With patience. You look at them all objectively at first, and if there’s a cutie that’s right, you go from there. If there isn’t, you leave and try again in a couple of weeks.
She gave a firm nod. Objectively—that’s how she had to play this. She’d have to disengage her emotions altogether and glance over each animal as though it was a piece of fruit or a vegetable in the supermarket. Assess its shape and size, its suitability for her requirements. Then, and only then, could she let her emotions be involved. It was a weird and kind of heartless way of going about things, but it was also responsible. Better that than falling head over heels for a Great Dane or an Irish Wolfhound.
This tactic lasted for precisely eleven further enclosures. Too big, too big, need to be re-homed together, needs to be in a house with other dogs, reactive, needs extensive training… each one was quickly checked out, then passed by for whatever reason.
But when Rosie arrived at the twelfth kennel, everything changed. The scruffy beast in front of her was perfectly suitable size-wise, and it rushed towards her, panting happily, tongue lolling and tail wagging so fast it was a blur. She tentatively put her fingers to the wire and was treated to a volley of enthusiastic doggy kisses. With a chuckle, she pulled her hand back and wiped it on her jeans. “Well, you’re friendly and affectionate enough, aren’t you?” She glanced to the side. “But where’s your information card, sweetie? I don’t know your name, if you’re a boy or a girl, or anything.”
Like Aidan before it, the dog tilted its head to one side at the sound of her voice. It really was cute. It was some kind of mixed breed—a Collie with something smaller, she suspected, and the result was a lively, unkempt-looking creature which appeared to have a lovely nature. Its scruffiness wasn’t due to its situation, though—it actually looked incredibly healthy; bright eyes, shiny coat, wet nose.
Rosie’s heart sunk. That probably wasn’t a good thing. If the dog looked healthy, it likely hadn’t been missing for long—meaning its owners were probably looking for it and would arrive to claim him or her very soon, or there was a particular reason the creature had been handed in to the rescue center. Maybe it wasn’t good with children, or other dogs, or was terribly destructive.
The dog sat there, continuing to watch her from beneath its bushy eyebrows as its tail wagged nineteen to the dozen. She couldn’t resist poking her fingers into the enclosure again. Once more, she got lots of friendly licks. Hmm—seems nice enough with me. And he or she is the right kind of size. Maybe the information card hasn’t been put up yet, or has got lost? Guess it can’t hurt to go and find out.
Wiping her slobber-covered hand on her jeans again, Rosie said, “Right, don’t get your hopes up, but I’m going to go and enquire about you. There’s a chance we could become friends, but I need to know more about you first, okay?”
Yet more head tilting and tail wagging ensued, followed by a funny growl that sounded awfully like agreement.