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Welcome Home, Adriana La Cerva by Melissa

DSC_0295(Adriana La Cerva and Meadow)

As I mentioned in a previous post, during the first few weeks the Magic 8 came to live at the Farnival, I treated them with a detached almost clinical attitude. I picked up their poop, wiped up their pee, bathed, fed, and medicated them, but I didn’t spend a whole lot of time cuddling with the M8 and I didn’t spend – or at least I thought I didn’t – one second thinking about adopting one.

Granted, because two of our pack members had recently died, we had the room and budget for a dog that needed a home, but I wasn’t interested. Friends kept asking which puppy I was keeping, and I’d swat away their question like an annoying fly, something I didn’t even want to consider.

Frankly, in the beginning, I don’t remember differentiating Adriana La Cerva from the rest of her litter mates. I have crisp, distinct memories of Livia, Junior, A.J., and even Charmaine (because she’s Charlotte’s favorite) but never Adriana. I recall posting one of her cuter photos on this site, but that was just in appreciation of her beauty, nothing more.

Then, when the litter turned six- weeks- old, potential M8 adopters started coming by the Farnival to meet the pups, and my eyes opened to my growing affinity for a homeless pup from the ghetto.

On a steamy hot Sunday afternoon, Laurie, an attractive, athletic-looking woman in her late twenties, walked up the gravel driveway with her three-month-old baby girl tucked under her arm. Donna, ICHBA’s founder, was with me, having arrived earlier to help juggle the pups and mediate any adoptions.

Laurie was interested in one of our older foster dogs Pippi – a timid Dingo mutt with extraordinary ears and a fondness for swimming. She had brought her daughter along to watch Pippi’s reaction to a tiny infant, but she was also considering adopting a puppy and was anxious to see them. Donna and I were thrilled. Pippi loved the M8, and having one of her little buddies around would make her transition to a new home that much easier.

For a while, we sat on the shady side of the deck, letting Pippi sniff both Laurie and her baby. Everything seemed to be moving forward swimmingly, until Laurie mentioned that she had seen a picture of a pure white pup named Adriana on this blog that she was particularly interested in hearing more about.

My stomach flip-flopped, and before I knew it, I excused myself, hurried into the living room, swooped Adriana out of her crate, bolted down the hallway, shoved her into the spare bedroom, and shut the door.

Walking back through the house, my heart pounded like a drum riff from a Metallica song, and goose bumps broke out on my neck. What was I doing? I had no idea. I returned to the porch and asked if anyone wanted green tea or water.

Thankfully, Donna was too busy to notice my criminal act. Twenty minutes later, she was still on the deck, interviewing another M8 candidate Austin, a woman who wanted Junior, while I sat inside with Laurie, watching the puppies – minus Adriana – playing in their kennel.

I handed her Angie, another white one with a few light brown spots on her flank. “Here’s the one you were asking about.”

“I love her spots,” Laurie said. “You couldn’t see them in the picture.”

“No. You couldn’t,” I answered.

It still took a few days to open up to either Mason or Donna about my feelings, mostly because of my continuing denial about my fondness for Adriana; even when I found myself pausing over her pictures, observing her frisky play, gentle personality, polite eating manners, and most importantly, her respect for pack hierarchy, I made up all kinds of excuses about why Adrianna wasn’t the dog for us. She didn’t need us. She was already a great puppy. She was adorable. ICHBA could find her a home in a week.

The final straw was our first walk together. Shortly after Laurie’s visit, I took Adriana with three other dogs on our daily four-mile migration. She was 6 weeks and a few days old, weighing around seven pounds.

I attached a thin leash to her collar, letting her drag it for the first two miles, scooping her up or stepping on the rope whenever we saw another dog. Each time I held her off the ground for any length of time, she’d squirm in my arms like a restless child or dejectedly hang her head, floppy ears falling over her snout, and whine, watching her pack migrate without her.

When I finally took control of her leash, Adriana didn’t seem to notice, chugging right beside us with a slack rope, wearing a bewitching smile, tiny white paws working hard to keep up with the big dog pace.

Afterwards, Adriana climbed up into the Honda, following Meadow, settling next to her on the front passenger seat, sinking into the warmth and comfort of the much bigger dog’s belly, and slept for the entire twenty-five minute ride back home. Mead rested her head out the open window and tried not to move.

I called Mason on the way home and told him that I wanted to adopt Adriana, if he was okay with it; he never even hesitated. A few days later, Donna and I took the M8 to Smith Street to visit Bernice, check on Dawn, and give the puppies their first round of vaccinations. I confessed my feelings to Donna, the humanitarian that runs ICHBA, in the same rural ghetto where I first met Adriana when she was one-week-old, before her eyes or ears were even opened.

For a second Donna didn’t say a word, then ever-so- quietly, as though trying to talk through tears she didn’t want to fall, she swallowed and said, “Well, she’s found a good home.”

Welcome to the Farnival, Adriana La Cerva.

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