It seems like a strange word to describe my emotions, but it’s the one I keep coming back to. It’s like a new sweater that gets a snag and you pull on it a little but then you fix it. It looks great for a little while and then it catches and the whole thing just seems to come undone.

Lucy had a couple of false starts, the last one requiring a behavior assessment. She got a rating of “excellent” on everything but dog-to-dog interactions. She was just rude and inappropriate. We didn’t get a chance to work on this much. After all it was Christmas and I was all about cuddling up with Lucy on the couch – lots of love and affection.

I got a little too relaxed with Lucy and forgot she still had lots of things to learn about being a family pet. I left her on the lead outside the front door – I heard her barking and before I could get out the door she had popped her collar and was in the street starting a kerfuffle with a sweet dog just out for an evening walk with his owner. I was horrified on a couple of levels – one, that I was one of “those people” and  two, that I had failed to set Lucy up for success. It turned out okay, but I need to be more vigilant in the future.

The rest of the week went great and I took Lucy back to the Center on Friday as Charlie and I were going out of town for the New Year’s weekend and then I had a business trip that was taking me out of town for the next week.

While I was on my trip Lucy was adopted. When I called J to get the full scoop, well, my excitement turned to tears as I had wanted so much more for Lucy. Yes, she’d been adopted, but she would be living outside, on a harness and chain with a bunch of other dogs like her – dogs with issues. Her new owner lives outside the city and county and we can’t even have an animal control officer check up on her. It’s the harsh reality of volunteering at the county shelter – you don’t get to control who gets to adopt as much as privately run rescue shelters do.

In some ways it breaks my heart that she won’t be living the life of a pampered princess that I had imagined for her. But, she has found a home and she will adapt, and she will find her happiness.

And I won’t stop. I guess it’s back to my original plan – volunteer as a “paparazzo” until the right one looks at me and says “I need you” or until J calls me looking for help.

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