Thursday 21 November 2013

An Ordeal, But Worth It

    Ever since our old dog Mac died, a year and a half ago, friends, knowing how much we missed him, have been telling us to get another dog, but it took us a long while to get over our grieving.  We really liked Mac’s personality, fun-loving, big hearted, friendly, and laid-back.  He was mostly an Old English Sheepdog, so we decided that if we got another dog, we would like one that had similar traits.  I had made some inquires with several breeders a year ago.  I checked out Old English Sheepdogs, Polish Sheepdogs, and Bearded Collies, but none of the breeders had pups, and I really felt like it would be good to rescue a dog rather than buy from a breeder.
    At any rate, we weren’t yet ready for another dog, but then as fall approached we started checking out dog rescue sites on the internet.  Again we sort of looked for those above mentioned breeds.  We found some likely  prospects, but they were all so far away (Los Angeles, Houston, Minnesota), that we didn’t  really inquire further.  Our searches became rather infrequent.
    Then last week, before I went to sleep, I had my iPad and had run out of news and weather websites to look at, and I remembered “”, and when it opened and wanted to know what breed I was looking for, I just put in “Bearded Collie” I pressed search, up popped photo of a dog named “Skye” who was being held at Chilliwack, BC.  Skye was just the kind of dog we were looking for and Chilliwack was a do-able destination.  It is down in the lower mainland not too far from Vancouver.
    Next day I told Joan about it, and she checked out Skye.  Like me, she thought that the dog would be a really good fit for us, and so we sent an email to the Chilliwack Animal Shelter and got a quick reply.  We filled out the application to see if we were responsible people for adopting a dog, and I we passed, so the next hurdle was getting down there.
    Winter driving is a scary proposition up here.  The roads are often very slippery, and full of trucks.  It is not something I do lightly, and the trip down to Chilliwack meant a whole day of being on the icy roads.  We checked the weather forecasts all along the way to see what days would be best for making the trip.  Finally I decided that it would be best to drive down Tuesday and return on Weds.  There were no guarantees that we would take Skye, but she seemed a likely prospect.
    Tuesday’s drive was horrendous.  The highways were covered with hard-pack snow (basically ice).  In some places there was slush and very little pavement.  It was a white-knuckle drive all the way until we got off of the Coquihalla Highway (once the subject of the TV show “Highways to Hell”).  It winds and climbs through high mountain passes, complete with cannon mounts to shoot down avalanches.  Instead of driving the speed limit (100-110 km/hour) we had to drive about 80 Km/hr (50 miles/hr).  The photo above shows the ice buildup on our car.
    We left McBride in the dark at 7:00 in the morning.    The temperature was -14C (+6 F).  It was a snowy white world the whole way until we finally came down off the Coquihalla and into the Fraser Valley.   It seemed like we had entered another world.  Everything was green, the pavement was bare, the temperatures mild and above freezing.
    We arrived in Chilliwack around 3:15 and drove to the Chilliwack Animal Shelter, and Erin, the woman we had been communicating with came out with a hairy gray and black, big-eyed beauty named Skye.  We were allowed to take her for a walk at a nearby park.  She seemed very shy and uneasy, but we really liked her and told Erin that we would take her, and would pick her up the following morning, before heading back north.  
    “Skye” was just the name given to her at the animal shelter, and so we spent the night trying to come up with a new name for the dog.  By the next morning we had settled on “Maisie” which seemed to fit the subdued dog we had chosen.  We were at the shelter first thing yesterday, and when Erin brought the dog out, it exploded with energy, racing around the yard.  We signed the papers for “Maisie”, got her into the car and headed north.
    As we drove we realized we were still calling the dog “Skye” and she answered to it, and “Skye” seemed to be a better fit for all the energy we had seen in her that morning, than “Maisie”, so “Skye” is our new dog’s name.
    The trip back was a whole lot better.  The temperatures were colder, but the sky was sunny and clear and we had dry pavement for about half of our trip.  There were some dangerous times though.  Because we had gotten a late start in the morning, we had to drive the last leg in the dark.
    In between Avola and Blue River, in the dark, we saw a line up of 4 tractor trailer trucks approaching us, and as they began to pass by, from our side of the highway, a deer ran out in front of us.  It slipped a bit on the icy highway but made its way in front of us, and luckily made it in front of the 3rd truck.  Winter driving is scary stuff.
    Fortunately, we made it home safely and introduced Skye to her new home, and her new housemate, Lucifer the cat.  We kept them apart, both were curious, but so far there have been any fights.
    Below is a photo Joan with Skye, our new family member.

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