Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How Honey became Chewy

Honeybun is a cute name for my new friend: She gives slurpy (almost syrupy) kisses and is not picky about where. Ears, eyelids, thighs, she loves to smooch.

Yet "Honeybun" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, so we considered other names.

Brioche. Toffee. Challah (Holla!).

But none quite worked.

You know what else Bun loves? Chewing. Leashes, buttons, fingers, toes, the arm of the sofa. She is gentle but insistent, delighted to bring a running shoe or shower sandal onto the bed (that's my bed, by the way).

And so Chewy it is.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Adopting Honey

I've been wanting to adopt a dog, but the timing hasn't been right — my knee surgery, the weather (unusually cold!), and my parents' kitchen remodel felt like a perfect storm of obstacles. So I mostly looked online, for medium-sized mutts.

I received a listing for a border collie mix, a blonde girl named Mercy. She cocked her head just so; worth an application, I decided.

A day later, Anna from Chicago Canine Rescue asked about my approach to dog training and when I could visit the shelter. Wednesday, it turned out. Why wait until the weekend?

I drove to Chicago to meet Mercy, who was first on my introduction list. "You could name her Marcy," Kelsey had said. (Adorable!) But after a few awkward minutes it was clear Mercy wasn't comfortable around me.

Yet Anna and Hannah encouraged me to meet whoever I wanted. They were super knowledgeable and open to answering my many questions. So I met eight dogs.

Esperanza, a sato, was on the short list. (By the way, I learned a lot about satos from my many talks with Meryl from The Sato Project. She's their adoption and foster coordinator, and she not only knows a lot about the dogs, but she'll figure out your personality as well.) In Puerto Rico, Esperanza had stayed by the side of an injured dog, and I liked her loyalty.

But after almost three hours at the shelter, I also felt like I couldn't bear to leave Cinder, a gentle 40-pound black lab mix who rested her chin on my knee whenever I stopped petting her. She must have been practicing her soulful gazing.

It was hard to choose only one dog. But the first dog I'd had a connection with that day was Honey. In her profile, it said she "greets strangers with confidence." Indeed, she did: kissing, licking, waiting for belly rubs. "Pouring it on," as Hannah said. Honey seemed to love people, dogs, and toys, and I couldn't resist her playful spirit.

I never realized that adopting a dog comes down to not adopting other dogs. But Honey, who looks like a miniature German shepherd, was incredibly sweet. She was the one, my little Honeybun.