a puppy for Christmas. (By "puppy," we meant dog in general; Suzi doesn't differentiate.) Jordan's close friend Miss Beth, from whom he learned his love of animals, began asking Suzi if she wanted a puppy as soon as she was born. Miss Beth gave Jordan a puppy when he was a child too, although she had to wait until he was ten before his parents approved. Jordan and I wanted a dog, but due to some painful mistakes regarding pets in the past, we were reluctant to jump into anything.
Jordan assured me that the decision to adopt a dog was a good one. I felt the same way, if it was the right dog. Just to be sure, the morning of our trip to the shelter I said a prayer that if we were not meant to have a dog, God would see that we didn't find the right one that day. All the dogs would be too big, too young, too hyper, or not good with children. I felt at peace that we would make the right decision once we met the dogs up for adoption.
When we arrived at Petsmart, a happy little dog named Bailey caught my eye. She was a small female and her foster mother said she was good with kids. I was excited to meet her, but first we were required to fill out an application--and the applications had been forgotten at the Project Pet office and weren't available yet. At the same time, Miss Beth spotted a beautiful little black lab/bassett mix. She was bigger than what I had in mind, but she was so calm, and her name just happened to be Sara. Miss Beth had unexpectedly lost her mother, also named Sara, earlier in December. It seemed it was meant to be. With bunches of other people also eyeing the dogs, Miss Beth carefully guarded Sara's crate and talked to her while we waited for the applications to arrive.
After Jordan filled out the extremely detailed application, one of the volunteers looked it over and talked to us for a couple of minutes. We asked to meet Sara and the volunteer went to get a leash. When she came back, she said "I have some bad news. Someone else who wants Sara just turned in their application before you. I'm not sure how that happened." The disappointment was intensified by the connection of the name, and Miss Beth in particular was crushed. No one else had seemed interested in Sara at all, and she had mentioned our desire to meet her to no less than three of the volunteers. Within minutes Sara was getting to know a family of five with three little boys, and we decided to meet Bailey as Miss Beth got some answers as to how the dog was adopted out from under us. The volunteers said they were sorry, but the other family really was first to hand their application in. The other dog, Bailey, was sweet but was not right for us. We worried that Suzi might annoy her and cause her to snap.
We hung around for a few minutes to be sure that family really was going to adopt Sara. When we saw a volunteer putting her back into her crate, we were hopeful they'd changed their minds, but it turned out they wanted a few minutes to "buy some things." It seemed strange that a family of five would come to Petsmart to adopt a dog and not one of them could hold her while they shopped. We decided to leave and go to the animal shelter. I thought perhaps we didn't get Sara because there was a dog who needed us somewhere else.
We didn't see any dogs at the shelter we wanted to meet. Some of their dogs had probably already been taken to Project Pet, and those dogs were at Petsmart. We sadly began the drive home, and I figured this was God telling us now was not the right time for a dog. Although I'd turned it over to Him, I couldn't help hoping we'd find one.
Remembering the weird behavior of Sara's new family at Petsmart, I suggested we stop back by and just be sure they hadn't changed their minds. Jordan and Miss Beth ran in to check while I sat with Suzi in the car. It's amazing to me how things can work out even when we are so certain they have gone all wrong. After a few minutes of hoping and praying for a happy ending, I saw Jordan walking back to the van alone. "Sara isn't here," he said, "but they just brought another dog with a similar disposition. Her name is Phyllis." We took Suzi in to meet her, and the volunteers who had witnessed how upset we were over Sara said they'd thought of us when Phyllis came in and were glad we'd returned. She was a five-year-old Vizsla mix and had been at the shelter for months. Some of the volunteers knew Phyllis well, and assured us she had a fabulous personality and would be great with Suzi. They felt the only reason she had been passed over so many times was a cosmetic issue--her underbite. (We like to think of it as a cute little toothy grin.) They explained that although the shelter dogs are named randomly, Phyllis had kept her name for so long that it would be best to change it to something similar. Since I don't much care for the name Phyllis, we decided to name her Phibby. Miss Beth's last name (and her mother's last name) is Phibbs, and Miss Beth had been nicknamed Phibby in college. On the way home we all realized how the events of the day must have been carefully orchestrated to bring us together with Phibby. Had we adopted Sara, no one may have come for Phibby. We found a dog who needed us as much as we needed her, and we never would have come back to Petsmart if it hadn't been for Sara.
We brought Phibby home and she has been an angel. Vizslas are sometimes called velcro dogs because they want to stick with their humans all the time, and that's what she's done. Her favorite activity is cuddling on the couch, and Jordan is going to take her to work tomorrow. She also loves to go for walks on her leash, is house-trained, and doesn't mind when Suzi gets in her face or holds her paws. Suzi follows her around calling "Phibby? Phibby?" and gives her lots of hugs and kisses. We are hoping she'll come out of her shell and play more soon, but she's still getting used to us.
I made her the jacket in the picture (with this pattern) so she can stay warm when we take her outside this winter. I was amazed at how nice it turned out. Making it myself out of things I already had saved us at least $20, and maybe more! Besides, now she has flair.