Blessings in an Older Fur Coat
Three years ago I was hopping around Facebook and spotted a photo posted on a lifelong friend’s page. She commented that she had just gone to the pet rescue center and played with a precious little dog and that ”someone seriously needs to go get this little guy. He’s adorable.” She said that she would have taken him in herself, but he was so small, he’d be “hawk bait” out in the country where she lives.
I took one look at this little dog and immediately clicked through the link she’d provided. We were not in the market for a new dog. Not one word had been spoken between my husband and I regarding wanting to add anything or anyone new to our recently renovated home. I wasn’t sitting there gushing over how adorable this dog was. I just knew he was already mine. Within 5 minutes I’d filled out the application, texted with the director of the rescue place, and committed to picking up the dog sight unseen. Then this conversation happened:
Charlie: “Yes, baby.”
Me: “We’re adopting another dog.”
Charlie: “No, we are not. We don’t want or need another dog. Maybe later, when Chinah has passed, but not right now. Nooooooo.”
Me: “Look at this photo.”
Charlie: “Fine. When do we pick him up?”
Two days later, 5.6 lb., 10-year-old Sammy was in our home, and we’ve been living, loving, and laughing together ever since. Because he was surrendered at a senior age, we have never left him for more than a few hours. If we have to go out of town, he goes with us or we all stay home. That’s our forever rule. He’s the brightest, funniest, most playful dog we’ve ever had. My husband Charlie says, “His presence in our life is an enormous daily blessing. When we aren’t feeling happy or like we want to be active, he is there to remind us to get up and move. His superpower is his charm. He definitely knows when to turn on the cuteness.”
For many people, taking in a furry friend (or two or more) just as we did, seems to come naturally, and one person after the other relates a story with the common thread of unconditional love, intuitiveness, and acceptance.
For many years, Diane Mullins has had lots of older pets of many varieties. Many have passed on, but today her potbellied pig, Miss Piggy, and Duke, her 12-year-old deer head chihuahua, are alive and thriving under her care.
“Duke’s first owner died of cancer, so he went to live with her niece. Then she went through a divorce and couldn’t keep him, so he came to live with me,” Diane says. “I’ve had him for about six years now. He isn’t really a funny guy. He is pretty serious. I think his super power is definitely his intuitiveness. Most times he knows when I’m upset before I know it. All he wants is to show me unconditional love.”
One time Duke followed Miss Piggy out of Diane’s fenced back yard. “Pigs root, and she had gotten the bottom of the fence up so she could go exploring and Duke followed. He got out by the highway and was hit by a car. I searched for three days trying to find him.” Even though he was severely injured, he managed to drag himself back to the yard, up the steps, and back through the doggie door to his bed. “His injuries were so severe,” Diane says, “he lost one eye and had to be hospitalized for three days. I totally believe his intuitiveness, his love for me, and my constantly calling for him, gave him the strength to come back to me. Now we are together until death do us part.”
When Denise Zeydel and her husband John were married, they each had cats. ”After they had all passed, we said there would be no more because it was just too hard to lose them,” Denise says. “Well, we went out to dinner one night and I wanted to go into the pet store next door. There was a crazy calico cat in there that reached out and grabbed my handbag strap. They say that they pick you, and she did. I kept thinking about her and finally went in to adopt her. Next to her cage was a tuxedo cat that was blind in one eye and kind of mean, so I had to take her as well. So we had two. From there, we kept rescuing or being ‘adopted’ by other cats until we had a total of eight. I believe cats bring peace to the people they choose to love.”
Sixteen years ago, Diane Wilson had been talking about getting a puppy for a long time. “One day my friend Dru and I had picked up her son from school, and when she took a different way home, I asked her where we were going,” Diane says. “Without hesitation she announced we were on the way to the Humane Society to get my puppy. I guess she was tired of me talking about it.
“Lucille was the first dog I saw when I walked in. She jumped right into my arms the moment I met her and I was like, ‘This is the one.’ Dru forced me to look at all of the animals before making my decision. I did, but in my heart I already knew Lucille was going home with me. That first night I tried to put her in a crate by my bed, but the minute she whimpered, it was over. She’s slept with me every night since then.
“Her super power has always been acceptance,” Diane continues. “Whatever has occurred in my life, she has always gone right along with me. We’ve had a strong connection from that first moment we met. Every morning when I wake up, she sits with me while I do my meditation. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, she seems to know it’s important, so she waits. Then we begin our day together.
“Every single day she takes me on a walk, and in the spring she’s especially interested in making sure the newly born baby bunnies in the yard are safe. More than once, she’s taken it upon herself to bring a nest of them inside where she can watch over them until the mama bunny is back. In all the years we’ve been together, she’s never quit this ritual, and the mama bunnies have always welcomed the babies back in the nest. This girl is the most caring being I’ve ever encountered,” Diane says.
“We patronize the animals for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they are more finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other Nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” ― Henry Beston
P.S. This photo will melt your heart.