There are many stories about Delilah, that could be written down (and probably will) this is the story of the first day of the rest of Delilah’s life, it’s a great start!
Chet and I had a wonderful time with Sampson; he is an incredible dog. We sent him to daycare twice a week and hiked with him on the weekends but I began to feel very bad that he spent so much time alone. About this time our friend Jo-Anne rescued a dog and I thought; that might be a really good idea; it would give Sampson a companion.
So the great dog hunt began again, only this time we didn’t run all over the state, I focused only on Petfinder. I was very unsure about the whole process and extremely picky (because I didn’t want someone else’s mistakes) I sent e-mails to our girls and to Chet, “What do you think about this one?” I focused on Labrador puppies because I so love the look of the lab, and I really wanted a mix because I think mixed breeds tend to have less of the health issues that purebreds do. To my way of thinking we raised Sampson and he turned out great, so why wouldn’t another puppy? I applied for a couple of puppies but was turned down because someone wasn’t home all day with the dog.
Then I was unsure about the sex, so I consulted with our trainer, do you think Sampson would like a male or female companion and she recommended female. Now I started focusing on the females; still sending e-mails to Chet and the girls. Finally on May 19, 2007, Lynn said, “Mom, why are you still doing this, you know you’re not going to choose a dog!” I went on Petfinder and contacted the American Lab Rescue group and applied for three dogs. I almost immediately got a phone call, inquiring as to why I applied for three dogs. So I explained; that I had been applying for one dog at a time and getting rejected, so I thought I had a better shot at one, if I applied for three. Makes sense, right?
After a brief phone call with Carrie, she recommended “Ginny” a lab mix who was 2 to 3 years old, weighed 67 pounds, and had already been spayed. We agreed to a foster-to-adopt contract just in case the dog didn’t work out. Chet agreed to this providing we would re-name her; Delilah. The dog had been in a “high kill” shelter and was currently being fostered in Tennessee. Ginny was scheduled to arrive the following weekend, which also happened to be Memorial Day Weekend, in our minds this was perfect because we had a whole three days at home with the dogs to help them with the adjustment.
With much anticipation we arrived at the commuter lot in Glastonbury, which was the designated pick up spot. If you have never done this before, there is nothing that will prepare you for it. The commuter lot is very large, and there are a number of rescue groups who use the same transporter, so you need to find the correct rescue group, pay your fee, get your papers and line up with all the other people, and there were a LOT of people.
Shortly after 9:00 am, a converted horse trailer pulled into the lot and the tension/excitement was palpable. I could feel the anxiety building in my chest and I thought, “I have to get my dog off of there and quick!” So I finagled my way towards the front of the line and managed it so I was second.
The first dog (a little white one) came off the trailer and was placed into a woman’s arms. I will never forget the joy that dog expressed, lying on his back in her arms, licking her face, wiggling his little body. People were sobbing and I was close to tears myself; thinking about my new dog and all the dogs that were being saved from death that day. Someone came to the front of the line and for some reason (I can’t remember) their dog came off next. My turn came, I handed the woman my paperwork and leash, and she looked at the paperwork and shouted, “Ginny” and my dog came off the truck.
From this point forward I will begin referring to her as Delilah because that is what we call her now. She stunk like I don’t know what, I imagine after 24 hours on a transport it was her eliminations, maybe some other dog’s eliminations; fear, terror, despair; they had no idea what was in store for them. She had a dirty, rusty, old red collar on.
We had been instructed to bring some water and treats, to help us make friends with the dogs; and we were told when we were comfortable; we could leave. We walked briefly around the parking lot, but I couldn’t wait to leave and so we stayed barely 10 minutes, then got in the car and headed straight to the pet store where we bought a new collar, bowls, bed, and leash. Then we took her home to meet Sampson.
We introduced them outside like we had been instructed to do and they didn’t seem to really care for each other, by this time I couldn’t bear the smell of her and needed to give her a bath. Delilah HATES a bath; Lynn and I struggled to get her in the tub, then she shook and splashed and made such a ruckus, that I was completely soaked. Finally enough of the smell was off her and she tore through the house, picking up every object she could find. She was wild, crazy and out of control and I said to Lynn, “She will have to go back, I can’t handle her.” Lynn got pissed off and left.
Chet called and asked how it was going and I started crying, “She’s horrible I sobbed, I cannot do this;” he assured me that it would be ok and that he was on his way home. I went into the kitchen and sat on the floor, Sampson came and laid next to me with his head on my leg and I cried my heart out and told him how sorry I was, “What have I done?” I asked him. I couldn’t believe I had taken such a perfect family the three of us had and destroyed it by adding another dog to the mix. I felt bad for us and I felt worse for Delilah because I could only imagine what she had been through and here was one more person, letting her down. Sampson looked up at me with those beautiful eyes that said, I love you mom, you have me, and everything will be ok.
Eventually Chet came home and Delilah settled down a little bit; the rescue organization said the dog may be tired when it comes off the transport, but I found the dog is exceptionally hyper. Imagine being confined in a crate for 24 hours. They tell you that they stop every four hours and let the dogs out, but I do not believe this.
The dogs basically ignored each other and I cried on and off the entire day; I was sure she would have to go back because Sampson couldn’t stand her. Dinner time rolled around and Chet was grilling; I was sitting on the back step and the dogs were outside with us. They were still pretty much ignoring each other, when Delilah did some crazy little move and Sampson rolled over onto his back and the dogs started playing! I said to Chet, “I have to go inside.” He said, “You’re going to cry again, aren’t you?” “Yes” I sobbed and ran inside.
After we had eaten dinner and fed the dogs, we sat in the kitchen just talking about the day; Delilah was finally exhausted, I’m sure not just physically but emotionally as well (I know I was!) She was sitting up and her eyes were closing, her head would start to drop and then she would catch herself, to me it felt like she was afraid that if she fell asleep, she would wake up and it would have all been a dream. So I sat down on the floor and I called her to me and I got her to lie down beside me, with her head against my leg; I stroked her until she finally fell asleep.
Delilah is as opposite Sampson as any one dog could possibly be; and not just physically. He is patient, easy-going, he listens well and does what he is told. Delilah is impatient, demanding, she does things on her terms and in her own time. She is a challenge to us, but for all the challenge, she brings us joy and laughter and above all; love.