Sometimes, though probably more often than we might prefer, changes occur quickly and unexpectedly. We usually want warning months in advance as opposed to the instantaneous and foreboding phosphoric brilliance of a signal flare alerting us that change will be happening right-now-so-get-ready. Either way, we do what we can do handle these Unexpectations.
Fiance and I were getting a bite and a sip at the new coffee shop around the corner from us when we ran into a girl who had the most well-behaved and friendly Corgi. We were smitten as he waddled up to us on his knobby joints and demanded attention in the forms of scratching and cooing. Normally, I don't care for designer dogs but I've always had a weak spot for Corgis and Huskies.
"Where did you get him?" I asked.
"On Craigslist, the family who had him couldn't keep him. I got him when he was about five. He's been great," she replied.
Craigslist? Of all places for a Corgi? Normally, a purebred dog of any kind comes from a breeder or puppy mill and costs $500 minimum. So, obviosuly, could we help it if Fiance and I hopped and Craigslist and took a look?
We searched the word "Corgi" and one entry, posted only an hour before, popped up.
Corgi puppies available. Purebred and in need of homes. The parents are farm dogs who work on a horse boarding ranch. Not a puppy mill. Asking for $150. I realize this is expensive but we want to make sure they go to a good home. They have had their first shots. Girls and boys available.
When it's come to the possibility of adopting a dog I've always stood by a certain set of princples. No puppies. I don't want to potty train and all that jazz. Shelter dogs only. No purebreed (well, unless a Corgi or Huskie show up at the shelter). Have a yard; I like having unchewed furniture and I don't want a dog running stir crazy in a tiny apartment.
But suddenly, here was a situation that seemed almost unthinkable. Practically untenable and unheard of in California. Corgi puppies. For a reasonable price. Raised well on a farm and not at a puppy mill. And I did have that yard now...
I sent off a reply:
My fiance and I are writing about the Corgi pups and would love some more information about their health and the adoption fee. We are both well employed; I work in adoptions for a non-profit and as a freelance writer and cookbook author, and my fiance is a combat medic with the Army Reserves. We're a responsible and loving couple who have been looking for a Corgi as we feel it's the breed that best matches our active lifestyle and home (we live in a spacious duplex with a large yard) and get along with our two cats. We can provide a loving home, lots of attention, plenty of walks, and ensure the pup gets proper and regular veterinary care. =)
Thank you so much,
All totally the truth though perhaps artfully shined up a bit as can be expected. Having worked in adoption I knew exactly what kind of letter to write and how to ensure we would be picked to meet the puppies.
And we were. The poster wrote us back minutes later and asked us to come by.
I was still nervous. A puppy? Potty training, crate training, walk training, the hours, the needs, the expenses. Did we have time? Could we afford it? I essentially refrained from committing until I met the owner. Fiance was already on board and convinced I was too and that I was fooling myself. "You'll fall in love and those reservations of yours will go out the window," he chided.
The hell they were I assured him. I would not fall in love and commit to the care for another living creature for the next 15+ years based on, of all things, love at first sight.
The poster, Brenda, a hearty and rather jovial woman with a bob cut, thick legs bowed slightly from years of riding a horse's back, and hands calloused from caring for them as she did met us. We took to each other immediately lost in jokes about farm work and food (things we both loved).
Brenda opened the door the room the puppies were being kept and almost immediately a herd of Corgi puppies launched themselves at us with ears so big they could pick up HBO and nubby tails exuberantly wagging. It was Awww'mageddon and we were totally unprepared for it. There were no survivors.
If we took well to Brenda, we took to her puppies even quicker. Especially one. The runt. An insignificant little guy who trotted a few steps behind the rest and who when he could finally push in to meet us insisted on simply settling on our laps and falling asleep.
We named him, Jack. After the cheese (and Kerouac and Daniels), of course, which has become his favorite treat for when he gets encouragement and praise for proper potty outside or hopping in his crate.
Jack is quiet, precocious, more of a dog who acts like a cat, really. He doesn't bark, after a few days is already (mostly) potty trained, and doesn't nip or herd us as is common with Corgis and their humans. His only mission is to be cuddled at all times and we are happy to provide any and all assistance with this task.
There's been little time to cook and write because I'm snuggling the bejesus out of Jack, puppy-proofing the house, getting him shots, starting obedience school and so on. So far everyone seems to love everyone, and while Eat Beast is still warming up to Jack, he's come to love Jack's often unattended and partially full food dish.
So while Jack sleeps, the cats cope, and Fiance makes an appointment with the Vet for Jack to get his boybits snipped I made a simple snack that seems to match my bright new parent of a fur baby mood and the rather rainy March weather outside.
Strawberries, the first real lush ones that have flavor, by God, unlike the supermarket Valentine's Day in February strawberries, are cut into tiny spears. These are then tossed with sugar, orange blossom water, and a bit of chopped thyme because thyme is a marvelous companion to fruit. Then you just let it sit for a bit and let the flavors meld.
I serve it over yogurt and serve it to friends or just toss it with a bit of oatmeal and read listen to NPR while the rest of the house sleeps in and Jack dozes off at my feet.
Strawberries with Orange Blossom Water and Thyme
1 pint of strawberries, quartered
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Toss together in a bowl and macerate for 15 minutes. Serve. See? Easy. Now go give your own pets some attention.
Ah yes, and the winner of the Beanilla prize package is Megan Herreid Pires of Megan's Cookin'. Congrats, Megan!