The search should have gone well but, unfortunately, like anyone with too much time on their hands who searches Welsh Corgi videos online, I got a little sidetracked and began wanting a Welsh Corgi who not only belly flopped but also danced for its food*. It took my navigational beacon, DU, to put me back on the straight and narrow. He did this by sending me a link to a petfinder.com page, showing a pooch dubbed "Cinderella". She was a Blue Heeler/ Corgi mix, her height coming from the latter, her temperament and color from the former. Her pictures made her look scared, she had the face of a dog who had been abused, and worse yet, she was from Kentucky.
The little dog danced around in my imagination for a little while until the trio of factors listed above (Kentucky! She's probably married to her cousin!!) made me second guess the whole thing. I psyched myself out and told DU to handle it if he thought she was the one. He was unconvinced until he noticed the last 3 digits of her adoption number, 634. This wouldn't mean anything to you unless you were a member of the DU clan but to them, that set is magic. The numbers 634 pop up everywhere imaginable and bring anyone within the family luck. The numbers were the clue that we needed that she may be our pup, sent by her big brother upstairs.
Days went by, with them many a conversation passed between the shelter and DU. He was told that she was more stunning in person than in the photographs, great with other dogs and a ball of energy. A leap of faith followed and the next thing we knew, we were on the road to the bluegrass state. Many hours later, we found ourselves in Middle Of No Where, Kentucky, surrounded by derelict coal mines, seedy towns and an animal shelter in a downtrodden trailer park. We emerged from my Jeep, or as DU calls it, my adult go-cart, bewildered, as the place looked abandoned. As we were about to turn around, a host of dogs came barreling from their little homes to their outside cages, barking up a storm. Emboldened by the signs of life with the edifice, we ventured inside.
The girl at the front desk looked sad when we told her we were there for The Dog Formally Known As "Cinderella". She took us to the "sick" room to find a blue bespeckled girl whose multi-colored eyes were glazed over in look of nonrecognition. She trembled slightly as we bent down to formally introduce ourselves to the little dog. Our guide informed us that she had just awoken from the anesthesia that allowed her peace whilst her spaying occurred. The girl then gently lifted the fluffy body from her perch, carried her sleepy form to her new awaiting chariot and pet her goodbye. I sat with our new member of the family as DU signed on the dotted line. When he came back, he informed me that while the animal shelter attendant was happy to see Cinderella go, she was sad because the corgi hung out with her all day, acting as the welcoming committee to all who ventured a peek inside the shelter. I figured this a good omen, as when I left with Titus, the entirety of the Niagara Falls SPCA came out to wish him well. It's good to have the dog that everyone will miss as opposed to the one they're happy to see go.
Cinderella sat with DU the whole way home, sleeping on his stomach as he attempted to recline in the backseat. It was decided very early on that her name had to go, its replacement would be one that would suite her personality perfectly, one that came from a website devoted entirely to dog names. Since she hailed from the extreme backwoods of Kentucky, it only seemed fitting that her middle name would be "Bluegrass", her first name "Dixie", as her forever home is in North Carolina. Content with her name, DU cooed it over and over until he too fell asleep.
Driving home, a feeling began to grow that we had made a terrible mistake (I felt the same way once both Titus and Avery came home so I should have taken it with a grain of salt, but, stubborn me, I didn't). She was a little bit too small, but bigger than I expected. When we eventually got her home, she didn't seem like she was particularly happy to be there and she didn't even want to play with Titus or Avery. This went on for a day or two, my anxiety grew by the moment, until everything changed.
Ever since Oscar went to the happy hunting ground, I was terrified that since he went out as he did, he wouldn't get into heaven. I was well aware of the adage that all dogs go to heaven, but I just couldn't shake that feeling, that ominous feeling that something was array. All it took was a knock at the door. I was in my study, looking at another list of jobs that I wasn't hired for when I heard a faint knock on the back door. Frozen, I turned my music down and strained my ears as the last time I heard a paw upon glass, Oscar was trying to get inside. When a second knock tattooed, I walked slowly to the yard. There stood Dixie, paw raised, waiting to escape the insane play-fighting of her siblings. The small event shook me but I soon allowed it to pass as happenstance, that is, again, until later when I walked past the living room and looked out onto the porch.
Oscar was known to move shoes. DU has no idea why he loved footwear so much but Oscar did, so much so that he would take all of his master's right shoes and place them in a circle directly in front of the garage door. In his advanced age, he stopped his circle endeavors but he still moved shoes, completely unharmed, from one place to another. So, apparently, does Dixie because where bare wood once was now lay my right moccasin. I figured that this, again, was just something that happened, that I maybe had forgotten that I threw my right slipper outside, simply for the fun of it. But then Dixie trotted out of the study with my right flip flop, walked around the couch with it and laid it at my feet. Officially freaked out, as not many dogs move shoes and choose against eating them whole like donuts, I began watching her habits more closely. From the moment she stepped into this house, she slept where he slept, continues to dig holes he started, watches TV with DU with the same zealousness of her big brother and even has her own little smile.
It seems now that I no longer have to worry if Oscar is happy up in heaven, as his doppelganger is living right here, in our home. For all intensive purposes, it seems that our little girl was hand-picked and somehow divinely trained to mimic the old guy. I have no doubt that God knew we had more love to give and that Dixie would be the perfect recipient.
Right now, all three are sleeping on the futon together. We all have been up since DU left for work at 5:45. Since the day was still dark, I was reading by Christmas lights my fourth book in two days while the newly formed trio played furiously in the yard. Every so often, I gazed out the side window to see a blur of blue being chased by two forms twice her size. The formerly shy dog stops, pants, shakes her little nub and smiles once she sees my reflection. It seems that she is happy here. I know we have a long way to go before she feels at home (she continues to relieve herself on the rugs near the door at 2:30 am and has jumped from our story-high back porch twice) but for now, I'll let them sleep.
* If you haven't watched any of the videos I've listed and linked here, you have to. These Welsh Corgis are quite possibly the funniest dogs I have ever seen in my life.