Our Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Lexi, reached her fifth birthday this February and my furtive Internet searches for a reputable breeder's litter or a wonderful rescue dog increased. I'd been hinting, mentioning, campaigning for a second dog for years. Looking over those pages of dogs waiting to be adopted became a bittersweet obsession. We'd met the beautiful Kerry Blues at Westminster, and thought one would be a great companion for Lexi. Once we decided we were up for an adoption adventure, we became nervous expectant parents.
Diane Ewing told us that Agatha Hughes had six month old rescue Jumpin' Jack Flash in Pennsylvania. The day we drove from D.C. to meet him it was pouring buckets outside. The visibility was so awful I considered pulling over on I-95. We made it to Agatha's and met this wonderful Kerry. He was beautiful, but a bit of a blur. He was scared of us, scared of each motion, sound and new sight. He crawled onto Agatha hoping he could escape our very presence. When he met Lexi he was intrigued, but still confused and unsure. We crossed our fingers and loaded him into the car as the rain teemed down. As we drove in the rain and discussed dozens of names, we passed Kirby Street in Philadelphia while hunting down the requisite cheesesteaks. Kirby, our Kerry, had a name. Back in D.C. (Arlington), Kirby and Lexi had the run of the yard. She doesn't really understand the thrill of a tennis ball, but we discovered Kirby likes to run around with one in his mouth. This is perfect because Lexi loves to chase him. They run in sync, bounding around the yard until one of the terriers makes a trademark terrier twist and the other stumbles to catch up.
We brought them to our house in the country. It's got a field on a river. On Lexi's first visit five years ago, she walked down to the dock and matter of factly dove off the dock into the chilly spring water. She swam to shore earning the nickname Lexminda the Brave. Kirby saw the water and I swear I saw the spirit of some ancient (possibly Portuguese) Water Dog spring forth and in an instant, Kirby dove from the dock. He loved it. He wallowed in it. He dove in over and over. Fear was a million miles away from this boy for maybe the first time ever. This summer I anticipate lots of beach towels being put to work to dry wavy black fur. Since Kirby came home, he's defeated the fear of stairs, sounds, cats, and cars. I've heard some Kerries are stingy with kisses but this weekend my mother said, "Are you going to let him kiss you all over like that?" Kirby's still a little leery of men with deep voices, but he's making progress. He loves running around the yard with an upside down Frisbee obscuring his view like I love chocolate cake. Every time we look at Kirby and think of where he's been and his big bold plunge into the river, we're so glad the Foundation, Diane and Agatha helped him find his way home.