Thursday, January 14, 2010
A new dog in the house by Joyce Lavene
Our dog, Bear, died in 2008. He was a black lab, 15 years old (the oldest black lab our vet had ever seen). It was a terrible death because he suffered in the last few days. Then we had to make the decision to have the vet kill him (why call it putting him down?)I kept hoping he'd die during the last night so I wouldn't have to make that decision.
I held him and sobbed as he died. He'd lived a good life, I assured myself. We'd rescued him from the pound when he was barely a year old. He was my shadow after that, moving from place to place with me in the house or outside. He never deserted me.
The day he died, people started telling me I should get a new dog. I couldn't. The memory of Bear's death was too fresh and painful. I couldn't even think about it.
But last year, a friend of mine who'd lost her dog around the same time got a new dog. I started thinking about how much I missed having a dog around the house. I waited, hoping the right dog would come to me. 2009 passed without that happening.
I needed a smaller dog (Bear was very big)and a dog who'd survive being with my cat, Quincy, who is a handful. Again, I felt like the right dog would come to me. I just had to wait. Since being a published writer means being patient, this was easy.
Then Barbara from the Stanly County Animal Rescue League (SCARL) sent me some information about a dog that was found almost starved to death in a local park during a recent cold snap. She sent me a picture and I asked about him. He had the sweetest face.
Monday morning, as the newspaper was set to run a story about the dog found abandoned in the park, Barbara stopped in with him on her way back from the vet. She told me she'd never done anything like that even after rescuing 44 animals with SCARL. She apologized for pushing him on me and said she just felt like he was right for me.
It turned out that she was right. I took Rudi home that day. He's very thin (you can count every bone in his body) but he's holding his own. He hates to go outside which presents some potty issues but I think we can get over that. He's very laid back (which helps with the cat)and all he wants is some love. I can handle that part.
Of course, a new dog means new issues, especially a puppy. But when he looks up at me and wags his little tail, I know he's worth it. I will always love Bear but there is room in my heart for Rudi too.