Here is Gussie's Story:
We were spending sabbatical leave in Lexington, VA., at Washington and Lee. Our original plans, which included a year of dining and exploring in New Orleans, were radically changed by Hurricane Katrina.
Proving the adage about Southern Hospitality, the community of Lexington embraced us, collectively known as "those poor Katrina folks" and we found new homes, academic and personal. But as beautiful as Lexington and the surrounding area are, there were a number of differences that led me to the computer to search for a "dog." translation: I was BORED in a town of 7000! My high school was bigger than that.
Our ESS (Nigel) died in June, and a dog was not included in our sabbatical plans. But I spent much of my free time walking and exploring, and met and fell in love with a rescue Bernese Mountain dog who lived on the top of a hill.
So, how did we get Gussie? Well....the Bernese lived on top of a hill. Our apartment was off Main street at the top of a looooong flight of stairs. The apartment was "cute", charming, convenient...it was also very small. And, Gussie's soon to be dad is a logical man. Over the period of a month or so he convinced me that a Bernese was not workable. Combined with the small size of the apartment was the very large size of the average Bernese and the relatively small size of muzzer. (Small BMDs weigh more than muzzer, large ones can outweigh me by 50 lbs.)
Researching Breeds kept me busy for a while, and we talked with other dog owners both in Lexington, on the phone, and a number of people on line. Lexington may only have 7000 people, but it has a LOT of dog breeds. We even met some Bedlington Terriers! Friends in Lexington and Charlottesville had Standard and Miniature poodles, Corgis, lots of coon hounds, spaniels, and airedales. (Yeah 'Dales says Gus) It was a long process, but it ended with putting in applications to two rescue groups: Welsh terriers and Wire Fox Terriers!
The paperwork for BOTH groups was almost as extensive as the paperwork to adopt a child was 35 years ago! Complicated by the fact that we were in temporary quarters which meant that at least one of the breed groups did TWO home visits, one to us in VA and one to our home in AZ, temporarily occupied by three college seniors!!!!!
Life goes on, and I scheduled a trip back to AZ to see my oncologist, check on my store, and home....and stop over in St. Louis to visit my aunt and uncle!
Ding-a-ling...two days before the trip we had a phone call from Md. asking if we would like to meet a rescue....the dog sounded perfect, but I know that the time window is often limited, because breed rescue groups can have very long waiting lists. Near tears, I explained that I needed to pass up my turn, becuase I felt it was not fair to leave Dad with a brand new dog and a couple of deadlines!
Bless Gus's foster mother. She told us we were perfect for the dog, and she would keep him until we could pick him up. So I left on a jet plane from DC the day after Thanksgiving....flew to St. Louis, spent some time with my relatives and flew on to Arizona for a clean check up and a healthy store. (we won't mention the house, OK?) And then back to DC, a short stop in Lexington to do laundry, and on to northern MD to meet Gus.
We picked him up on a Saturday and headed back to Lexington. He was very good in the car, good on lead at the rest stops and generally more mellow than I expected.
Or, sometimes we help muzzer make the bed!And then, his sister E. Rabbit came to visit for Christmas, and for both of them, it was love at first sight.
This is the woman Gus thinks gives the best "butt scrithes" in the world. He will go to almost any length to please her, even happily wearing the sweaters she knits.I cannot tell you exactly what goes on in his mind. But I hope that Gus is as happy with us as we are with him. Thank you to his foster mom and the rest of the WFT rescue network, and to the young couple who realized that they could not spare enough time to keep him happy!
thank you for reading Gussie's story