Look who came to call last night. After we completed the Home Check paperwork and my formal application to adopt her, the foster carer and I took this lovely girl for a long walk through Jesmond Dene.
Tosca remained at home. She had done as much walking today as was advisable for her little legs and damaged ligament, so we took the new dog out of the van without Tosca spotting us, and sneaked round the corner to get to the park. I forgot my camera.
We played on the hill, threw a ball, galloped in all directions, new dog filled with the energy and exuberance that comes with youth but is likely to last for years. I was reminded painfully of several things: my feeble ball-throwing technique (note to self: get one of those ball-chucker things!), my easily-pulled back, and my age - by the time this dog is an old lady, I will be too, or nearly. A sobering thought.
She comes back when called, but that's all she does to order. Her leash discipline is non-existent - this is the bit that had worried me, and I was right to worry, as she pulls like a train. My neck and back were painful afterwards with the effort of controlling her. Walking on a leash is our first area of formal training, and we will experiment with types that will reduce her fancy that she is pulling 16 railway carriages behind her.
But the leash was only needed on the street, and once in the Dene, we had a lovely, lively, joyful walk. Runners gearing up for Sunday's Great North Run were ignored, to our relief.
When we and one wet dog came home, the team came to have another look.
New dog sat damply next to Tosca's kitchen basket and photos were taken. You may supply your own captions....
And then she went away, till next time. Before then, I must decide on a name for her (no, please don't help me here - I struggle to choose from two, let alone dozens!), shop for a bed, some toys, food and a great deal more, and prepare myself for the great adventure ahead.
Well, for some of us, at any rate.