It was an hour drive to G's house where I would pick up the dog we knew as Chaz. We weren't entirely sure how this transport would go, but we were hoping for the best. It just so happened that this transport worked out perfectly, and I do mean perfectly. You see, I was driving about 12 hours up to a beach in North Carolina for a family vacation, and would be driving straight past Gisele's and Chaz's final destination. So even though it was going to be hard enough to drive 12 hours straight, alone, I figured hey, what would it hurt to carry some precious cargo.
You see, Chaz was not always "Chaz." Chaz came to us after being in a shelter and needing an escape to safety. He was cute and we decided heck, he could be a TDL dog. So we brought him in and began prepping to get him adopted. There was only one problem: Chaz didn't want to be adopted. Instead he sat by the fence, and looked left and right, waiting. Waiting for what? Well... for all we knew, just waiting.
The we got a call. A girl called telling us that Chaz was their dog. He'd escaped through a hole in a fence and just disappeared. They'd been trying to find him but to no avail. At first we were hesitant... how could we be sure? But she described distinctive features that only Chaz could have, a scar, a mark, little details you couldn't see in his TDL pics. After several long talks and a lot of hard thinking, it was decided: Chaz, whose real name was Shane, would be reunited with his family.
His family had moved since he escaped and were now almost an hour further away. It wouldn't be his "home" but it would be his family. We hoped Shane would be happy, his family would be happy, and that this was the right choice. I picked up Shane at about 5 AM. I also managed to wake up the entire household because I made the rookie mistake of quietly knocking on the door instead of calling G's cell.
Note to self: no matter how quiet you knock, if you think a person might hear it, a dog will hear it.
So the whole house was up and barking (Sorry G!) and we got the papers, I got to see Bart again (update post coming soon) loaded Shane in the car, and we were off. Shane cried occasionally in the car, unsure why he was in the car ("Are we going to the v.e.t. ...again?") but was very good.
As we pulled into the neighborhood I had a little trouble finding the house. I pulled one U-turn and was in the process of pulling a second when I noticed a man, standing in the driveway, tears streaming down his face. I'd found the house. He waved me over and I could see him quietly mouthing "Shane... oh Shane." He put his hand on the car as I slowly pulled into the driveway.
It was 7 in the morning, most people were just hitting snooze on the alarm clock, and we in the rescue world?
We were changing lives.
I knew the moment Shane saw his dad because he began whimpering like an 8 week old pup, super excited, and in his whimpers you could hear it "Daddy, oh Daddy!!!!" I hopped out and opened the trunk. His dad put his hand to the crate as I carefully opened the door, checked his leash, and then let Shane fly to his Daddy.
Tears were everywhere, sniffles, whimpers, wagging and dancing paws. I made sure to give Shane's papers to his Dad and as I did it was all he could do to repeat over and over "God bless you, God bless you." He hugged me and kissed me on the cheek, overwhelmed with joy, "He is our boy, and he is his Daddy." He pointed to the fence where a young dog who resembled Hooch from Turner and Hooch stood howling, bouncing, and raising all sorts of joyous hell.
Now, Shane isn't this dog's biological father or anything, but he has been in that dogs life since he was a pup. I never learned the dog's name, but I will just call him Hooch. Hooch is a tripod, missing one of his front legs. He was flying off the ground and dancing int he backyard, celebrating the return of Shane. I said my goodbyes to Shane and it was like I was seeing him for the first time.
I'd met him at least 3 times before, when I visited G, and I'd always thought he was probably about 2 and aside from barking at the "stranger" was rather chill. Now, in front of me, stood the real Shane... a greying muzzle, 8 years old, and wagging from tip to tail. The lost dog finally home.
When he was waiting at the fence... he was waiting for them, his family... not some new family. He'd waited and it was almost like he knew I was supposed to take him. He'd known every time I visited him... I just didn't know where.
And now here we were, eye to eye in his new house with his family, his Daddy, and his doggy brother. I saw Shane, the 8 year old boy, finally content, and his family, surrounding him, crying with joy and thanking me for bringing him. I thanked them for loving him.
I heard that after I left his Dad took him on a little field trip to get a nice bath and to be groomed so he could be nice and comfortable as he settled in to his home. His wife called Gisele and thanked her again for bringing Shane home. And as for me, I cried for the next half hour as I continued my 12 hour trip, celebrating for Shane, who is finally home, and so happy to be there.