Hello Barkners, today is International Dog Day. In my opinion, at least in my house, every day is dog day, and I would have it no other way. For those who don’t have a dog, you don’t know what you are missing! Although I promised an update, I must delay (again). Needless to say, I am fine since I’m writing this, for a detailed account, you’ll have to wait.
I wish I could say I’ve had dogs all my life, but as a kid, I had a cat. He was a lovely grey short hair and as sweet as can be. We had him from the time I was six until the crazy blackout in 2003. When he crawled up into my lap and quietly slipped away. It wasn’t for a few years that I would consider getting another “pet” this time however I wanted a dog. I have always wanted a dog, it just wouldn’t be until my 20’s until I actually got one.
If you know anything about me, I do my homework! I took great pains to just decide what breed I would want. I knew I wanted a dog dog, not a cute toy purse dog. I wasn’t active enough for a working dog, hound dogs could be noisy, although I do have a soft spot for beagles. Sporting dogs I know evoke an allergic response that renders me into a wheezing coughing mess. Herders are gorgeous dogs, but needed a lot and I mean a lot of time and activity to keep them stimulated, and I didn’t have it to give. I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted a terrier. Typically a big dog in a little body and a sassy attitude to boot, I was sold! More specifically, I chose the West Highland White Terrier. I then proceeded to research reputable breeders. I would come to rescue later.
When I finally got the call that there were puppies available, we drove to Scorybrek Kennels and met Terry. She held in her arms two little roly-poly polar bear puppies, brothers. They say a dog chooses it’s people. I can attest that statement is true. I say this because I originaly had my sights on the bigger puppy. He however, wanted nothing to do with me. His brother without hesitation, scooted up and began nipping at my fingers. I looked at him and knew. This was my boy! How could anyone resist that crooked eared little face. I thought because of that fault no one would want him, but I did. We picked him up three weeks later, Seamus Mac Ruff. Yes that was his name. It should have been Hamish to be accurate with his Scottish heritage, but it fit him, so it stayed.
He was a gragarious soul. He saw me through some of the toughest times of my life, a big burden for a little dog, but he never failed. That little white dog brought so much joy to so many. Always cheerful and happy. As he aged, he became a little ornery, but still lovable and friendly. He couldn’t ever have a passer-by not stop and say hello. The whole neighbourhood knew him, young and old alike. Sadly as his health declined, we had to make one of the most difficult and painful decisions. We had to let him go. Deaf and mostly blind, when he couldn’t recognise us, we knew it was time. After almost 14 years together, the loss is profound. I write this through tears, because that hurt is still too fresh.
My emotions are buffered, thankfully because I have my Lacey and Finnegan. Without them, I would be a mess, but they need me. Here’s where rescue comes into play. I had to leave Seamus with my mother after I got married and moved to Patrick’s apartment, he was too old to go up and down 3 flights of stairs and didn’t get along with Patrick’s cats, having tried to eat them twice. So I missed him. In order to get my Westie fix, I would have to visit my dear friend who has two of her own and at the time four others and a foster. It was one fateful visit that I met Lacey. From the first time I laid eyes on her, I knew I loved her. We don’t know what she came from, but from her timidness and fear, we could surmise she was abused and abandoned. I could see that she wanted to greet me, all the others had, but she hesitated. I could see the conflict in her mind. The wanting to move forward but being chained back by fear. So I waited, I let her come to me. By the end of my visit, she let me pat her belly while she slept, I knew she was ours.
We adopted her a week later. She has eaten garbage, a package of raw bacon and three uncooked burgers, and a couch. She shreds paper and tinfoil. Digs up the front garden. She barked and growed at every one that approached me, even Patrick as he came to bed, she was my protector. A roll she must have known well in her former life but un-needed now. It took her a year to trust Patrick, and I mean really trust him. You should see them now, it’s ridiculous how much she loves him. She was a dog you could not scold or hit, any hint of disapproval would evoke fear and a puddle on the floor. In the beginning, she feared everything, except Patrick and me. In the beginning, it was a precarious trust. Some would ask why I took on such a damaged soul. It was because I knew she was an unpolished gem. I knew it the moment I set eyes on her. So we invested, time, love, patience and hope that she would learn to love and trust. After three years the change is amazing, the payoff priceless. She’s a dog. Still a little timid in new environments, but 1000 times better than she was.
A few months later I got a message containing a photo, it was
from my friend. The rescue was getting a Westie mix. He was so dirty and matted, they didn’t know what he was until he was shaved down and bathed. He was found wandering by a river in Ohio. Likely dumped. I could tell he had been someone’s pet, his dew claws had been removed and his recall skills were very good. He was an itchy patchy mess with a chronic ear infections, apparenly not worth someone’s time or effort. At the time he’s ears were so bad, they thought he might be deaf. I didn’t care, neither did Patrick. We knew as soon as we saw his picture, it was a done deal. We picked him up from transport, and it was love. On his intake sheet, it said his name was Fabio, and that he was a snuggler. They were right about one thing, and it wasn’t his name. That changed immediately, but the snuggling, is heaven. He came to us so skinny I could feel every rib bone, his coat was thin and his feet bald from chewing, he scratched and itched, but he was so sweet. He fattened up right away and we got his ear infections under control, but the itching was a mystery. It’s all he did, bite and scratch for months, until we tried medication. Within hours, he was a different dog and no more itching. His personality masked by allergies now shone and he is quite the clown.
I can’t fathom ever throwing these guys or any animal away! The way these two love, unconditionally and without reserve, should serve as a lesson to us all. They are my therapists and comedians, my surrogate children (I know it’s not the same), and my joy. It doesn’t matter how crappy I feel, they cheer me up. I can’t imagine my life without them. So on this International Dog Day, I leave you with the lessons I have learned from my dogs.
- Love without hesitation.
- Love fully and completely.
- Love unconditionally.
- Live in the moment.
- Take in every whiff of life.
- If it isn’t working, piss on it and move on.
- Every bad day can be turned around with a kiss.
- Never judge a book by it’s cover.
- Every now and then, it’s good to wiggle your butt.
- Taking a walk is good for the soul.
- Naps are underrated.
Disarmingly goofy Optimistically joyous Gregarious and loving Sympathetic and wonderful
P.S. Adopt don’t shop. There are so many dogs who need a loving home. http://savemedogrescue.ca is a very good place to find one (or two).