A Boy and His Dog

Sep 04, 2013 -- 9:43pm

A Boy and His Dog

(Charlie Rood, September 5, 2013)


We knew it would happen eventually.   Don't all parents of little boys at some point hear the words, "Can I have a dog?"

I know I asked when I was a little boy.   I never got one.   I did get a parakeet!   It died.   And so did the second one.   That's okay, I survived.   But I always wanted a dog.  

I remember the response to my dog request.   I heard that famous "parent saying" used throughout history, still used in the present, and will be used forever into the future.   It was some variation of, "when you move out of the house and you're on your own, you can get your own dog"! 

I can't wait to use that saying myself!   However, I'll have to keep waiting, because I didn't say that to my son and his request for a dog.   I also didn't say yes.   Instead, my Faithful Wife Mary (FWM) and I gave Charlie another "parent saying" which was, "we'll see".  

We needed to make sure WE were ready, let alone Charlie.   We would all be first time dog owners and wanted to research types of dogs, what responsibilities we would face, costs involved, etc.  


Our son, Charlie, is adopted.   FWM and I decided we would try and use this "getting a dog" experience to help Charlie further understand his adoption.   We would find a dog  that needed a new home and we would adopt him just like Charlie was adopted.   He liked that idea.

Now, where to find a dog?


Let me state for the record, there are many fine agencies and organizations in the Great Lakes Bay Region doing magnificent jobs caring for animals and helping find new homes.   The reason why we didn't utilize a local institution was because of a place I had become aware of through a person at my church.

"Best Friends Animal Society" works nationwide in outreach programs with shelters, other rescue groups, and members to promote pet adoption, spay-and-neuter services, and humane education programs.   This animal sanctuary is located in Southwestern Utah in  Angel Canyon, near the town of Kanab.   Housed here are dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits, barnyard animals, and more.   The animals come here abused, abandoned, or both.

We contacted Best Friends and were put in touch with an adoption specialist.   We spent some time through e-mails and phone calls discussing our family and our lifestyle, trying  to determine what dog would be best for us.   Two of the more important aspects were the dog had to be 8-year-old boy friendly and be able to tolerate a cat!   Oh yes, we already have a cat named Tiger.   She belongs to FWM.   That's a different story.

Our adoption specialist helped us narrow our choice to three different dogs.   The final determination was to review with the various trainers and handlers the personalities of the dogs and how they might fit our family, plus each dog had to pass a cat test.  

It was decided one of the dogs would probably not work because he had a tendency to bite young children.   Another dog didn't do well on the cat test.   That left one more dog.  


"Rose" was a four-month old shepherd-hound mix puppy.   She did well with adults and children.   She passed the cat test with flying colors.

Rose was first named "Brownie" when born.   She was brought to Best Friends through a rescue in New Mexico where she was destined to be euthanized.   She had no vaccine history.   She was not spayed.   She was full of ticks.   She had worms.   She weighed about 10 pounds when she was two months old.

At Best Friends, Rose was vaccinated, including rabies.   She was spayed.   She was treated for ticks.   She was dewormed.   She gained 10 pounds in two weeks.   She was even microchipped.  

Rose needed a new home.   Our home.


We finalized the adoption agreement with Best Friends.   This three page document outlines all the expectations families need to meet in order to be a "forever home" for an adopted animal.    Best Friends is so committed to every rescue, that if at anytime a family can no longer care for their adopted animal, Best Friends will take the animal back.

Best Friends is located in Utah.   The Rood family is in Saginaw.   On Friday, August 9, at 8am, Rose was put on a plane.   After a layover in Chicago, the United Airlines flight with our precious puppy on board was scheduled to land at Detroit Metropolitan Airport at 9pm.  

Charlie and I left Saginaw at 3:30pm.   FWM had to work.   She would be waiting at home to help when we returned.   By now, Rose was four months old and weighed 30 pounds.   I had been told by Best Friends her crate was large.   My son and are in a Neon.  

