Those of you who’ve read my earlier posts here will know that I lost my dog, Lacy, in March of this year. Lacy was more than just a dog. I know, I know, most dog owners say that. Lacy, who came into my life just about two and a half years ago, was an angel in a fur suit. She was my beloved companion, and being near her helped me write. Nothing has been the same, since she lost her battle with cancer.
I knew right away, there could be no replacing her. I also knew I couldn’t live without a dog. Let me rephrase that. Of course, I could exist without one, but I wouldn’t be very happy. Anyone who’s loved a dog knows about the black hole that opens up in the heart, when the ultimate separation occurs. So I began the process of looking for another rescue, because I believe in rescue.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that, due to a rush of adoptions during the pandemic, dogs had become a rare commodity. An appointment was required to visit the SPCA. Rescues in my area had waiting lists. Every time I considered a dog, it instantly disappeared from the rescue site, adopted by someone else. I got pre-approved by a rescue that brings dogs to my area from down south where there’s an overabundance of them in shelters, the practice of spay/neuter not being quite so rigorous there. I even got on a list for a particular dog—yes, the dogs have lists and are offered for meet & greets in the order those wishing to adopt apply. But the rescue never contacted me about him. My despair grew.
When the rescue offered foster-to-adopt opportunities for dogs coming in on a transport from Texas, I jumped at it. The little girl I signed up to foster was supposed to be a year and a half old, and full-grown at 45 pounds. When she arrived, at 10:30 one Saturday night, she proved to be a ten-month-old, 45-pound, untrained puppy and far more than I could handle. She got adopted out to a wonderful family, and is now doing very well.
Flash forward to the little boy dog on whose list I originally put my name. Finally offered a chance to foster him, I took him into my home.
A small yellow dog of indistinct origins, he’d been on the run in Tennessee for quite some time. The local human society there picked him up after he’d been hit by a car, and removed more than 50 ticks from his skinny, little body. The rescue here in my state was very careful about adopting him out because he’s terrified of everything. Sudden noises. Cars that go by our property (understandably). The neighbor’s dog. The other neighbor’s cat. Me, if I move too quickly or close a door too sharply. He’s even afraid of turning his back on a room, to drink from his water dish.
After fostering him a week, I decided to adopt him. I have few illusions—it’s going to be difficult to win his trust. In the week or so he’s been with me, he’s let me pet him only a few times. That’s the closest we’ve got to cuddling up. I need a dog in order to be happy, but that’s not why I’ve adopted him. I want to banish the look I see in his eyes, the one that says he’s so wary, so damaged and hurt, he can barely stand the touch of an affectionate hand. I’m adopting him not so much because I need him, but because he needs me.
A small, nondescript yellow dog. I’m not sure whether or not he’s another angel in a fur suit. He may well be. But I’m more than certain, an angel in a fur suit sent him to me.