The Surprise, opened

So I return from work to find an odd sight, particularly in a house clean and tidy, a large white dinner plate streaked with tomato sauce on the floor mat before the kitchen sink.

From the hallway I hear a voice approaching, my roommate D's., instructing "don't be scared."

Someone enters the room. I look down.

Introducing Not Cindy.

She is the new member of the house, brought home by roommate C. She was one of several dogs an old lady — all indications point to a puppy-farm breeder — was giving away, after having sold her 11 puppies ($300 each).

The old lady simply didn't want or want to care for Cindy, who was kept in an outdoors pen, any longer. It was evident in her condition: extremely thin, lethargic, sad and terribly bony, ribs visible, hip bones jutting out. Roommate C. said when she saw her in her pen and the poor conditions, she just couldn't leave her.

When I met Cindy, she was about one of the saddest dogs I've ever seen. She didn't behave if she'd been hit, "only" terribly neglected, which is a form of abuse. I knelt to the kitchen floor to greet and welcome her. At age 2, she seemed 5. Her energy was pallid, her demeanor tired, a weary mama dog emptied from the birthing and nursing and neglect and in serious need of food and TLC.

She sought only to rest; within 10 minutes after meeting, she was sound asleep on the cool linoleum. D. said she'd been dozing since she arrived.

Supplying her with the provisions of food, water, leash, a shower (!) (she did remarkably well), treats and a warm bed, C. and D. set out to making Cindy feel comfortable, safe, cared for and at home. Already she's sleeping in the lap of luxury, on their bed.

We all agreed that Cindy doesn't suit her at all, so until she has a new name, she's Not Cindy, Lady, Lady-in-Waiting (as in waiting for her new name), Pretty Girl and Pretty Baby, depending on with which of the roommates you're talking. Lucy really suits her. Or Molly. Alas, since there are already dogs with those names in the roommate's family, evidently those are out.

She's made remarkable progress in the past few days.

Her energy is back up, she is eating well and is about the sweetest dog there could be. Very gentle, ladylike, quiet and mild-mannered. She's a papered miniature Australian shepherd who it is hoped and prayed has her forever home.

Welcome to the house and to my blog. Everyone here has been waiting to meet you!

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