They Called him Archie

*In my eyes, 
he was the most beautiful puppy on the planet*

I love Border Collies! When I applied to an organization for a combo Service and Hearing dog, it was a Border Collie they had assured me I would get. Over the next 8 years I would face many obstacles with this organization who eventually would wind up wanting to start the whole process of my application over. I had had enough and though my visual loss was diagnosed at this time, but in the early stages, they kept telling me they did not provide dogs to those who were blind or were going to go blind in the near future. It was a very disheartening experience not to mention demeaning. With the support of a friend, I decided to do the unthinkable- despite the organizations insistence that I could never do this myself. I decided to train my own dog. Who better than myself would know what I needed afterall.

I had come that day to the adoption center knowing they had Border Collies and Border Collie mixes up for adoption. Having experienced disability discrimination at the humane society the week before, which may or may not have been because they did not encourage the use of rescued dogs for service work, I honestly expected no different here. I was to be greatly mistaken though that the attitude of what one is capable of extended to this rescue group as well. For here, they treated me like any other individual who came through their doors. In fact, when they heard I was looking to train a puppy as a hearing dog, they embraced me.

It was May 31st, a beautiful summer day of nearly 90 degrees, when I first laid my eyes upon this magnificent puppy. There were many dogs and puppies of various ages there. Some like the beautiful Standard Schnauzer  were owner relinquishments of beloved pets because the family had fell upon hard times. Others were teensy little puppies not quite ready for adoption, but there to draw applications from people who may want to become their forever owners. Then there were the special ones- you know those wonderful animals who due to no fault of their own had been thrown away like yesterday's garbage. One of them was this beautiful puppy they called Archie. No one was showing any interest in him really. He was a six month old tricolor Border Collie mix with a beautiful white goatee and the most awesome big rustic colored eyes. His parents were from pure lines. His mother was a Border Collie and his father was a German Shepherd. For some reason though, no one but me had any interest in this little fella. In hindsight I can not help but wonder what they saw that I was missing.  

He was that *puppy in the window* type of dog. As he laid at the back of his crate, I sat there for hours watching him sleep, talking to him, mesmerizing over this gorgeous guy. Telling him how marvelous he was. He was young though and where I lived the pet policy required our animals be one year old to live there. Finally, I pulled myself away and headed out into the scorching sun without him. It was the hardest thing I could have done.  I was intent on getting the permission I needed to bring this guy into my life- and praying no one else would realize what a gem he was!

I was absolutely elated when I was granted the permission to have him where I lived. Then to learn that no one had adopted him yet, my excitement was uncontainable. I felt like a child awaiting Christmas morning. The next adoption period was not until Wednesday evening, June 4th. It was extremely difficult to pass the days until he would be mine. We went shopping for all the things my puppy would need: a leash and collar, bowls, food, grooming tools, a variety of toys, and even a crate. Boy puppies can be expensive! When Wednesday came, the weather had cooled down to a more pleasurable 73 degrees. Perfect weather to bring home my new puppy.

My friend, Angie and I rode the bus to the adoption center, arriving early enough to watch the fosters bringing the pups in to settle them for a big evening. Many of them would find their forever homes that night. I was so nervous that someone would beat me to Archie while I tried to get the help that I needed. Angie grabbed the tag off of his crate so no one else would know his information. I think she was hoping to give me a better chance to get the paperwork started before anyone else started realizing how gorgeous he was. I had brought my own collar and leash with me and put them on him as he was brought out of the crate. His gorgeous goatee and those big hazel eyes had the gift of winning your heart.

As I was finishing up the paperwork, he realized something was not right here and literally jumped up onto the table to get back to his foster mom. Oh my this was not a good start! Out in the parking lot we were having a hard time getting him up in my lap. Afterall he had no training of any kind yet. Because of this, there was no transportation that would take us all home. I knew I could make the trip in my chair alone, but with a puppy in my lap who had already shown he wanted very much for me to get out of town! This 6 mile trek could prove to be quite a chore if he did not decide to settle down. I was relieved when he propped his head up on my armrest as though he was set for the ride- and off we went.

By the time we got home about 1 1/2 hours later, it was pitch dark out. This night and many others over the next several months was about to be one where I wondered what on earth I got myself into! My *child* was quite literally a nightmare filled with an immense amount of baggage- more so than many rescues out there. But try as I might to make the decision to return him, it just was not in me to give up on him. After ditching the name Archie for the more sophisticated name of Chimette we began a journey that would bond the two of us closer than any human or animal ever has been. Nicknames would slowly emerge as we became a common place image in our community. Now as I look back over that amazing journey to bring Met into my life, I am in awe how all the pieces fit together for him, for me, and how much alike we would turn out to be.

© 1997 - 2013
by Karyn LaGrange