Snow and ice aren’t very nice,
once thoughts have moved to spring.
Still sleeping in can be a win,
such warmth those blankets bring.
I celebrate all rescue dogs.
And my sweet puppy mill mother.
Who often cared for litters that came.
One right after the other.
But now, retired, she cares for me.
With love still in her eyes.
Today, crawling to kiss my hand.
I thanked her for my surprise.
I learn from her most every day.
As did those pups she taught.
That simple gifts still are the best,
And can’t be easily bought.
I’m grinning now as I gaze at her, and see that winning smile.
Most everyday’s a special treat, I’m so blessed to have her for a while.
If my dog Tucker could talk, I wonder what he’d say.
He owns tons of tales of his life on the road before coming home with me seven years ago.
Tuck was found as one stressed out two year old stray in rural Missouri, pounding the pavement on country roads.
He’d been on his own for sometime I was told back then by the rescue group. My vet confirmed the same later as he pointed to the worn out pads on those little feet.
Parts of the midwest had puppy mills failing particularly fast in those recession years.
“Tuck might have been kicked out of his puppy mill,” one rescue worker had told me.
It was a common scenario for males who weren’t fulfilling their quotas of ‘contributions’ for their lady companions.
At the time I wasn’t looking for a terrier, but was fostering small dogs until my husband’s worsening dementia made him as much of a flight risk as the pups I’d have in my care.
Though I soon became a failed foster after taking Tuck home once the transport arrived up north.
Within five minutes of sniffing out my house, the little guy claimed my lap and the foot of his bed as his own wearing a grin I’d never seen before in a canine.
Tuck is still territorial today, even more so than some terriers.
I think he figures he’s earned the right after his rough early years.
He loves to act the part of the tough guy, showing off his bravado in his watchdog role.
Yet the truth is he’s actually more fearful than fearless.
A cold stare from a donkey once sent him racing for the hills at Olympic speed while visiting a farm.
And he’s terrified of my Subaru, car sickness still his constant companion so many years later.
My ‘tough guy’ Tuck hid shaking this morning before being crated, just like every morning.
I feared he was worrying again that one day I won’t come back.
And worrying he’d be alone again on a dusty road with no companion.
Giving him his peanut butter filled Kong I asked, “Tuck, have I ever let you down?”
He slowly took the Kong from my left hand.
Then he looked back up at me and licked my right hand gently for a while.
I believe I have my answer.
Even if it was unspoken.
I often wonder what my dogs are thinking.
Particularly with my newest dog Rex who joined us last month.
Yesterday Rex jumped up on the bed right next to my purchases from the second hand store, all neatly bundled in a recycled bag.
“Hey, Rex. Did you ever believe you’d move up north and have a second chance with a family?”
Rex quickly cocked his head to the left, deep in thought.
“And do you believe you’ll be an awesome therapy dog?”
Rex cocked his head to the right, still thinking.
“And can you believe, Rex, at some point your brother Tucker will finally stop teasing you?”
Rex looked concerned for a moment, then I believe I saw him nod.
“Finally Rex, what made you believe your second hand mom would ever let you sleep on the bed?”
With that question, guilt settled in.
And Rex’s imagination ran out.
My handsome man then jumped off the bed and trotted down to his kennel to sleep and dream up more magic.
My first connection with handsome man Rex last month was somthing akin to speed dating.
I’d entered a room ripe in potential for love connections immediately upon arrival at the shelter.
“Hey there handsome guy,” I announced while approaching Rex’s pen, sandwiched tight between some boisterous hound dog brothers.
Only Rex turned around, cocking his elfin head, and thrusting his little chest forward.
We made immediate eye contact, then he ran over to greet me extending a tiny paw through the fencing in the gate.
Labeled extremely shy when he’d first arrived, this handsome man had made a miraculous recovery.
I hailed a kindly volunteer over to escort Rex and I to a ‘meet and greet’ room where we soon were sharing savory snacks and sparkling water.
I told him I really wasn’t looking for a year old pup, “being an aging woman and all, but I just wanted to meet you”.
He looked disappointed.
“You see Rex, I’m not one of those cougar women you hear about.”
He then gazed back up at me, seeming to understand, yet still determined to charm.
And boy, did he ever.
Rex was soon showing off his talents with the commands he’d already learned such as “sit”, “stay”, and “no”.
Rex also proudly displayed finesse at walking on a leash, an important gift to this graying woman before him for trips into the city.
I slid down onto the tile floor, where Rex immediately climbed onto my lap.
I told him tales of my sweet senior corgi, Maddie and her spunky senior Yorkie brother.
“That Tucker’s still got plenty of attitude”.
Rex looked up at me with his tiny brown eyes, amused.
Maybe that look of amusement, those brown eyes, and that blithe spirit is what finally captured my heart.
And my soul.
Especially when Rex kept sweetly licking my hand as I shared stories of the two senior dogs I lost last year.
“I’m guess I’m trading in loss for life,” I told him.
I shared part of our story with the shelter where I adopted Rex. https://quiltofmissingmemories.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/love-connectionlife-connection/
It’s since appeared on their Facebook page.
One popular comment was posted there afterwards asking, “Who rescued who?”
I know for sure I didn’t rescue Rex.
Nor did Rex rescue me.
I just fell in love that day with a little young man.
And I’m hoping he’s fallen in love with little old me.