"We'll need you to fill out these forms," she said. Her name tag said Connie, a name I remember from my childhood but have not heard since. I took the forms from her and turned to Tom.
We were in the Longmont Humane Society. It was time, we had determined, to adopt. It was time to allow Carmie to relax at the Rainbow Bridge, and to bring another dog into our lives.
"This one," Tom had said on a short walk around the shelter's outside area. We had a coon hound on a leash. A beautiful boy who was a bit skittish having come from years and years in a kennel at a research facility. He was clearly amazed and delighted to be outside. His nose found delight in the grass and along the pavement.
"Yes," I nodded. His name was Chester and I was as enamored as Tom. This dog was solid, his long ears dragged on the ground when he placed his nose here and there. Every bird, every car passing by, every laugh we heard from others also walking dogs, brought his head up as if startled.
He was wary of us, that was clear. I wondered how many people he'd encountered in the research facility. I wondered if they ever took him outside - on grass, not concrete? I wondered if he'd been exposed to other dogs ... and cats? At the time, we had an elderly girl who was Queen of the house and no dog, no matter how large, was going to take her crown!
Regardless of our questions, we knew we wanted to bring this boy home. But first...two important things, those all consuming forms and then, a visit from Kindness Ranch, where he'd been living for a few months, being acclimated to new surroundings before being brought to Longmont.
As we sat in a waiting room and carefully read through the forms, each of us taking one or two to complete, we came upon this question:
"How much do you think it costs to care for your new pet, over a year's time?"
Hmmm... I looked at Tom and gave a shrug. "What should we put?" I asked.
He started trying to add numbers in his head; vet visits, food, vitamins, leashes, whatever...
"Let's just put $1500," I said. "That's a good round number and if it's less, great. If it's more, so be it."
The next question made me laugh.