Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thorin Finds a New Home

            It’s hard to believe that only one week ago I was rushing home from work to walk Thorin, taking him with me whenever I could, worrying about him home alone, wondering how I would be able to afford to feed and care for him.  
          So much can change so quickly.
          As planned, we loaded the car on Sunday morning to take Thorin to meet his potential new family.  As we piled the kennel, dog bowls, and all evidence of our dogs into the car, we felt conflicted.  On the one hand, the dogs had taken up a lot of space in our lives:  physically in the condo as well as emotionally, mentally, financially, and time-consuming.  The stress and responsibility had taken a toll.  On the other hand, they had filled our lives with joy and play and unconditional love.  With both dogs gone and all of their things out of the condo, it suddenly felt empty.  Yet also familiar. 

At eleven years, Thorin is the same age as a human in his seventies, and it is a gift that we found someone interested in him at this advanced age.  For eleven years, Thorin has been part of our family.  Emotions flared during the somber ride as we fluctuated between relief and sadness, happiness and guilt, liberation and concern.  Will he be happy?  Will they like him?  Will the change be too much for him?  Will he miss us too much?  Will we miss him too much? 
          Since we missed church, we played our favorite praise songs and sang along on the drive to Apopka.  We pulled up to a nice house with a big, fenced-in backyard.  The couple greeted us with their small Yorkie, Hercules.  The two dogs sniffed each other, and when Thorin started to hump, Hercules snapped, putting Thorin in his place.  From then on, the dogs appeared to get along, and Thorin explored the new space.  He enjoyed the front yard, loved the wide, open rooms and wooden floors in the house, and adored the backyard.  We were shocked that he didn’t pee in the house and instead continuously begged to go outside.
          This couple shared about their two previous Australian terriers and how excited they were to welcome another one.  For an hour, we talked to them as Thorin investigated the area and got to know his new brother.  They were happy to have Thorin join their family, and he appeared content, more interested in the new space than us.  They called him Thor, for short, so they now have two dogs:  Hercules and Thor.

Finally, we said goodbye and went to the car as Thorin trotted out to the backyard again.  Sobbing, Lexi said, “We didn’t get to say a real goodbye.”  
          “Go back in, then.  Go ahead.  They won’t mind.”  Lexi and Laina went back inside to hug and kiss him and then returned to the car with tears flowing. 

Since the couple’s home is only minutes from Kelly Park, we made plans to return in the spring to go tubing in Rock Springs and to see our Thorin again.  Also, we decided to go tubing that afternoon to soak up the sun and enjoy the refreshing, cleansing waters.  As usual, we floated downstream and walked back upstream—four times. The water was invigorating, the exercise was stimulating, and the time together outside was healing.
          A few hours later, we were famished, so we followed the directions to one of our favorite restaurants, Chipotle, and ate burrito bols before heading home.
          When I texted to check on Thorin, they sent pictures and assured us that he is doing well.  He follows them around everywhere and sits right beside them.  They think he misses us and is a bit confused, but overall, he seems content, seems to belong.  And, he has someone to take care of him and give him the time he deserves, which is what we want for him.

We blasted Christmas carols on the way home, and I felt nostalgic.  For three years now, the three of us have been our own family, spending the holidays together, which has been precious but also very different as I come from an extremely large extended family as does their dad.  We are used to boisterous play, crazy conversation, lively activity, and lots of people around.  Thus, the holidays have felt a little lonely for the three of us.  We long to be swept back up into a large family for the holidays.  More than anything, we long to belong. 

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