If you asked me three weeks ago what it would be like to write a post about Johnnie getting adopted, I’d tell you it would be impossible. I thought letting Johnnie go would be the hardest thing I’d ever have to do. It was difficult, yes – but after meeting this family and watching them interact with Johnnie, I don’t think I could be happier about her going to a forever home.
I got a lot of interest in Johnnie while she was with me, but it was never the right fit. Yes it probably had to do with the fact that I was not going to let my little princess go to just anyone, but mostly it was because Johnnie can sometimes be a challenging dog (though always the sweetest, of course) and would need an adopter really willing to work with her.
When J (the human not the dog!) first emailed me, she told me about all the great adventures she and T would take Johnnie on. It sounded great, but I figured she wouldn’t be interested in a work-in-progress like Johnnie (not actually because of any vibes she gave me, that was just sort of the way things had been going with potential adopters). I fired back an email about why Johnnie was awesome but also how she’s working on her skills with other dogs and she’ll need a lot of training and she probably won’t ever love every single other dog she meets and how she’s not going to be easy blah blah blah. I figured I wouldn’t hear back, which was fine with me. A few days later I got the response: “Sorry about the late response, I wanted to make sure T and I talked it over before I got back to you. We both agree… we’re ready for it. What’s next?”
Hold the phone – you just read my straight forward “this is actually why you don’t want Johnnie” email and you came back for more? I didn’t get my hopes up because there were still some things standing in the way: the initial meeting, which Johnnie always bombs because she gets so excited and acts like a total lunatic, and a meet and greet with T’s parents dogs. When J and T met her for the first time she acted like her normal over-stimulated self, being extra bouncy. I thought for sure after they left that Johnnie had scared them off, but again I got a super positive email from them the next morning about her and how they still wanted to move forward.
A lot of you are probably thinking, “Why would you ever think they wouldn’t want her!?” Well I have this thing where I’m paranoid that no one else will understand the way she is and how her bounciness is often a product of stress and how she’s a great learner and how the crazy, often annoying behaviors can be changed and how she can be a really fabulous dog. I always just think that they’ll see a dog who is too much work and say “no thanks.” That’s why I kept thinking Johnnie’s adopters wouldn’t come back.
But they did come back. They came back every time I sent them long emails with endless ramblings about training and how to communicate with Johnnie and where to go for the best resources to help with the transition. They came back even when I told them all about how much work I’ve done with her and how much they’ll have to continue doing. They came back even after I brought her over to their place and she barked and wanted to play and was just generally her energetic self. They kept coming back for her.
The final hurdle that I figured would be decided by Johnnie Cash herself was the dog meet and greet. One big black retriever mix and one little black fluffy dog stood in the way of Johnnie potentially heading to her forever home. To my surprise, it went better than I ever could have imagined. All three dogs were playing off-leash by the end of the meeting. Johnnie is definitely more puppy than I think either of the other dogs prefer, but no one got into arguments. It was amazing.
After that meeting, the adoption process seemed to happen at lightning speed and all of a sudden Johnnie was going to her new home in 36 hours. Of course I immediately began to panic – what if they take her home, realize how nuts she can be, and they want to bring her back? What if she has a melt down around other dogs and freaks them out? What if what if what if? Ask Mark and he will tell you how annoying of a worry wart I can be. I don’t know what it is about Johnnie, versus my other fosters, but I just feel so responsible for her behavior.
Well, not surprisingly, I had nothing to worry about. My mind was immediately put at ease when we did the swap and I saw how excited they were to bring her into their lives. They showed us all the awesome new dog supplies she’d be spoiled with, and they even gave me the most amazing photo book as a gift. I know, right – isn’t it me who should be thanking them for agreeing to take such great care of my dog? Johnnie really hit the jackpot with this family.
We’ve been in touch since she went home, and they are still love with her (yay!). Some of the hiccups I thought would arise have indeed come up, and they seem more than willing to do what’s needed to make sure everyone stays happy and comfortable.
So there it is. Johnnie Cash, the dog who spent five months in the shelter, has found her forever family. The best forever family. Good luck Johnnie – you will have an amazing life with people who love you, and you deserve every minute of it!