So last week this happened: I adopted a dog. She’s about four years old and weighs 12.2 pounds. She came with the name Madeleine and I like the gravitas of that, though she is very small and very lively so I don’t think anyone will blame me if I start calling her Maddie.

MadeleineI didn’t exactly intend to adopt her. I mean, I’d been inching my way towards thinking about adoption. I’d started ogling adoption sites. I visited the local shelter and, the same day, attended a few adoption events. But I didn’t find “my” dog, the dog that spoke to my heart, and found the whole process depressing. I was about to petsit a friend’s dog and figured I’d put the search on hold.

Then another friend posted a picture from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSAZ) on Facebook and tagged me.

Oh my. Those eyes.

The post said there was an adoption event across town where I could meet this cutie. I went. There she was, by herself in a pen. I took her in a room with me. She shed. She was very pink. Was she sunburned, I wondered, did she have allergies?

I learned she was picked as a stray in the next county over, which only has a high kill shelter. It was clear that, at one point she had had puppies; her figure isn’t entirely girlish.

Was she traumatized?

If she was, there were no visible signs of it. She was friendly and perky.

I asked the universe whether she was “my” dog–you know, if she licks me in the next minute, then she is, if she follows me when I get up then she is–and the universe said yes, but I was still uncertain. The volunteer from HSSAZ gave me the adoption form and said she’d be at the PetSmart until 3.

I sat in the car and filled out the form. Then I drove away. I called the friend whose dog I was going to petsit the following day to see what she thought; I didn’t want to jeopardize the arrangement. She wasn’t home. At five minutes to 3 I phoned the volunteer, who said she was about to bring Madeleine back to the humane society and that if I was interested I should drive over there.

I stood in front of Frankie’s shrine, shed a few tears, and asked if it was okay if I got a new friend. I got no answer from him or the universe.

I waited a while. I drove over to HSSAZ. After I heard the volunteer tell the second person who phoned about Madeleine that there was someone sitting and thinking about it, I took the plunge.

Frankie shrine, the big picture

The Woman Who Knew Too Much

My friend whose dog I was going to pet sit phoned me back soon after I brought Madeleine home. I kept repeating, “I got a dog.” She said, “You sound slightly hysterical.”

I was.

I had a dark night of the soul, tossing and turning. What had I done? What happened to my travel plans–my life as a free woman?

This time, as opposed to the first time I got a dog, I know what I don’t know. The food. The insurance. The training. The car seats. The vet. There is so much that I need to do, so much money I need to spend.

Madeleine, however, had no such reservations about me and my home.

Madeleine’s MO

A week in, I know that Madeleine is not like Frankie, except for the little white fuzzy part. She is bold and confident, claiming me by the second night when Mimzy, the dog I was petsitting, arrived.

You can see, below, which bed was intended for whom. I celebrate Madeleine’s aesthetic sense, if not her ability to share. The ebony and ivory effect is much better with the contrast.

M and M, Ebony and Ivory

Madeleine is also part mountain goat. When things were suspiciously quiet and I went outside my office to look, I found her standing on top of the kitchen table. I now know I have to push the chairs in every time. I also know that I need to use a rubber band to secure the door handle of the cabinet where I keep my trash.

Even in repose, Madeline likes to find odd perches–the armrest, say, as opposed to the couch.

Resting on the armrest

She managed to escape the harness that I used to secure her in the car, twice, even after the (new) vet I took her to made sure it was on properly.

She does not seem afraid of the car, however. Nor of lightening. She barks at it, rather than shaking.

Not a replacement

A friend whose heels Madeleine tried to nip–three times!–said that Madeleine would never be the companion to me Frankie was, which was very mean. It was also true, in its fashion. She will be a different companion to me. I have yet to find out exactly what kind, but there is no question anymore that she is “my” dog, whether the universe or Frankie intended her for me or not. When I took her in the car to go to the vet and she seemed worried, I promised her I was taking her home again, that I would always take her home again.

