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Thursday, May 16, 2013

So long, Izzy

In a strange twist of events, Izzy is no longer a Limbaugh.

Yesterday I got a call from the Pflugerville Animal Shelter, from where we adopted her 3 weeks ago. Izzy's owner of 5 years had received a called the day before from the breeder, whose information was on Izzy's microchip. For whatever reason, the breeder waited 3 weeks to contact Izzy's owner to give her the news that Izzy was at the shelter.

Initially, the shelter refused to call me saying they don't interfere with successful adoptions. But the woman apparently sobbed for 20 minutes in their office. They gave in. When I answered the call the Animal Control Officer asked how Izzy was getting along. I said truthfully, unaware of what was coming, "She is great! We can tell she came from a loving home where she was taken good care of!"

The Officer hemmed and hawed. She then laid it on me as a woman in the back ground sobbed. The Officer told me they were not "forcing" me to give Izzy back, only "offering an option." Feeling thunder struck, I started to cry. (Poor Clark, standing there, listening to my side of the conversation and watching me cry/talk. What he must have been thinking!) The Officer tells me that Izzy had been with this family, including four kids and a cat, for 5 years. The family is heartbroken. Now, I am heartbroken.

This is where doing the right thing, no matter how right or noble it is, can be super difficult. I KNEW in my heart that I had to give Izzy back to the family that loved and desperately wanted her. If the shoe were on the other foot, I would be devastated and sobbing too, wanting my pup/family member back. And I could not help but think about Rajah, my mom's lost beloved dog. If she suddenly showed up or was located, I would beat down the devil to get her back to my mom, even after all this time.

So I told the Officer that I would give Izzy back but questioned how that would work. She wasn't sure what to tell me so she put me on hold. Then she came back and asked if she could call me back. I don't know what happened in those 10 minutes but when she called back, she asked if I would be willing to speak to Jackie, the owner. I was willing, if for nothing more than to get a sense of who this woman was. Now, imagine two crying women trying to talk but being slightly guarded and tenative. That was us. It was hard for us both.

Jackie told me the whole story again. She told me how sad her kids had been. I asked what they had called her. "Emmie," with the nickname' "MJ." I told her I would give MJ back but that I needed 30 minutes. I didn't want Dane to come home and not have had the chance to say his good-byes. He, like me, loves our pups with 100% whole heart. We exchanged info and she promised to call in 30 minutes to let me know she was on her way. As soon as I hung up, I called "Emmie!" Izzy turned her head quickly and came running to me. That was the first time since we had her that she had responded automatically to a name. No doubt, she knew that name.

I got Dane out of school and brought him home. (Yep, I was crying in the office when I asked to get Dane.) Once home, he and I cried and hugged all over MJ. In exactly 30 minutes, Jackie called and said she was around the corner. Dane, Clark, and I went out front with MJ on the leash. Jackie pulled up and stepped out of the car saying, "MJ!" MJ pulled so hard on the leash trying to get to Jackie. Jackie swooped MJ up into her arms as MJ licked her and whimpered in that "happy to see my people" way that dogs do. No doubt, they were family.

Jackie was so grateful that we were willing to give her baby back. She said "thank you" over and over. As we chatted sadly and awkwardly, I watched MJ settle into Jackie's arms in an old comfortable way. Everything about her body language said she was happy, relaxed, and peaceful. The right thing. Emotional. Hard.

Dane, Clark, and I said one final goodbye. Dane ran into the house crying. I cried in the yard. I am crying right now. Happy for MJ and Jackie. Sad for the Limbaugh's that had grown attached to the cute little girl.

Maybe once we have had some time to heal the hurt, we will call Jackie for the doggie play date we spoke of before she and MJ drove away.

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