She’s been my dream dog and I hope she’s been as happy during these years as I have. I think she adores me as much as I adore her.
I’d wanted a dog for over a year but started my little family with a shelter cat I named Bumble. More about Bumble in another post. Today is Bama’s day.
I successfully defended my dissertation in August 2004 and the fall semester at Oklahoma State was off to a good start. I resumed my search for a dog. Stillwater Animal Control maintained the local shelter and they had (still have, I think) an arrangement with the Stillwater Humane Society (located a few feet away) that all adoptable animals whose time ran out at the Control shelter would be transferred over to the no-kill Humane Society shelter. Both maintained regularly-updated web listings of the animals needing a home.
In late September I discovered a new dog named “Kosoma.” She’d been picked up as a stray on Sept. 20, 2004. No one had claimed her after the first week, so they’d put her up for adoption. Described as a large Labrador retriever, female. I still have the page I printed from the web. In addition to her basic info the listing said: “Notes: Kosoma could be a purebred. She is about 2 years old. She is a quiet adult (through with the puppy stuff.).”
Kosoma was just what I’d been looking for. Or so I hoped. I paid a visit to the Animal Control shelter. She was great. Walked on a leash, very quiet. Never barked once, despite the cacophony of barking and howling that greets you in a shelter. She seemed to have been trained. Definitely looked like a purebred Lab to me. Money was tight so I said I needed to wait a few days until the end of the month when I was paid before I could adopt. I hoped no one would beat me to the punch. But I was pretty safe–large black dogs aren’t the most popular at shelters, especially if the large black dog is an adult.
I went back after the first of October to visit Kosoma again. She had a bit of a paunch and I was concerned that she might be carrying a litter of pups (which I wasn’t in a position to deal with). They said they’d have her checked by the vet when she stopped by. Got a call the next day (Wednesday) from the vet herself who said Kosoma was definitely not pregnant and that she was so well-behaved, etc. etc. Really gave me the adoption pitch.
Making my commitment was the final hurdle. I had a cat so I needed a dog that would be good with cats. That was an unknown. I didn’t have a fenced in backyard at the time so I needed a dog that could spend lots of time indoors. Labs are energetic and need room to run but this one seemed to be somewhat different.I decided Kosoma was probably older than 2 years. She was just too calm to be a 2-year-old Lab.
I vacillated. I definitely wanted to adopt but I wanted to be responsible. So I decided to wait just a bit longer. I had a 12′ x 12′ kennel with a shade cover that I’d bought from a neighbor who’d recently moved. I could use that during the day but my dog would be a mostly-indoor dog, until I could build a fence. If no one else adopted her, I knew she’d be safe at the Humane Society while I made my decision about what to do without a fence.
Thursday, October 7, 2004: The next day I received a call from the shelter. They’d given Kosoma all her shots on Wednesday, in anticipation of transferring her to the Humane Society shelter. Due to severe overcrowding, however, the Humane Society couldn’t take any more dogs for a few weeks. For the first time in at least a year, Animal Control was going to have to euthanize adoptable dogs. Bama’s time would be up at 7 a.m. Friday morning if she didn’t find a home. The shelter was open until 7 p.m. for late adoptions on Thursday nights.
I told the Animal Control officer, Mary, that I’d be there after work to take her home. I knew that I could take her to Alabama to live on my parents’ farm if she didn’t work out at my house. My parents love Labs as much as I do. We’d had two already.
It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
I love you Bama. And so does Bumble. Thank you for coming into my life.
(More later about the wild adventure we had during the first hour after arriving at home. I have to go to work now).