I loved your dog today. The dog you abandoned at the shelter because he was too old. The dog you didn’t have time for anymore. The dog who needed you when he got sick. The dog you walked away from.
Your dog is 18 years old. He is blind. He has a mass on his lungs that makes breathing difficult.
I choose to believe that the decision wasn’t easy. That you felt you had no options. That you felt hopeless. That you hoped someone like me would step up for an 18-year-old dog that was surrendered to an animal shelter.
Today, I celebrate a shelter that recognizes that all lives matter. I celebrate a partnership between rescue and shelters that seek to find support for dogs that are not young and highly adoptable. I celebrate a rescue like Carolina Poodle Rescue with a dedicated sanctuary program that says yes to senior dogs. I celebrate organizations like The Grey Muzzle that support rescues in their efforts to save senior dogs.
Today, I loved MY dog. You should have seen his smile as he realized he was home. He trotted in the grass in the yard, enjoying the sunshine and freedom of wide open space. He sat on the couch with me. Though his eyes don’t work as well anymore, he responds to his name and greets me with the biggest tail wags.
Don’t let it be said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – my 18-year-old dog figured out life in his new home very quickly. Within 2 days he knew the food and bathroom routine. He rests happily on the couch when we relax. He sleeps in the bed at night. As he nestled against my body and gently licked my cheek, I knew he knew he was home.
I’ve had 30 days with my dog. 30 days with the kindest, gentlest soul you will meet. 30 days of unconditional love from an animal who forgives quickly and adores wholeheartedly. I’ve enjoyed precious snuggles, laughed and smiled happily at new discoveries, and shed tears for what he lost and what I found.
Today, I am letting my dog go. The cancer has taken over and his kidneys are shutting down. As I sat quietly with tears streaming down my face this morning, he was comforting me.
You see, he is MY dog. He will cross the Rainbow Bridge hearing my voice and feeling my love. He will be greeted by my dogs that have gone before him. And one day he will welcome me with his beautiful brown eyes and happy wagging tail and we will be together forever.
Though my heart is heavy, my life is better for the past 30 days. I am thankful for the gift.
In loving memory of JJ (01/06/2020)