In the meantime, while trying to establish such good habits as no begging at the table–Madeleine has the most pitiful little whimper and a way of putting her paws up on your legs and looking into your eyes–I am also trying to relax.

And here I can take a page out of Madeleine’s book.

Stretch marks who cares


44 thoughts on “Meet Madeleine”

  1. Oh, she’s a love! And it will all work out, the travel, the vet, the heel-nipping… because you know what you’re doing now, and you’re not so worried about whether your dog is going to hate you. 😀

    1. Well, I’m a worrier–but Madeleine is a lover and, though I suspect I will be concerned about many, many things, whether she hates me is not one of them. On the other hand, the question of whether I am boring my dog is open!

  2. I enjoyed this post so much. It was heartfelt, and truthful. The pictures made us laugh. What you said about “never replacing…Frankie” is right, she will find her own path in your heart. You are already in hers. Dogs open and give their hearts quicker than us humans. I think the hurt of losing …keeps us closed and it takes another new loving soul to open it up again. Which puts us back on that path of loving and then losing. Its hard and wonderful isn’t it, to love a four legger.
    Stella Rose’s Momma

    1. Aw, thanks SRM! Yeah, Madeline’s sleeping habits are pretty funny; I think that’s the first thing that really endeared her to me. There is no question that dogs are more open — both because they don’t see into the future to worry needlessly and because they don’t have to pay the bills ;- )

  3. I am so happy for you. I love the back story and your friend saying you sounded a little hysterical. The post-nipping comment was uncalled-for, I think. Maddie is not Frankie. All of our relationships with people and dogs are different … and that’s the best part. I wish both of you much health and happiness.

  4. I am so very happy for you and Madeline! Once you’ve had a wonderful dog in your life, you’re spoiled. The world loses its sparkle when you don’t have one. No, Madeline will not be the same type of companion Frankie was – she’ll have her own way of making your life sparkly! Congratulations – I can’t wait to meet her!

    1. Madeleine and I look forward to seeing you and the crew too! As one of the few who have met Frankie, you’ll see she’s definitely a different personality.

  5. Very happy to hear that you’ve decided to open your home once more. You will cuss and cry and smile and laugh and in the end, isn’t that what life’s about. I wish you both the best of times.

    1. Yes, cussing has definitely commenced — but so has laughing, often at the same time (talk about mixed signals)! Thanks for the good wishes.

  6. Oh, my! I think I’ve fallen for her sweet face, too! Hopefully your friend will learn to celebrate the uniqueness of your relationship with Maddie, but – if not – it doesn’t matter. Because she’s yours and you’re hers!

    1. Yes, you’re right Maggie–it doesn’t matter. And if my friend doesn’t shape up, I will train Madeleine to nip at his ankles (and only his ankles)!

  7. Edie – This made me cry tears of joy. I’m so happy for you and for Maddie. And it’s so great to read your writing about a very special dog again. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks very much, Lisa. It’s great to rejoin the dog world. Madeleine’s an excitable girl and might need some of your calming music…

  8. Edie, from her pictures alone, I can feel her energy and apparent openness to life and adventure: her “adoption” of you so promptly is a great start. Just think how you would be feeling now if you DIDN’T bring her home, and she was gone when you called back in a few days (as you well might have). She MIGHT even like traveling…! Let’s keep trying to get together this summer (I’m back in Tucson under 8/15)!

    1. Ah, she would have been gone in a few hours, based on the interest she was getting. And yes, I would love to see you this summer. Let’s keep in touch.

  9. I am so happy for you. Maddie looks adorable, and seems quite a character already. Wishing you both many new adventures and travels!

    1. You were an inspiration, Leo, your happiness with Tilde. Madeleine is quite the character indeed — I’m discovering every day just how much!

  10. There will never be another Frankie just like there will never be another Painter Greyhound in my life. Both of these dogs were our first canine loves (for me as an adult). The same can be said for jobs, friends, and boyfriends. Every dog brings different attributes and personality to the relationship. And it’s up to us to love each of them (the dogs not the boyfriends) for their individuality and spunk. Maddie has already enriched your life. Embrace her like there’s no tomorrow.

