Sometimes the road to a happy ending is long and circuitous, as was the case with our Cheyenne. In the summer of 2009, my two teens, Ben and Emily, and I piled in our BUV to do a transport of three dogs from the Greensboro area to Fayetteville, NC. Two of the dogs were young male tricolors, and the third was a crusty, nine year old red and white gal named Cheyenne. Very soon into the trip, it became obvious that Cheyenne was not amused by the two young boys bouncing around her in the back of the car. She solved that problem by parking her 62-pound frame on Emily’s lap in the front passenger seat for the remainder of the trip. Somewhere along the way, the girls bonded, and Emily was in tears as we handed off the dogs in Fayetteville, and most of the way home to Greensboro. With two dogs already, and a dad whose motto was “no more animals,” what else could we do?
A few months later I became Foster Home Coordinator for CBHR, and Cheyenne’s name came up from time to time as she was a somewhat difficult fit for the foster homes she’d been in. Her behavior was a challenge because while she grumped and fussed at other dogs in the home, she wanted nothing more than to be with people and hated being separated, as she often was because of her behavior. Her last foster home asked to move her because Cheyenne kept climbing over or breaking through any gate put up to keep her separated from others. On top of that, no one wanted to adopt her either, so poor Cheyenne became the misfit basset of CBHR.
One year later, in November, Cheyenne’s first foster mom (in Greensboro) agreed to take her back while we tried to find another foster home. They couldn’t “take delivery” for two days after she arrived, however, so I offered to keep Cheyenne for that period, thinking that it’d be no big deal, and she’d move on after a short little stay. When Ben and I arrived home with Cheyenne, Emily came outside. Cheyenne immediately recognized Emily and went straight over to her and leaned her head against Emily’s leg. Emily got down on the ground, and it was as if they’d been separated for a day, not a year. My exact words were “Oh (unprintable), what do I do now?” How on earth was I going to get this past Mr. “No More Animals?”
There’s a Latin saying: “Veni, vidi, vici,” meaning “I came, I saw, I conquered,” which is exactly what Cheyenne did. She walked into our house and acted like she’d been here forever. She didn’t grump at our bagel and beagle (that came later), but very calmly strolled around the house, checked everything out, and quietly settled in. The next day Cheyenne, who was schedule for a dental, had to stay overnight at the vet’s because of some nasty extractions. When Dad came home from work, the beagle and bagel came to greet him as usual. He then stopped, looked around, and said “Where’s Cheyenne?” That’s when I knew there might just be a happy ending in store for this misfit dog and the girl she chose. Cheyenne came back home the next day, and thanks to some excuse drummed up by the Foster Home Coordinator, the two-day hold turned into a two-week hold, which brought us close to the Christmas holidays, and that yearly question of “What does Emily want for Christmas?” And while an animal should never be given as a gift, because of when she came into our lives (for good), we’ve always considered Cheyenne one of the best gifts ever.
Cheyenne continues to fit in perfectly, and we wonder how we ever lived without her. That’s not to say that she doesn’t ever grump, because she does, most often at the beagle. But it’s workable and never escalates past bluster. Having watched the difficulties she had in various foster homes, I’m thrilled that we were able to give this misfit girl a home where she’s loved, grumps and all. It took her a year and some miles, but Cheyenne got her very own happy ending.