“There’s my favorite couple in the world,” Kayla says, exchanging hugs with Courtney and me. “Now let’s get you a fur baby—or two.” She flashes me a wink and we walk through the building, passing several cute cats, and we follow her outside.
“You’ll have to watch her, Drew. She’s the best doggy dealer in Sacramento. She slings more dogs than any other.”
“Sounds like some serious shit,” I tease as we follow Kayla who has a bop in her step.
Courtney stops and bends down at one of the cages outside and holds out her hand to a furry mid-sized dog with white and brown hair. He’s the only dog in the big caged area—all alone. He has a cute face, and he’s the size of a golden retriever. The perfect guard dog—I hope.
“This is Buddy. He’s been in the shelter for a while,” Kayla says. “He’s such a sweetheart, but everyone always wants puppies.” Her eyes begin watering at just the mention of his name. “I’ve been trying to find him a forever home for so long. He’s a Forget Me Not pet. People just pass him by and it breaks my heart.” Kayla is getting emotional talking about him and her hand shakes as she opens the gate. Buddy lowers his head as Courtney moves closer to him.
“Come on, Buddy. Come on,” she says calmly and gently pats the ground with the palm of her hand. I smile when his tail wags.
Kayla watches and she’s on edge as Courtney calls Buddy’s name. I lean against the opening of the doorway and can see he’s not moving, so I join Courtney on the ground and match the softness of her tone. “C’mon, Buddy. Who’s a good boy?”
He takes a few slow steps forward, then runs to Courtney and proceeds to vigorously lick her face, not missing a single spot. She falls back on the cement laughing. He’s friendly and sweet and for being a little older, he’s still playful and full of life. Courtney sits up and wraps her arm around his neck and hugs him as he continues his onslaught of doggy kisses.
“See, I told you he’s a big sweetheart,” Kayla says with a wide grin.
“But will he bark and keep the bad people away?” Courtney speaks in an overexaggerated playful tone and I can’t help but laugh. Buddy nudges my arm with his cold, wet nose as Courtney continues to pet him. His tail is wagging back and forth so fast, I’m worried it’ll wag right off.
“Do you want to continue to walk around?”
Courtney doesn’t answer, so Kayla moves to the next step. “So, do you think he’s the one?” Kayla’s eyebrows are lifted with a hopeful smile. I look down at Courtney and she looks at me asking for silent permission.
“Yes,” we both say in unison and she lets out a happy sigh.
“Yay! Oh my God, I’m so excited for you two,” Kayla squeals without taking a breath. “I just need you to fill out some paperwork and pay the adoption fee.” Kayla offers a hand to Courtney but she stays on the ground with Buddy.
“We’ll be back for you, okay?” Courtney tells Buddy. “We’re coming right back. I promise.” She kisses his face.
“See, Buddy?” Kayla bends down and pulls his head into her hands. “I kept my promise when I told you I’d find you a good home.”
We stand and step out of the kennel so Kayla can lock the gate. Buddy’s tail stops wagging and it actually breaks my heart. “We’re coming back, promise. Be a good boy.”
We walk back inside and step into the office. Courtney begins asking Kayla all sorts of questions of the dog’s past like it’s an interrogation or something. I glance over at her with a smirk and she relaxes her shoulders a tad. She’s excited, but I can tell she’s a little nervous, too.
“His owner got sick and put him up for adoption, but he’s been here for a while. He’s sweet, energetic, and playful once you get him out of his shell. Sometimes I look at him and he just looks so sad. I imagine it’s like being picked last for a sports team or not getting a date to the senior dance or something. He’s watched so many other dogs come and go, and he’s just been…forgotten.” She frowns, looking down, careful not to make eye contact because she’s getting emotional.
“That’s so sad,” Courtney says, holding her hand over her heart.
Kayla smiles. “I’m just so happy you guys fell in love with him and are adopting him. This isn’t a no-kill shelter, which is why I bust my ass to find these animals homes. It breaks my heart.”
Courtney grabs my hand and squeezes as Kayla walks around the corner and slides the application over to Courtney to fill out.