    1. I will, Karyn. And I hope that, by the time you meet her next week, I will have managed to get her to stop nipping at her visitors’ heels!

  11. As one of the few who has had the great privilege of meeting Madeleine, I have to say she is totally your dog – and you’re her human. She is so adorable, whether proudly showing her ability to sit for treats or curled up on the couch adjacent to you, watching television.Nope, not Frankie at all. But a smart, funny, adorable little terrier who will love you with all of her doggie heart. Even while she keeps scouting for ways to climb on the dining room table.

    1. You are very kind not to mention her heel-nipping addiction, which you experienced, and not to let it influence your glowing report of my little friend. I realized can, with vigilance, keep her off the dining room table but I have not yet figured out a way to keep her from leaping on the coffee table in the living room (and, as happened today, turning on the TV)!

  12. A joyful post – and funny too – definitely some comic relief pets provide us with!
    And Madeline is a natural ham! Obviously designed to give you love, laughs and eternal friendship!

    1. She is indeed a natural ham. I have to keep myself from laughing at behaviors like leaping up on the coffee table… thanks for the nice words!

  13. Teddy, my first smooth fox terrier, taught himself to use the remote at my last Seattle house! I discovered this once when I was sitting on couch looking into TV room. Teddy pressed the remote with his paw, stood and watched the TV start up, then hopped onto my recliner and curled up! At least I got some idea what the dogs did while I was at work all day!

  14. I have faith Madeleine and you will cure the nipping habit, especially as she settles in. It seemed to me to be a combination of fear and an unfortunate habit that has been allowed to continue.

    1. I got some great advice from a trainer friend, Hilary Lane, so am preparing to get started working on it!

  15. Reading about Madeleine took me right back to bringing Shadow home, so many years ago. I wondered if she’d ever love me–especially after running away less than 24 hours after coming home with me. I couldn’t understand how quiet she was compared to my previous snickerdoodles.

    But it didn’t take long before I couldn’t imagine having any other dog.

    I’m so happy for you. And this time of discovery is so interesting.

    Frankie taught you so much. And Madeleine is very lucky to be living with someone who was so well trained. 🙂

    1. Well, I’m learning something new every day…and I alternate between being charmed and terrified! I feel like I know nothing about dogs–all over again. Your good wishes are much appreciated!

  16. Congratulations! I’m so glad you decided to take the plunge. Though the adjustment period may be trying at times, I feel pretty sure that in the long run you will be so happy you brought Maddie home.

  17. I am so in love with her. She is so darn adorable. I don’t think you could have found a better companion after Frankie. Oh the adventures you will have! 🙂

    1. It’s been quite the whirlwind — Madeleine is so different from Frankie (she’s a little gremlin) that she both takes my mind from mourning him and allows me to think about him in a less charged fashion. Oh, yes, adventures are afoot!

  18. Edie, congratulations!!! Please forgive my tardy well wishes. We were traveling and I’m just now catching up on all the email that has accumulated. Finding the link to your blog about sweet Madeleine makes my day! What a cookie! It’s coming up on a month since you last told us about your new love. I hope you post again soon. Really, reading about the two of you provided a lovely oxytocin moment 🙂

    1. Thank you, Deborah–and very nice to hear from you! I was wondering if everything was okay. At this point I have no plans to go back to blogging on a regular basis — I do post pictures on Facebook — but I’ve learned never to say never…

  19. I always love reading your blog. And I’m so pleased you’ve got Madeline – congratulations. I think you were born to have and love and care for a dog – I know that from reading your blog. Enjoy her. All our love, Sian and Caesar x

    1. Thank you Sian; what nice things to say. It is becoming obvious that having a dog in my life is a wonderful thing — even when Madeleine is acting very devilish behind that innocent little face… Your Caesar is a very handsome boy. Give him a scratch behind the ears for me!

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