August 20, 2008 I woke up early and flew down to Alabama. Later that afternoon, I was sitting in the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport with an empty dog carrier, a collar, leash and a puppy contract. Less than two minutes had passed before a woman with short blonde hair walked into the airport lobby with a 12 week old ball of fluff stuffed securely under her right arm. He was coming home with me.
The flight home didn’t leave for another hour, so the breeder stayed with us while I got acquainted with this nameless fluff. Not too far outside of the airport was a large grassy area that we took the white dog to do his business and play a bit before getting stuck on an airplane for a few hours.
He didn’t do any of those things though. Instead, he barked.
He barked at pedestrians, and he barked at litter, and he barked some things just because he felt like it. No attempts to distract him were successful. I was beginning to wonder what I was getting into bringing home this particular dog. He barked until a group of guys came out of the parking garage, passing the grassy area on the way to the airport. The little dog was infatuated with them, sat and stared until they were no longer in sight. Glad SOMETHING got his attention!
The breeder said her goodbyes to the little dog and we made our way back into the airport and through security. This was the when he had to finally go into the carrier that I brought for him. He wasn’t happy about it at all. He barked some more, he dug, he chewed, he scratched, and tugged at the carrier. He was the noisiest three pound puppy I had ever heard.
The carrier hung over my shoulder as I tried to ignore the noise as best I could. I hoped people wouldn’t notice that it was MY puppy making all the noise. He continued to dig and tug and chew despite the same group of guys he saw earlier standing near by. He didn’t notice they were there, or didn’t care any more because he continued to bark and carry on inside the carrier.
Those sharp puppy teeth can really do some damage on a soft sided carrier. Before I knew it, the little dog had made a sizable hole in the back end of the carrier. Big enough for a three pound ball of fluff to fit through, to be exact.
He decided to take part in the oh-so-self-rewarding task of acquiring freedom. He squeezed out of the hole and leapt towards the ground. That is quite the fall! Luckily, one of the guys from the parking garage was watching the whole thing and before I even noticed he had escaped…. the guy reached out and snatched the puppy out of the air. He neatly tucked the puppy under his right arm until he stopped wiggling and took a big sigh of relief.
I don’t think the parking lot guy realized what he had just done. I couldn’t help but think of the broken legs the puppy would have had if he made it all the way to the floor. I also couldn’t help but notice the duffel bags, he and the rest of the guys were carrying. They had “Birmingham Rugby Team” embroidered on the side in bright green letters, with white trim. I thanked him profusely and watched the poorly contained puppy with both eyes the entire flight home. It wasn’t until we had made it back to Maryland and I was sharing our story with the family that we decided to name the trouble maker dog “Rugby.”
I think thats what happened. Or maybe one of our friends saw the name in a dog magazine and suggested it to us. Hmmm….. I can’t remember.
PS- Rugby did NOT chew through his carrier (not for lack of trying) and did NOT jump to the ground. There was also NOT a rugby team at the airport when I picked him up. The Alabama bit and the barking his head off bit are both true.