Face it. We all love a story of a good rescue. Little girls love the idea of being swept off their feet by Prince Charming. Boys want to BE the one to vanquish the dragon. Am I right?
Soon after my bride and I were married, we rescued. A dog. Specifically, a mutt from the shelter. $15 after our “alteration” deposit was reimbursed, and he was ours. Our first of a series of rescues. This little guy looked like, well, a mess. And he sounded it, too. Before we started the journey of adopting a rescue dog, we learned that our landlord supported it – even waiving the pet deposit normally expected for one of his tenants. Score!
What we didn’t expect was for this little guy to bark. A lot. One day, our doorman, Wilbur, informed me when I returned from work that he had been barking most of the day. We were crate training him, too, rather than letting him pounce around the modest one bedroom we leased.
The following day, upon returning home, Wilbur again notified me of the noise. When I headed up to our apartment on the second floor, Mary, the elderly lady across the hall informed me that, even when she would say, “It’s okay, little dog,” he would continue to bark. It seems that Mary’s visits and knocks on the door, kind as she was, were not conducive to keeping a puppy quiet for 8 hours.
Thus began our series of rescues.
It was four years later that, one night, I noticed something wrong. Dog owners will know that dogs generally lie with their heads toward any potential incursion into their space. But, our guy was facing the wall in our bedroom, his haunches toward the door. He would not get up. Something was wrong. I called the vet on call as it was 7pm. “Cockapoo? I bet I know what it is. He needs to come in.”
He died less than 3 hours later. There was nothing the veterinarian could do. That was our first rescue. There would be another.
Less than 2 months later, we were ready to rescue again. We had two Princesses (ages 23 months and 1 month) and the older wasn’t quite old enough to notice her buddy gone. But we were ready. Through the internet, we found an organization that would help get our new little boy home from El Paso to Austin. That’s over 8 hours by car, according to Google Maps.
We picked him up and the girls loved on him, as did my bride and I, until 2006 – we were not having great luck with rescues at all, at least in terms of their longevity. This one? Epilepsy. Finally, a series of seizures (at least 12) over a 24-hour period did him in. My bride was the one who had to say goodbye to this one. It was really hard.
There are pet people and there are non-pet people. Non-pet people just don’t understand the hurt that goes with losing one of these special animals. It’s not their fault. Just like some people don’t understand my interest in counseling. Or I their interest in hockey or basketball. (BTW, I live near Syracuse and if I mention to someone here that I don’t like basketball, that’s like telling someone in Texas that I can’t stand beef – only that would be a lie!)
We tested out a Lhasa Apso for a few days until he bit one of the kids and he went back to rescueland. Short and sweet. And the guy didn’t even go up and down stairs. Had to carry him. Split-level. Really!?!?!?
That brings us to Buddy. Yep, that’s his name. Had him since 2008 or so. He is now probably completely blind – so much so that we have to walk out into the snow to find him in the yard. And we have mesh/fencing around the base of the deck to keep him from getting lost under there. And he’s got major anxiety issues – no joke. Probably from an abusive history at the puppy mill.
The literature is not very promising for mill dogs, but he’s adapted well. They said he’d never let us touch him or pet him and he’d not get up on our laps. None of that is true for this little guy. He’s all over it. Especially if there’s a warm laptop fan to blow on his head.
He knows he’s loved. They all did. Because they all were.
You ever have a favorite pet either growing up, or now? Someone who followed you around every day, even getting under your feet at times? Consider, for a moment, just how much that pet relied on your provision day in and day out and how thankful he or she was. Yeah. That.