Sunday morning bliss.
She puckers up for a kiss.
Spring blooms bright with love.
Winter was particularly ruff for my little handsome man, Rex.
Life in the snow belt is often a cruel and slippery slope.
And this year even more so for a 7 pound pup who hails from Alabama.
Rex is typically a trooper, but the towering ice coated snow drifts were already wearing him down by the time a mid April blizzard hit.
My boy grew anxious, chewing on his dog tags in frustration.
But Rex is doing better now.
He has returned to his cozy loveseat on the sun porch where he naps to the cardinals’ spring serenade each day after breakfast.
Though I do catch an open eye on occasion. Rex remains very focused on the one remaining snowdrift next to our shady garage.
My little watch dog wants to make sure it continues to melt.
For that matter, so do I.
My little friend and I were both up early to celebrate the first day of spring.
Sure, I understand the calendars say it arrived a month ago.
But the residents of Minnesota must have missed the memo.
Up here in the ‘bold north’ we’ve been breaking the kind of records that no one ever wants to break.
For example, surviving the coldest April in recorded history.
And also what definitely seemed like the longest winter of my life.
After last weekend’s blizzard our moods had gone south and were almost as heavy as the snow.
Still by midweek on a walk I’d discovered one beacon of hope atop a light post overlooking a soccer field.
It was a bold and beautiful bald eagle sitting on her favorite nest.
Apparently she’d just returned to the state as she knew spring was finally about to arrive.
I knew it as well today as the sun melted the last of the snow while I walked for hours out in the country.
I guess good things really do come to those who wait.
And I’m not going to miss one single thing.
I’d stopped early at the animal shelter one day last fall just as the doors opened.
My beloved 14 year corgi Maddie had passed away just a month before.
I had viewed a couple of dogs on the shelter’s website that I just wanted to meet.
At least that’s what I told myself anyway.
But I knew deep inside that if one of the canines tugged enough at my heart strings, that dog could be going home with me.
My rational side had reasoned that at some point I might take on another small senior dog. Or perhaps one with special needs.
The first pup I wanted to met that September day came with a sweet little expression. She was a little toy poodle, about eight years old.
She was also blind.
I was the first shelter visitor to approach the service desk. I told the staffer that I wanted to meet this very special girl.
I heard a soft sigh.
It was coming from someone behind me.
I turned to see a blonde 30 something woman in glasses that were fogging up.
She seemed to be crying.
The woman also wanted to meet the same little white poodle.
Her tears were gentle, but they unnerved me some.
The shelter staffer told the woman behind me since I’d arrived right before her, I would be meeting the poodle first and have the first chance at the little dog’s adoption.
The woman nodded.
She fully understood, but her eyes were still moist.
I had to do something.
I turned back to the staffer at the desk and said, “I would really like it if the woman behind me gets the chance to meet the poodle first. Then if she doesn’t take her home, I still want to meet her.”
The staffer agreed and the woman smiled.
I just didn’t want to get in the way of the perfect love match.
Helping love matches was one of my favorite duties when I used to foster a few years back.
I then moved on down the hall to find the other little dog I wanted to meet, but first stopped at the cage of one pup I hadn’t noticed on the site.
There was something about the dog that caught my eye.
The fellow was actually fairly big and tall. Maybe 30-40 pounds. “Possibly part pug mixed with who knows what?” I muttered.
This ten year old was lacking classic good looks, but there was something mighty handsome about his smile.
And his personality.
We hung out for a while together in a small visiting room.
He’d been in the shelter for a while.
But I couldn’t understand why.
He was kind, loving, smart, and fully trained.
The boy was also very flexible.
If you wanted him to be a lap dog, he was more than willing.
And when you wanted him to play ball, he was like an All-Star.
I knew I was starting to fall in love with him, so I thought I better move on.
I knew a larger dog wasn’t the best choice for my current living situation.
But I immediately stopped a volunteer nearby and shared the amazing things I had learned about this amazing pug mix.
She told me she would update his posting with my discoveries.
I didn’t have to go far to find the other dog I had planned to meet that day.
She turned out to be a neighbor of the pug mix.
This five pound black chihuahua pup was nine months old and a bit overwhelmed by the bigger dogs around her. Her name was Tinkerbell.
She’d moved from California where there’s still an overpopulation of chihuahuas in shelters. As many as 50 percent of the shelter dogs there are chis, according to some estimates.
Tinkerbell trotted over to the cage door to greet me and lick my hand.
We went to a visiting room also to play where she immediately climbed right up on my lap and gave me a kiss.
And then another.
Although Tinkerbell was far younger than I was looking for, I knew we’d made a love match.
I put her on an overnight hold so I could prepare my home for her arrival.
As I walked back to the main desk to complete the hold paperwork, I saw the blonde woman again as well as the little blind poodle as they prepared to leave the shelter together.
I was in tears this time as I congratulated her on her adoption.
I was so happy for them both.
The woman was smiling and even the poodle looked to be smiling.
They were another perfect love match, I thought.
That night I was excited as I found the perfect cozy bed for Tinkerbell, yet I couldn’t stop thinking about the pug mix with the handsome smile who’d been in the shelter too long.
Could I give this deserving dog a home too? I wondered.
But I knew that I couldn’t.
It turns out I needn’t have worried.
When I went back to the shelter the next morning to pick up Tinkerbell, I noticed the pug mix was gone.
Someone had read my updated comments about him and adopted him right after I’d left.
I smiled at the thought of yet another love match made that day.
Looking at the sun as Tinkerbell and I walked towards the door, I thought I saw a hint of fairy dust as turned to wave good bye.
After all, magic really does happen sometimes.
Especially in animal shelters.