I am not a dog person.  In fact, until I was in my twenties, the sight of a dog coming towards me – even a tail-wagging, collar wearing, clearly happy dog- terrified me. For years, my kids have been hounding me (no bad pun intended) to get  a dog.  And for years I’ve refused.

I don’t want to scoop poop.  I don’t want to be woken up by barking in the middle of the night.  I don’t want to have muddy paw prints on my nice clean floor.  Dog hair on my…everything.  I don’t want to introduce another thing I need to worry about into my life. My kids, (and my husband, too) want all of that.

So guess what? After years of saying no.  I said yes.  Tomorrow, I am traveling to NJ to pick up our my new dog.

4400Bentley is a four month old Schnauzer/Yorkie mix who was found on the side of the road some months ago.  We found him on Petfinder, where more that 300,000 unwanted dogs are looking for homes.  That’s him right there – cute, huh? According to the woman who rescued him, he is sweet natured, smart, playful, and crate trained. (Though not housetrained.  Ugh.)  I’ll have to take her word for it, because Bentley is in Arkansas.

Actually – that’s not precisely true anymore — Bentley left Arkansas last night on an Animal Rescue Road Trip bus, specially equipped to take strays and abandoned dogs from the South up North to their new owners.  According to Bentley’s rescuer, Arkansas has lousy animal protection laws.  This summer they became the 46th (46th!) state to finally make torturing animals a felony. There was plenty of opposition. And there are lots and lots of unwanted pets.

By the time we pick up Bentley in a Nanuet parking lot at 7:30 am Saturday morning he will have been traveling by bus for thirty-six hours.   They stop for frequent potty breaks, and have water all along the way, but it’s got to be terrifying. Think about it:  imagine how awful it is to fly coach on a full plane during the Christmas rush.  Kids are crying.  Curmudgeons are complaining.  The  bathroom smells.  Now imagine you’re a puppy on that transport bus: the crates are all full, the dogs are howling, the whole place smells….poor guy.  I bet they don’t even have an en route movie.

For me, it was a long trip from “No dog” to a parking lot in Nanuet.  But for Bentley, it was a painful trip, a long trip, and I hope we can make it worth it.