Life before dogs, was there ever such a thing? Not for us, there wasn’t.
Life before Beauty was good but not as beautiful as it was with her in it. One of the children I day-cared cried to nap with our black shepherd cross with the tan boots. The child’s mom said, let her. So we did. Beauty was just that kind of dog. She knew who the children were and how important they were to all of us and wouldn’t let anyone come near them who was not in the inner circle. We did not train her that way, she simply knew. Beauty was the kind of dog who could get lost in the country and find her way home no matter how far she wandered. She lived to be 16 years old and one of my fondest memories is watching her run the beach for miles, chasing the birds. She taught us about maturity and about appearances not being everything.
Amie was the baby girl no matter her beautiful pure German Shepherd exterior that many mistook for a Police Dog. Blonde and black, she was cute, she was beautiful and she could talk. Our realtor friend bonded with her so that once when my husband made Amie wait to greet her from inside the door, she first looked back at him with a reproachful “Roorow, Roorow, Roorow,” before greeting her loving friend. When Amie was dying of inoperable cancer at the age of 9, I slept on a futon in the family room so I could let her out as she needed to urinate frequently. Often, Amie nuzzled me awake, our faces staring at one another and I would get up, stagger sleep-drunk to the door only to find she didn’t need to relieve herself at all. She wanted to play. That was Amie, keeper of her plastic babies, and often fast asleep with her front paws curled around them or one of our ankles. Amie taught us to be playful even when times are tough.
Shane was fierce. He did not like to be touched in any way at all and would snarl for almost no reason. His life before us gave him plenty of reason. He was so abused, he thought you were going to beat him if you began to sweep the floor or use the blow dryer on your hair. Everything looked like a weapon to him. In time, he came to realize there was no threat from us. And he loved us and all of our people so fastly that his 110 pound might would place itself between you and the perceived threat to the point that my husband once said, he has to go back to the rescue organization. Shane was fierce alright. Fiercely loving. Shane taught us to stand behind those we love, no matter what.
All of our dogs were rescue dogs. But in the end, it was us they rescued. Without their presence in our lives, we would not have known the power of love nor would our memory banks be so rich with bonding and sharing our world with creatures who were of such integrity that many humans I meet are hard pressed to match. Do you have any favorite pet stories? I especially love dogs but would be glad to hear any pet stories you may care to share.