January 12, 2000, New York

During my entire stay in California my parents and I discussed dogs.

They wanted a small dog. They also wanted a mixed breed that they imagined they would find at an animal shelter. However my father had bought a book, The Encyclopedia of the DOG, and we poured over this book, examining all the breeds and their characteristics. My mother and I got on the internet and tracked down further information.

My folks went to shelters in many of the cities of the East Bay and had no luck finding small dogs. It seems they are in high demand. It also became apparent that animal rescue organizations take most of the small dogs to place themselves.

One morning my parents drove to Campbell, which is about a two hour drive each way, for a showing of small dogs put on by an animal rescue organization. The dogs were supposed to be brought out and placed in cages for all to see. But the desirable animals never made it to the cages. As soon as they appeared certain individuals scooped them up wouldn't let them go. My parents were dismayed by such cut throat behavior and also that it was countenanced by the ladies running the showing.

My last day in California my father drove out to an animal shelter in Pinole and made sure he was the first person through the door when they opened. He did not read the cards on the cages but instead quickly looked at faces going from cage to cage. He wound up at the far pens where the "bad" dogs are kept and saw a face that made him stop. It was a dog roughly the same size and shape as Rocky. The card said it was a Spaniel mix. It also labeled the dog "aggressive." My father went to the woman at the counter and inquired about the dog. She told him the "aggressive" tag was wrong; the dog was sweet tempered and eager to please. When the dog had been left at the shelter it was caged in a tight, unfamiliar space and when first let out had probably snapped at the unfamiliar face confronting him. My father went back to the dog and spent some time with it, had a very simpatico thing going on and then grabbed the card, took it up to the counter and told the woman, "I found my dog."

It turns out that the first day the dog was available for adoption was that very day. The dog had to be reviewed by an official before it could be released and when the official turned up, my father took him to the dog and got him to give it the nod.

The dog had to be neutered the next day, so I did not get to meet the dog. But I got to share in the excitement of dad finding a dog, before I returned to New York.

Sandy, the new dog, has now been with them for a week and is proving a fine companion. He does not bark and is very affectionate. They have determined that he must be a Spaniel/Corgi mix.

My brother Michael took the following photos. Click any to enlarge.

That’s all!

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