Thinking back, although I do have training in several languages, Doggish wasn't one of them, so I think I may have mistranslated that a bit. It was probably, in actuality, more like, "My treat! My treat! Where's my treat??? I'm STARVING here!" If I preferred to think of it as a greeting to a beloved and well missed friend, however, I share that illusion with dog owners worldwide, so let's agree to say no more about it.
The little black one came over to the gate, while the brown one ran around in circles with happiness.
"Hey, can I just say goodbye to this one," I asked the guy. "I actually was going to adopt her, but that family had already claimed her, and I'd just like to give her a hug."
"Well, we're not really supposed to let you in with the dogs," he said, "but if you make it kind of quick - sure, go ahead."
I stepped into the cage, carefully so as not to let the dogs out, and called my dog -- correction: She Who Was Not to Be My Dog - with a simple, "C'mere puppy!" Both dogs had crowded up to me, the brown one still unable to contain his excitement and periodically running around in circles, but he seemed to step aside for his sister as the black one came to me. I knelt down and took her in my arms, tenderly petting her furry head, and spoke softly to her about her new family, and how good they would be to her. I told her that I loved her, and that she should be a good dog for the nice people, and that I would miss her. Then, I gently gave her a little kiss on the top of her head, and said softly, "Bye bye, my puppy, bye bye."
As I rose to my feet to take my leave, I noticed the other dog, my dog now, sitting close, but not crowding. He seemed to understand that his role was protector of his sister, and so he was willing to step aside and let her take the attention. I honestly don't know how much dogs understand, or how appropriate it is to assign motivations such as "protection" to them, but the more I looked at him with his big, somewhat wistful brown eyes, the more I remembered him seeming like the older brother looking after his little sister.
On campus that day, when they were both cold and shivering, he had stepped back to let his sister jump up on my warm lap. When she had started to stray off, he would herd her back over toward me, or toward the door where they waited for me to come out. In a sense, she was the pampered princess of their little family, the one who got most of the attention. After all, the family had wanted her and not him. I had wanted her and not him. Would anyone be able to see what I had seen of this dog after his sister was taken away?
I stood up, and looked at him for a second, while he regarded me gravely.
"Wanna go home now, buddy?" I asked him.
I think he knew what that meant, because he started running around in circles again. I took the leash and put it on him, and he went right to the door of the cage. He was going home. I tossed another "bye bye, puppy, be a good dog" back at the black one. I would never see her again, but somehow -- somehow that was okay.
I brought my new dog out of the cage where Charlie stood grinning. He patted me on the shoulder, saying, "See? He's a good dog," and we walked out of the kennels after thanking the guy there. Just a bit of paperwork to do, and we were home free.
To be continued...