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March 26, 2009

The Story of Sonora

One fine New Years eve in Chandler, Arizona, a suburb of Tempe which is apparently a suburb of Pheonix, a couple left a New Years Eve party not long after midnight to find a surprise under their car. The man, while opening his door, felt something against his leg, and looked down to see a small black puppy. No collar, no owner in sight. The couple took the puppy home with them for the night and began making calls the following morning.

The couple was India and Gabe, friends of Brad and Steph, friends of my beau's. Judah and I had driven down with some other Boulder friends to celebrate the holiday in desert warmth--mmmm, desert warmth. I wore a skirt and a t-shirt and sandals all weekend. Our main goal was to relax and to enjoy ourselves, mostly out in the backyard by Brad and Steph's pool, wearing sunglasses and drinking cheap beer. India called Steph New Year's morning to tell her of their find. And also that India's mom had already done some sleuthing. Driving through the neighborhood that morning, she stopped a couple guys she spotted walking along the street. "Do you guys know of anyone who's missing a puppy?" she asked. "Yeah," the guys said, reportedly casually. "We're missing a puppy." They gave India's mother their address. "Just have her drop it by any time today," they said. So, concluded India, they must not be very into their puppy. I mean, what about "omigodyoufoundourpuppywhereisshesowecanpickherup???"

We told India to definitely bring the puppy over before returning it.

The puppy was very mellow--sweet, docile, unphased by just about everything. There were three other dogs around, a pool, two toddlers, and about ten adults, but whatever. Puppy seemed to just be curious and comfortable.

There was talk of trying to keep the puppy. I mean, her owners didn't seem very concerned about her--beside being found outside unattended and the two men having said that India could just drop her off anytime, she seemed kind of dirty. Her stomach was bulging, although probably India and Gabe had just overfed her that morning (GA, another friend who'd driven down, said the lambs on his family's sheep ranch in western Colorado look like that after eating all the time). Despite the possible neglect, though, she just.... well, she just had an amazing disposition. She seemed up for anything.

Sitting outside on the back porch watching most everyone else do yoga, with the puppy weaving through legs and exploring the bushes alongside the pool, I saw the moment. Judah too was sitting outside watching the more ambitious of our group do yoga, and the puppy weaving through legs and exploring bushes... and something in his face changed, indifference was displaced quite suddenly by inquiry, and he said--I'm almost sure of it--"That could be my dog."

And then it was over. "What do you think her name should be, if she's my dog?" he asked, and "Can I have this dog?" As in, do you think I have the time and patience to raise her? "Yes," I told him. If you want to make it work, you can. But it almost didn't matter anymore. I don't think he would have heard a No. Judah was gone. He was smitten. His dog River had died at 15 years of age in October, and here was this lovely little perfect puppy just walking right into his life. We decided to ask the owners. There was a group effort--How should we do it? What should we say? Say you'll give 40 bucks to keep the puppy. Does anybody have any cash? Who has 40 bucks? GA gave us 50, and I put it in my pocket. Judah carried the puppy in his arms. "Are you going to be crushed if they say no?" I asked. Judah paused. "Maybe." As in, yes.

Judah, puppy, India, Ingrid, Steph and I walked to the address given to India's mom, where there was a man standing just outside the front door in a sleeveless shirt, sunglasses on, smoking. Judah approached him holding the puppy. "Is someone here missing a dog?" Judah asked and the man smiled and said, nonchalantly, Yeah, that's our dog! She got out here last night. "How attached are you to this puppy?" Judah asked. "Because I really like this dog." The man smiled wider, metal on a tooth glinting in the sun. "You got a lotta love for that dog, eh man?" "Yep," said Judah, "I got a lotta love for this dog." "Oh, you're serious!" His eyebrows went up behind his glasses. A woman appeared at his side and coo-ed. Oooh, the puppy. "Go get Chico," the man told the woman. And reluctantly, she did. Another man came out from the house, nodded, grunted something, disappeared back into the house. And that was about that. The man offered to let us meet the father, half Rottweiler and half pitt bull--"a real mean dog"--and, as inviting as that sounded, we opted out. Mostly, we just wanted out of there before they changed their minds about giving up the puppy.

So we walked hurriedly back to Brad and Steph's. And announced victory to the others. And suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, had a new baby puppy on our hands.

The first thing we did was give her a bath.

The next thing, more or less, was to take her on what was presumably her first hike, for which we rigged up a sling--

which she proceeded to not use.

We carried her probably a third of the way, max. She is a *trooper*. I couldn't believe the stuff she was scrambling over, and if she wasn't sure how to get up or down something, we could call her over (we'd already decided on her name) and point, and she'd give it a go. And make it.

And at the top, she was a bit tired,

but she posed like a champ.

[For more shots, see my Flickr account--you should be able to find it by searching on my name.]

The next day, it was back to Colorado for us. Baby Sonora puppy, continuing her trend of being ridiculously good, slept the whole way. All *15* hours of it.

Since then, Sonora's had a pretty hard life. Settling into Judah's place was a pretty tough adjustment.

And then, there was the hut trip we forced her on...

and the continued hikes.

I know, it's a rough life. Should've left her in Arizona, eh?

Posted by beth at March 26, 2009 11:51 PM

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You write beautifully and I love the pictures - they're perfect! I'm looking forward to meeting you when we visit CO next. John

Posted by: John Gaioni at April 14, 2009 4:58 AM

Is puppy housebroken?

Is that guy housebroken?

Posted by: Tom Horn at April 16, 2009 4:38 PM

Wow Sonora was really cute and lovely she pose like pro on some of your shot. What an amazing story perhaps it would be better if you put a title like " A journey of Sonora " :) The story is very nice and entertaining. I have a baby puppy also his name is Lucky. He is as cute as Sonora. Looking forward that they were got a chance to meet in the future ;)


My blog : Doudoune enfant 

Posted by: Vernice at October 7, 2011 4:37 AM

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