Sir Lancelot Harmon Henderson

Just over five months ago, we lost our sweet Captain Basco to old age and multiple health problems. Neither Chuck nor I have “gotten over” it; I’m not sure I want to “get over” it. I loved Basco, and for thirteen years, he was a part of my life. He was there during good times and bad times and all those ordinary in-between times. He cost us more money than we’d like to count, and often we rearranged our plans and our lives because we wanted to include our “kids,” Basco and Rosie. Our evenings out rarely go beyond a couple hours because we hate to leave the pets alone for very long. Indulged? Oh yeah, they are pampered pets, no doubt.

When Basco died, I told Chuck we would not be getting another pet. Rosie is the perfect dog: she never relieves herself in the house, ever; she begs, but she’s polite about it; she’s naturally a clean animal, and because she spends so much time cuddled with Chuck or me, she always smells like cologne; she loves going for rides or going for walks or just going, as long as Chuck is going too. Between her and our cockatiel, Leo, I thought we had enough responsibilities. Yeah, sure.

I started searching the internet a few weeks ago. “What could it hurt?” I reasoned. Maybe we would find another Rosie. Rosie was a rescue dog, too, and Chuck and I often wonder who could have given up such a sweet girl as her. At this point, you already know what’s coming: we got another dog! We wanted a rescue animal, one who needed a family, and we wanted an older dog, one with some training. I began contacting rescue groups who had small dogs available, and I found All Hearts Rescue in Polson, Montana. It’s a small group, managed by two women mainly, and they rescue local animals as well as bring shipments of animals from kill shelters in California. Our little Lance was among their boarders, and he needed a home.

We met Sheryl in Missoula (I appreciate that she saved us some miles) at the PetSmart store. I also appreciate that their adoptions are handled through the store; everything is on the up and up. We met little Lance (fka Harmon), and we could have changed our minds, but there was no way. He snuggled into Chuck’s chest as I filled out the paperwork, and there was no turning back.

We’ve had some challenges: he’s not very house broken, and as a 6 pound chihuahua with very short fur, he’s not at all keen on going outside in the snow. He’s skittish and sometimes runs from us. He frequently flinches when I pet him. His life until now has been insecure and probably scary, and we have to be patient with him as he learns to trust us. But once in a while he crouches down in the “downward dog” position and then takes off across the room, hoping someone will want to play. He jumps up and down on his hind legs and prances around seeking my attention. This morning, he and Rosie had a 30 second, raucous romp around the house; it was hilarious. These are the moments when they take root in your heart; these are the moments that will eventually bring me to my knees in thirteen or fourteen or fifteen years. These are the moments why I had to have another dog. Welcome to the family, Sir Lancelot Harmon Henderson.

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