Since Emily died in February 2009, Alex and I have been a pack of two, and we have become very close. Our daily routines have melded into a comfortable rhythm of walks and play time and quiet time. But for the last 20 years, I have always had at least two dogs, and when one passed away, I found a certain comfort in knowing that their life overlapped with the ones remaining. I got Alex as a puppy in the last year of Emily’s life, and I treasure the photos of them together. I think of all of them as a chain of hearts, each connected to the next. Thus, I have been thinking for some time of getting another dog as a companion for Alex. I thought I would get another English springer, and I checked out the dogs on the Springer Rescue site weekly, if not daily. Occasionally, I checked the Welsh Springer rescue site as well, but Welsh springer rescues are few, as it is one of the rarer breeds in the US, and breeders are extremely careful in placing their puppies with forever homes. But, in even the best of homes circumstances can change, and that is why Baker, a lovely five year old Welsh springer, was up for adoption in early November. After a flurry of emails and a phone interview with his foster mom, and a weekend of mulling it over, I decided to adopt him. The next challenge was how to pick him up, as he was being fostered in Indiana, an eight hour drive with the heavy traffic of Thanksgiving weekend looming. But the rescue coordinator posted a transport request, and got one response. A couple was driving from Cleveland to Atlanta with their Welsh springer, and had room for one more. Their route would take them through Knoxville, a reasonable drive for me to meet them. So on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, and thanks to the ability to communicate through smart phones, the transport went off exactly as planned and I met Baker in a Holiday Inn parking lot just outside of Knoxville. At that point, he was one pretty confused dog!
For the first hour of our drive home, he stood in the back of my station wagon, in the cargo area behind the back seat, with his head resting on the back seat and the saddest look on his face. As I glanced in the rear view mirror at him, I had the impression that he looked a lot like Byron, my first Welsh springer. For a moment it seemed as if Byron had come back. Finally, Baker lay down and slept the rest of the trip.
The following week I corresponded with Baker’s breeder, to clear up some confusion as to his age. She shared with me his parentage, and when I learned that his father had been bred by Byron’s breeder, I wondered if there was a bloodline connection. Holding my breath, I searched the family tree in the Welsh springer pedigree database, and was thrilled to find that Byron and Baker are related!
The last few weeks have been busy, and trying at times, as Baker adapts to our household, and there have been moments when I wondered if I could manage it. I’m happy to report he is now settling in nicely and is turning into a wonderful companion for Alex and me. Stay tuned for their continuing adventures!