On March 1, I celebrated my sweet Dingo St. John's Gotcha Day! I can't believe Dingo has only been with me for one year - he seems like he has been here forever because he fits so perfectly. He has the sweetest heart and the wildest, derpiest personality. He is a goofball extraordinaire that loves his toys, his mama, cuddles, and to play with other dogs. Today, I want to share his Gotcha Story.
On February 15, 2017 I was sent his picture (above). I knew immediately he was my dog. His face just melted me. His story sealed the deal. Dingo had lived with a family that did not abuse him in the least, but did keep him tied to a tree outside. For the first 8 months of his life, this dog (who craves cuddles) was confined to a tree. Here's what I love: his pluck. Dingo took matters into his own paws and got himself out of his situation. He chewed through his rope 3 times and ran the half mile to the shelter because he WANTED TO PLAY WITH THE OTHER DOGS. Finally, the shelter said no more and took him in. I wrote the shelter director an email, telling him about myself and my dogs. I explained the kind of life I wanted to give Dingo, and he readily agreed that Dingo should be mine.
On February 27, 2017 I packed up my car and drove to Charlotte, NC. Dingo was too big to fly with me in the cabin, so he would have to be checked and I didn't want him to have to endure a layover and plane switch. Best laid plans.. ;) I stayed the night and then drove to the airport in the morning. My flight was promptly delayed. And then delayed again. And again. My 11:30 flight finally took off around 7pm! I arrived in St. Thomas around 10pm bleary eyed and hustled to get on the last ferry to St. John.
From the moment I met Dingo in person, I knew he was my dog. He already had a piece of my heart and I felt the connection immediately! When he fell off the bed like a doofus, I had to laugh - this clumsy boy clearly had found his mama.
The next day, our flight didn't leave St. Thomas until 3pm. We went to the shelter to say thank you and so they could say goodbye. As I walked him through town, people kept stopping me to pet him and say goodbye. He had made quite the impression! I wanted to tire him out so he wasn't bananas in his crate, which he would have to be in from the ferry ride until we arrived in Charlotte. He had a GREAT last island walk:
We got on the ferry from St. John back to St. Thomas. People kept stopping at his crate to tell him good luck and what a good boy he was! I had arranged a dog friendly taxi to take us from the ferry to the airport. At the airport, I got him checked and tried not to cry as he was taken to get on the plane after security. How could this little pup I had only known for 15 hours or so already affect me so strongly??
We hit a storm and had to be rerouted to Charleston until the Charlotte airport reopened. I nearly had a full blown panic attack - thank goodness for the amazing flight attendant! She realized I was having a melt down and calmed me down, bringing me water and asking me about Dingo. Several friends that were following #OperationBringDingoStJohnHome kept me calm with texts and calls.
Finally, we took off and landed in Charlotte. I SPRINTED to the pick up area and arrived to find Dingo surrounded by a crowd of workers, all asking if they could pet him. I put him on his leash, he got some love and attention, and we made our way to the car. For a dog that had been through so much in his short life, not just in the last 24 hours, he handled himself incredibly well. We arrived at the dog-friendly hotel we were staying in and he immediately made the Front Desk Attendant crack up because he was so freaked out by the elevator! He adapted to the hotel pretty quickly:
The next day, we got in the car and made the trek back to Kentucky. I had spoken at length with the great dog trainers at the Kentucky Humane Society on a plan to introduce Dingo to Willie and Chico. We decided to introduce Willie and Dingo first, at a neutral spot - my parents house. Dingo was WILD and made quite the first impression on my parents, but he and Willie got along pretty well thanks to "friendship peanut butter!"
We introduced Chico next, at the park. They played and played! Dingo fit right in and has been the puzzle piece we didn't know we were missing! Coming soon, pictures from his Gotcha Day celebration!