Tuesday 21st July: Deja vu



I decide to take cocker spaniel Tofu to the kennels today.  He’s been staying on Lamma and is no trouble, but he is constantly being attacked by Derek, the lovely-but-mad cocker, who seems to see Tofu as competition.  As it happens, someone is interested in meeting Tofu anyway so it’s easier if he is at kennels, but as soon as I step off the sampan I realise that it’s not just a case of moving a dog from one place to another.  I should have known better.  Despite Derek’s attacks, Tofu now sees the Lamma house as his home and he’s happy there.  He starts to bark as we’re standing at the side of the road waiting for a taxi, and I can tell he wants to get back on the sampan and go home.  Now I feel terrible, and I’m almost tempted to take him back but I’m committed now, at least for the afternoon.

As soon as I arrive at kennels it’s non-stop action, and I have to leave Tofu to sort himself out.  January’s early morning vet visit went without a hitch so she’s California-bound, and we’re all thrilled to bits.  I need to get the ownership changed, so take the license to AFCD to do so.  While there, I go into the kennel block and make the decision to take out the white sharpei cross pups that are the next edition of the Brunch Club.  As I pick them up one by one, I can see the faces of the previous litter, including my darling Chippy, only this time round she’s white.  This puppy has exactly the same face, with the same big, round, heart-melting eyes.  I’m already in love with my new Chippy.  This litter must be the Dinner Service (following on from the previous Breakfast and Brunch Clubs, all with the same parentage).

I add two fluffy pups to the group, and wheel them off to SPCA in a specially modified box on wheels that AFCD let me borrow.

After the pups have been checked and vaccinated, I wheel them over to our kennels but am stopped at the gate by trainer Mark, who asks me to take over from him as he is about to start a training class.  He’s been talking to a family of potential adopters who are after a small-sized dog, so I bring out three potentials for them to meet: Buster, Reynard and Jilly.  We have the usual discussion about the merits of each dog, while the teenage children are busy checking them out.  They finally decide that young Buster is the one that they want, and we start the actual adoption process which includes filling out the forms and then choosing all of the things that Buster will need, such as bed, bowls, collar and leash.

 During this time, another family arrive to have a look at Lorna’s puppies as they want to foster one.  They have previously adopted from us, and subsequently fostered, so at least there’s no need to go through the standard questions and procedures, but I already have the potential adopters to deal with, plus the new puppies who are still in the box-on-wheels outside the kennels. While it makes a very handy table to use for doing all the paperwork, I’m getting anxious about the pups inside and the fact that they must be hot and in need of water. 

The adopter family have a lot of questions which I would normally be happy to spend time answering, but I need to move the puppies. I go through all the basics at top speed, and fit Buster with his new collar and leash, before sending everyone on their way with assurances that both myself and Mark will be happy to help with any follow-up advice as needed.

At last I can get the puppies inside and into the Bear Cage with water and food, which they quickly devour.  I decide that I’ll leave the two fluffy pups at the kennels and take the Dinner Service four back to Lamma.  I already feel attached to them as they are identical to the previous litter, and it’s quite strange seeing Chippy and the others as babies again.

 When Mark had waylaid me as I came back from AFCD with the puppies, I had dropped my file of paperwork, including many licenses, vaccination cards and other important bits and pieces, on the top of the counter in what we call the “outside office”, a small sectioned off area which we use to house dogs when we have no space.  Currently Imogen and pup Likki are staying there, and they obviously thought that my file had been left for them to play with.  After having finally dealt with adopters, fosters and new puppies, I go to retrieve the file only to find the contents strewn across the floor and half chewed.  I’m used to this at home and now make sure that all my important paperwork is kept well out of the way of the dogs’ reach, but I wasn’t expecting this at kennels.  More fool me.

 I’m finally ready to leave, and notice Tofu hiding in a corner under some shelves.  I feel terrible, and desperately sorry for him.  I consider taking him back to Lamma with me but know that I won’t be at kennels tomorrow because I’ll be at the warehouse sorting stock, and I don’t want him to miss out on the chance of a new home.  The best I can do is to give him a cuddle and tell him I’m sorry.

 On the sampan going back to Lamma, I pull “Chippy” from the bag of puppies and hold her close to me.  She still has some baby fuzz round her ears, and she blinks her big eyes at me before settling down for a nap.  She’s tired after her afternoon in a box and eating a big meal, but at least she’s safe now.

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