Last summer our dog, Bailey died.
Our home was dark. It lost its electricity. The power of unconditional love, gone: no wagging tail, no leaps, no licks. Even the light in Cheryl’s eye dimmed.
Other family crises overshadowed our loss for a year so we couldn’t think of getting another pet. But now we needed renewable energy, a dog.
Our Long Beach condo was pet-friendly when we moved in but became no pets later. Graciously, our board grandfathered us in.
Bailey, our terrier mix, was a rescue weighing only 16lbs. See “A Wagging Tail” below.
This time we wanted an even smaller pooch, for transport ease.
We filed applications at dog rescues. Upon learning we were seniors, one site told Cheryl, “You’re not getting a puppy.” The policy sounded reasonable, the tone didn’t.
Finally, two weeks ago, through Yorkie911rescue, we met potential adoptees at a Pet Smart store in North Babylon. If you’re open to a calling, bringing stray, neglected or abused dogs to meet dog lovers, ain’t a bad choice. The Yorkies, Chihuahuas, and mixes of all kinds, were a corral of romping fur. Kids filled the air with “oohs,” “aahs” and giggles. Adults had no frowns.
I love dogs, always had a dog in my life. But there are some among us who connect with dogs as if of the same soul. They can’t even read about the abuse of animals without themselves feeling abused. Cheryl is one so afflicted…or blessed.
Cheryl sat in the corral with me waiting to connect with a pooch. One, a chihuahua, Rhet Butler, kept coming to her to be pet, she happily obliged.
But we spotted a little black ball of fuzz squishing itself into a corner. The pooch was so dark, its eyes disappeared in shadow.
Upon approach, it ran to the opposite side, trying to burrow through that corner, rump first. We were told the “Shih Tzu Yorkie mix”, about four or five years old, was a breeder rescue. Caged, birthing countless litters, she had no social skills, had never been walked…knew no love.
Cheryl fell in love.
We could take her that day.
We were ready.
She was too.
The Rescue had her examined, spayed and vaccinated, but we were told to take her to our vet for a checkup. We did, and she was fine. Our vet saw the breed, Brussels-griffon in her. Compare this photo of a Brussels/Yorkie, with our adoptee photos. Your thoughts?
Whatever her mix, she was our fix.
On the way home, we attempted her first walk. She didn’t care for it, took a few steps, then stopped.
We considered many names for a black dog, velvet, midnight, among them. We decided on Cheryl’s first suggestion, “Scout.” We both love “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.
Since she was “four or five years old,” we counted six months, April, she’d be five. I looked up Harper Lee’s birthday. It just happened to be…April 28th. So that’s Scout’s birthday.
At our condo apartment, the eight-pound bundle of black fear wedged herself behind the pillow in her pet crate. Attempts to coax her out were futile. But from our hand, she’d take a morsel.
We bought another crate and now had one near our bed, on Cheryl’s side, the other in our living room.
The first night in her bedroom crate she started to bark until Cheryl laid on the floor in front of her. Scout quieted but only stayed quiet if Cheryl stayed on the floor.
Cheryl stayed on the floor.
Night after night.
We finally put a pet carrier atop the bedroom crate; Scout was now on eye level with Cheryl, in bed. We now all sleep soundly, more or less. But at least we all have a bed for the night.
Scout would only exit her daycrate for the trail of food that led to her food and water. Any approach brought a dart to the crate.
We placed a plastic 4’x4′ enclosure in front of her daycrate, a wee-wee-pad patio. She quickly became “patio” trained.
When Cheryl held Scout while watching TV, she began to come back for more. She has soft, fine fur but underneath, she trembled. Her years as a captive “production asset” showed: her muscles were flaccid, she couldn’t jump to the couch.
If I just looked at Scout she’d scurry to the crate, but she grew even closer to Cheryl. Very close. If Cheryl walked to another room, Scout followed. She was like an atom’s electron orbiting its nucleus. And she still had Cheryl at her crate at night.
Was she too attached to Cheryl? Was I jealous? Of Cheryl? Of Scout?
One day, Cheryl
was at the gym,
I was at this blog.
I noticed an inkblot
on the floor
near the door.
She didn’t run.
I picked her up.
I sat on the couch.
She sat in my lap.
She didn’t resist.
We sat for an hour.
If it’s cold enough,
I am a campfire.
Cheryl came in and smiled, “Now this is what I wanted to see!”
Scout now…scouts at will:
We took her for her second “walk”. It’s a walk in progress.
Life is better these days. Even the bad news from the TV has lost its power. After all, a dog is bad-news medicine. They’re the antidope to all the stupidity of the world.
Scout’s still leery of movements, or even a stare. But yesterday, when Cheryl was gone for an hour, Scout waited in front of the door. When the door opened, Scout wagged and circled. She danced a whirling puppy jig.
Cheryl beamed, “I’m loved, I have a puppy.” I could feel her heart smile when she told me, “It was all the Christmas mornings I ever had, at once. I have a dog again.”
Yeah, our power is back!
See A Wagging tail…:http://tinyurl.com/wing-tal