I was given Lanna; the extra “n” was for extra nice. She was a sweet and needy little Shepherd mix who still had her spay stitches traveling down her shaved tummy. Lanna was about a year and a half old and she knew her commands but the leash was a buzzkill for her, and she fought it every second. They had a dog masseuse on site and I sent Bob in for a good rubdown. It gave Lanna and I a chance to bond and talk, and soon we were sitting on a little rise just in front of the front door. She was sitting, tucked between my legs as I petted her, and waited expectantly as customers arrived.
Most came over to greet her and I went into my increasingly elaborate background story on her. I started not knowing anything but by the fifth or sixth family to come and greet us, I had her nailed as a German Shepherd and border collie mix who had been put into the adoption system by loving owners who had to move into an apartment that wouldn’t accept dogs. She was housebroken, loved kids, and she could fetch the morning paper without provocation. I had her doing everything except turning on Mr. Coffee and giving an executive hand release. Lanna and I were prepared.
The two overweight parents and their fifteen-year-old daughter kept circling Lanna, stopping briefly each time to pet her. The girl was all smiles with full-on train track braces glistening. After a half-hour of shopping around, I saw them huddled nearby, deciding. They shyly came over and asked about the procedure. They didn’t flinch at the $200.00 fee, and I was confidant Lanna would be sleeping in a little girl’s bed last night. While dad hunched over to fill out all of the paperwork, the girl and Lanna were bonding like long lost friends.
During the interview process, however, a thin and stern blonde who was one of the interviewers deemed Lanna “not good with cats” and this family, unfortunately, had a feline at home. I looked to the girl whose eyes welled up. Dad looked angry while mom slid her hand behind her daughter’s back, in comfort. I asked the interviewer if there could be a trial period to see how the two animals adjusted and was quickly shut down with, “We don’t want to see a dead cat, do we?”
Lanna looked after the family as they left the store and I promised her we would find another, even better family for her but that didn’t happen. Lanna spent the next two hours tugging on her leash and giving me blisters on my fingers. Bob and I said our good-byes, and we drove home, wishing that next weekend, a family without cats would see the same beauty in Lanna as that little girl did and hoping someone would note what that extra “n” stood for.