2017-04-20 / Pets
Puppy search ends with adoption of shelter elder citizen
As we travel through life, we vow to “never make the same mistake twice.” And after having experienced years of tremendous heartache and disappointment with an older stray dog I’d adopted, I vowed to never again adopt a dog more than three months old.
Well, maybe it’s time to mothball all those sensible old maxims, because I am sitting here with my new dog curled up in my lap. She is 8 years old and was adopted March 23 from the Agoura Animal Shelter.
Her name was Millie, but I changed this to Mijbil in honor of the mischievous, clever otter Mijbil in author Gavin Maxwell’s memoir “Ring of Bright Water,” so she is definitely not an otterhound, a British breed once used to kill otters in rivers.
Mijbil the Dog’s muzzle bears a telltale “white frosting” that’s a sign of aging. A long pinkish scar runs across her nose. Her left ear appears to have been on the losing end of a dog fight.
For Mijbil’s breed heritage I’ve guessed maybe Jack Russell terrier (she’s tri-colored and has a docked tail) blended with Italian greyhound (tapered muzzle, skinny legs, delicate appearance). She displays exuberance and calm in equal measure.
The woman who surrendered Mijbil had only owned her for 7 months. She told the shelter staff that the dog had nipped her child and had a food fight with her other dog.
I was drawn to Mijbil because she had the vivacious, affectionate personality of my peerless trail dog who’d passed away in 2012 and vaguely bore a resemblance to that dog.
But a nipper and brawler?
Did I want to get into the “meet-and-greet” enclosure with her?
Well, Mijbil weighs only 19 pounds, so I steeled myself.
Shelter staff clarified Mijbil’s bad press as two isolated minor incidents where no injuries occurred. Beyond that, I have no idea of Mijbil’s past.
She’d ended up at the Ventura County Animal Shelter in Camarillo in August 2016. In March 2017 she landed at the Agoura shelter.
Part of me—the sensible, maxim-adhering part—should have been weighing all this and sounding an alarm.
“Old Dog, multiple owners, unknown history . . .” And another part of me, the part that’s been dwelling in a sorrowful place since 2012, delivered a rather blunt take on the matter: “She’s an old dog. You’re an old dog. She loved you instantly and is sweet, smart and adorable. Stop mourning and start rejoicing.”
On our initial outing we walked happily for miles. I bought Mijbil a warm sweater and an ID tag engraved with my address.
“Good things come to those who wait.”
I was always dubious about the merits of that particular maxim. No one could’ve been more surprised than I was to discover after years of pained longing and fruitless searching for a puppy, that little old Mijbil would be waiting to set things right.
Glasser is a writer fascinated by all manner of natural phenomena surrounding her home in the Santa Monica Mountains. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.