For whatever reason, I am drawn magnetically to people who have had a rough go of it, and who have come out the other side. Some people coast through life, while others of us have traveled a bit more of a rocky road. The same is true for animals. Growing up, we rescued a golden retriever who was severely abused. It took Sadie years to trust, but when she did, it was that much more rewarding. In many ways, the love she gave was more unconditional and genuine than any other dog I have ever known, even Zoe.
When we lost Zoe six months ago, I wasn’t sure that we would ever find another dog that fit our family as well as she did. She was great with the kids and the cats, and she was an absolute love. Still, she hadn’t come from a bad life. Though she was a rescue, her family gave her up because she had outgrown the apartment they lived in. They gave her up for a better life, and we gave that life to her for ten years.
There was no question that we would rescue a dog if we were to get another one. So, when Anna told me that she was ready to start looking, I eagerly began looking for lab or golden to fill the void left by Zoe’s passing. When I read the profile for “Smokey,” I knew he was the one. Though he was only 18 months old, he had spent most of his life on a 2-foot-long chain, being fed every other day. Though he was still a puppy, he already had gray on his chin, a sign of his tough life.
The amazing people at WAGS rescued him, treated him for heartworms, and saved his life. When I spoke with Kathy, the head of WAGS, I knew immediately that he was the right fit for our family. It wasn’t until I met him, though, that I realized that I needed him as much as he needed me. My life has changed inexorably in the past five years, but I have a long way to go yet. Now, I have someone to share that journey with, to heal with, and to thrive with.
By 3:30 this morning, Deacon and I had already walked 2 ½ miles. It was dark, frigid (by Florida standards), and nothing could have compelled me to put on my sneakers and go for a walk. When I got up from bed, I heard his tail thumping in the crate, and my mind was already made up. For him, I would brave the 37 degree morning.
People (and dogs) come into your life for reason. Some challenge you, while others enrich you. I’ll always have a fondness for Zoe. She was our baby before our real babies came. She loved unconditionally, and was the sweetest dog that we could’ve asked for. Like Sadie, however, Deacon is damaged goods. Perhaps that is why, in the three days he has been in my life, I have grown so very fond of him as quickly as I have. We’re cut from the same cloth, and I think he knows that he needs me as much as I need him.
If you’re looking for a pet, please rescue.
I cannot recommend the WAGS organization enough. Go to https://wags-rescue.org/ to see their available animals.