Au Revoir, Valentino

I took Valentino to his new home last night. A lot of people ask me questions like, "Isn't it so hard to leave them?" and "How do you do it?" Well, after a dozen years as a rescue volunteer, it's certainly gotten easier. Valentino just needed a good home. He didn't need anything that only I could provide. I helped him to regain his health; my job was done. That is not to say I don't love him and I won't miss him - I do and I will.

Valentino was adopted by a couple with four other dogs. They are both physicians (she is a pediatrician and he is an ENT), which is not really relevant to their ability to care for a dog, of course, but I suppose it's nice to know that they have the means to address any health issues that may arise. Prior to adopting Valentino, their canine family included two male Boxers and two mixed breed dogs. One of their Boxers developed a tumor in his jaw a couple years ago, so they took him to a specialist and had part of the jaw removed. They are devoted to all of their canine companions and seemed genuinely excited to add Valentino to the pack.

When I arrived at their home last night, I hopped out of my Mom-mobile and met Kelly at the door. I had Valentino on his leash. I looked around at the (large) neighboring homes with their perfect landscaping and brick exteriors.  "I locked my car doors," I told Kelly. "This looks like a pretty sketchy neighborhood."  She laughed and told me that one neighbor invited her to come over and use their pool any time she wants, even if they are not home. Hell, I don't think my neighbors would even bring over my mail if it were delivered to them by mistake.

I have to say that Valentino integrated seamlessly into the resident pack. Kelly and Todd did the introductions carefully, but it only took a few minutes before Valentino was galloping around the spacious, fenced back yard with his new friends. When the dogs came inside, things continued to go well. Valentino made all the right gestures, such as licking the other dogs under the chin and mouth (in doggie language, this is a "hey, I'm a nice guy and I don't need to be the boss here" statement). Kelly showed me the doggie toy chest (which was, literally, a large wooden treasure chest) and explained that one of their dogs only likes a certain kind of ball. They can't find it locally, so they have to order the balls from England whenever he runs out. Yes, I think Valentino will be juuuuust fine. I had half a mind to ask if they'd like to adopt me as well.

When I left, they gave me a couple of little Easter gifts for my daughter. Like I said, these people are genuinely good eggs. I did wait until I was about to leave to let them know of one of Valentino's fun little quirks, which is that he likes to lick his junk (loudly) in the dead of night. I was hoping that would not be a deal breaker. As for us, our house is a little quieter and less chaotic, but we're fine with that. Four dogs is a little much for our smallish house - I prefer to keep our doggie population at three (our two plus foster dog Kaiser). I only took in Valentino because I saw his sad photo while he was at animal control (when he weighed all of 33 pounds) and felt called to be his caregiver for the time that he needed me. He doesn't need me anymore. He's got four brothers, a fancy dog bed, a huge yard, and a winding mahogany staircase to gnaw on (hmmmm . . . I'm not sure if I explicitly mentioned to them that Valentino has been known to chew wood). I'm so glad my boy got his happy ending.

Valentino keeping vigil while my daughter sleeps