Five hours changed my life. “Should I get a dog” morphed into “I’m on my way to get a dog!” and tilted abstract thought into action. Five hours to traverse Maryland to New York and introduce me to the force now known as Keegan, lying in wait for me at Sweet Border Collie Rescue.
I didn’t want Keegan. I wanted the beautiful traditional looking Border Collie from the rescue to replace my former one. But Lillie, the rescue owner, insisted on showing me this small brown and white fox looking creature with a pointed snout and very merry tail. “I have a dog for you”, she said. “He’s perfect for you”, she said. Into the room burst a Tasmanian devil of motion, whirling, spinning, leaping. “Oh dear god!”, I burst out, embarrassed that Lillie apparently thought this perpetual motion undisciplined sprite was somehow my perfect match.
Then I spotted the ball. “Ah, gotcha now, you dervish”, and I threw it. The fake fox creature caught it with dizzying accuracy and speed, rebounded off the counter, and gently plunked it at my feet. “Not bad, not bad”, I thought and wafted it again in an impossible arc. Again, perfect catch and gently deposited at my feet. Sixteen times.
“Let’s take this outside”, I boldly proclaimed, and off we trotted to see what this tornado of a dog could do. A kaleidoscope of action ensued with throwing, catching, chasing, wrestling, barking, joyful leaping. Collapsed in a heap, both of us panting with gleaming eyes, I decided that maybe I would overnight with this ridiculous creature to see if our magic bubble of bonding would burst. “But this is not the dog I want”, I told Lillie, “we’ll have to keep looking.” She just smiled and tilted her head at the sunbeams bouncing off the cabin. “He’s been rehomed six times. He runs away. He can jump an 8 foot fence. He can’t be around other dogs; he barks and doesn’t understand how to communicate with other dogs. He’s the wrong color and size. He has no manners.” She just kept smiling and gazing at the dust motes in the sunset.
Cold New York nights lend themselves to warm blankets, fireplaces, and a tired dog at your feet. I learned that Keegan spoons, does not snore, and did indeed have an ‘off’ button. We breakfasted on cheese and crackers together companionably and sealed the deal.
Lillie arrived as I prepared my humbling apology to voice acceptance of my new charge. Laughingly she informed me that she had already finalized the paperwork and always lets her dogs pick their humans. Keegan glued himself to me and then sprang into my car to leave. As his caregivers gathered, fully prepared to lavish him with affection and good wishes, my, little fox-dog did the unthinkable. He literally turned his nose up, presented his back, and steadfastly refused to make eye contact with these kind souls who had spoiled him through his multiple rehomings and misadventures. “I’m a Maryland dog now. I have a human now.” His message was clear; I had been unilaterally selected.