written in retrospect, September 5, 2022
When Snick died in September 2021, Ronon was still in foster care in Indiana. By then, I felt like I couldn’t possibly have another dog any time soon. I’d committed to adopting him before Snick passed away though, and I couldn’t find anyone else to take him, so, on October 29, 2021, I woke up at 3:00 AM, flew to Indianapolis, picked up a rental SUV, and went to meet my new dog.
I knew it was going to be hard – he’d never lived indoors, much less in an urban apartment, he had very little training, and I was grieving my Best Boy. It actually turned out to be considerably worse than I had imagined it would be.
We Didn’t Get Off to a Good Start
We met in the parking lot of a pet store near Indy. He was nervous, a bit wild, and he STUNK. He’d been such a “massively wriggly bundle of struggle” in foster care, that he’d spent most of his time crated, and he had, at times, pooped in the crate when no one was there to let him out. So, our first experience after meeting was an attempt at bathing him in the self-serve grooming room at the pet store. To say that didn’t go well would be an understatement. Now he was more nervous, still stinky, and we were both dirty and wet.
Next we went to get his crate, rinse it out, wedge it in the rental, and have some lunch before heading out.
After eating lunch and hanging out a little bit, we needed to get on the road. Poor boy was so upset when I loaded him in the car and drove away. He stared out the windows and barked and whined for the first 10 or 15 miles before finally lying down dejected and confused on the back seat. (The crate was too big to sit upright, so he couldn’t ride in it.)
We Stopped Halfway to Spend the Night
I didn’t want to take him home to Philly without getting to know him a little bit, so we stopped for the night at a Red Roof Inn about halfway home. Our night in the hotel was my introduction to how hard adjusting to living indoors was going to be for him. He alerted to every sound outside the room at first. He seemed confused and couldn’t get comfortable or stay in one place for the first few hours.
After feeding him, feeding me, and hanging out together for a few hours, I finally went to bed. Considering I’d been up since 3:00 AM, it had been a very, very long day. But about four hours after I went to bed, he PEED IN THE HOTEL ROOM.
I thought nothing could wake me up faster than the sound of a dog puking. Turns out the sound of a big dog peeing in the corner of a hotel room will do it. After I took him out and cleaned up the lake of pee, I leashed him to the bed, and we both slept for another few hours, thankfully.
That was our gotcha day.