Monday, November 21, 2022

Hello, Sylvester!

From the time she was little, my daughter wanted a dog. A dog who would love her best, a dog to walk and to hug and to be her companion. I tried, when she was in high school, to fulfill her wish, and adopted Binky, a small poodle. Unfortunately, Binky was not in on the plan, and decided he was my dog, NOT her dog. She'd take him for walks, and he'd drag on the leash, not wanting to be separated from me. He slept in my room, and was my constant companion as I moved around the house. His happiest welcome home dance was reserved for me. *sigh*

So, after Kate finished grad school and moved to California, she figured it would be a good time to try again. She bought Sylvester as a puppy. This time, I wasn't around to mess things up, and sure enough, Sylvester was a good dog for her. She and Lexi LOVED having him around, and he was her dog. He loved going for walks with her; his happiest tail-wagging welcome home dance was reserved for her arrival any time she arrived back after leaving the house. Dog life was good.

Then, this fall, Kate's work routine changed. She's away from home for another thirty minutes to an hour each day, and Sylvester started getting stressed. He'd passed his I'm-OK-home-alone threshold, and started licking himself raw and showing other signs of anxiety. Kate tried her best to help him adjust, but the one thing he needed, more people time, was the one thing she couldn't give him right now.

Wanting to help, I offered to let him stay with me for a while. It'll be a year or more before her schedule eases, and since I'm home a LOT more than she is these days, I thought he might be happier here. She didn't want to let him go. (I didn't want for her to have to let him go.) But he was not living his best doggy life the way things were, so she sadly started looking at ways to get him here.

He's too tall to travel in the cabin of an airplane, and air cargo transport is very, very stressful for dogs. We thought about meeting halfway, in Albuquerque, NM. Trolling the internet for options, I found a site called Citizen Shippers. Yup. It turns out you can Uber your dog across the country.

She pulled up the reservation form, and put in the from / to addresses, along with a short description of Sylvester. Within thirty minutes, she had over 20 bids from people willing to drive the dog here for a reasonable fee. (It ended up costing about the same as it would have for us to meet up halfway.)

A week later, Sylvester was on his way. Three days after they picked him up, he arrived on my doorstep. He was tired, confused and thirsty, but, as a pleasant surprise, not overly stressed.

He's been here for just a few days, and is starting to settle in quite well. He's still confused, but he remembers me from my visits to California, and is starting to accept me as a good-enough substitute for HER. I'm rather liking having him here, but Monster does NOT agree.

Monster took one look at Sylvester when he walked in the door, vaulted for the top tier of the cat tree, and there he's stayed. He comes down to eat and drink at night after Sylvester is safely penned upstairs with me for the night. I'm sad for him; I don't know how to help him be more comfortable. I am hoping time will work its magic, and they will decide to ignore each other. At least they're not fighting; I figure that's a good sign.

I'm pretty sure this will work out well in the long run. Kate is no longer worried about Sylvester. I am happy to keep him here as long as she needs me to; he is a good dog. And Monster will eventually decide he misses his box with water, and come down from his perch to establish his rightful place at the top of the household hierarchy. I hope.

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