My family (Dad and two sisters) live in Clinton Township and Warren, right on our route to Detroit's Metro Airport.   We planned a pit stop for food and rest, and to gain access to a more suitable vehicle for transporting a dog from the airport.  

At 7:00pm (after checking to make sure the flight was on time), my son and I, along with my sisters who didn't want to miss this adventure, climbed into my Dad's minivan and headed for the airport.


When you pick up a dog at Detroit Metro Airport, you don't go to the regular, well-marked passenger terminals.   Instead, you luckily find the nearly unmarked service drive, and hope from that road you will see some sort of identification of the cargo building you seek!

Around 8:45pm, we found the building, parked, and got out.   It was weird.   There we were, four grownups and a little boy standing in the nearly abandoned parking lot of a cargo building waiting to pick up a dog, while across the street, we could hear planes landing and taking off, and see the continuous traffic going in and out of the airport main roads.   What were you doing Friday night, August 9? 

We checked in at the desk and were told immediately the flight with our dog had been delayed about a half-hour.   Now we had time to kill.

We were amused by a couple of other vehicles that pulled up to pick up pets.   The first pet pick up was a small dog.   The second pet pick up was a small pig!  

Eventually, the plane landed and the crate with our dog was wheeled out to us on a cart.  

Rose had arrived!   And when she rose from laying in her crate so we could see her look out at us, we realized she wasn't just a four-month old puppy, she was thirty pounds of four-month old puppy!   Then she started to bark.   A deep, healthy sounding bark.   I'm not sure what I expected (never being a dog owner before), but I'm sure it wasn't "so much puppy"!  


I should point out it was at this moment, Rose ceased to exist.   My son was allowed to choose a new name (with my approval).   Charlie decided she needed a girl name because she is a girl.   Okay.   Charlie decided on a name from one of his favorite movies.   Okay.   Charlie announced her name would be "Princess Leia"!   Not okay.   I wasn't about to spend the next ten years calling for and commanding "Princess Leia".   Besides, two names for a dog is cumbersome.   I told him to drop the "Princess" part and her name  could simply be "Leia".    He then asked about naming her "Queen Amidala".   Sigh.   "Leia" it is!

A little side note.   If she would have been a he, I was going to suggest the name "Kaline" in honor of one of the greatest Tigers ever to play.  The dog could have been "Kaline the Canine"! 


As we got closer, we could see Leia was excited, probably anticipating a chance to get out of the crate she had been in virtually all day.   My son and I put our hands up to the crate, she stopped barking, and she started to lick us the through cage opening.   It was love at first sight!

The first order of business was to allow her a chance to do her business!   Thankfully, she was sent with a leash.   Actually, she was supposed to be sent with a leash, but it wasn't contained in the packet of information we received.   My sisters suggested we use my belt for a leash.  

By 10pm, we had the Leia loaded and we were on our way back.   We did stop at a local Meijer to pick up a leash.  

At my Dad's house, we unloaded Leia and all related dog materials, transferring everything to the Neon.   My suspicions were confirmed of needing a more suitable vehicle for dog transport as the large crate did not fit.   That's okay, I had a plan.   We broke down the crate, put it in the trunk, and had Leia on a blanket in the back seat.   This thrilled Charlie because he would be next to her the entire drive back to Saginaw.

At 11:15pm, I'm behind the wheel, my son is buckled into his seat, and Leia is calmly laying next to him.   I called FWM and told her to get ready for a lot of puppy!


We started the drive back to Saginaw.   It didn't take long for Charlie to fall asleep.   It didn't take long for Leia to fall asleep.   That's the way it was for the entire ride home.  

At 1:00am, we arrived back in Saginaw.   After waking both Charlie and Leia, FWM and I got everyone and everything into the house.  

As we all drifted off to sleep, I thought about myself as a youngster and my desire for a dog.  

Finally, a Boy and His dog were home.

But who really is the boy in this story?



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