Four legged friends and fairy dust

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.

And beautiful.

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.

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What goes around comes around

“You’ve got a job to do,” I told Tinkerbelle this morning.

Though I knew she probably didn’t understand.

I’m pretty sure dressing up in a Mrs. Santa Claus costume wasn’t exactly something Tink had signed up for.

“But Tinkerbelle, spreading holiday cheer this December is even more important than usual.” I added.

“After all, the news lately hasn’t been exactly sweetness and light so I was thinking you could help out a little. You know, maybe spread some of that fairy dust around.”

She finally seemed to acquiesce.

So I quickly slid the little red dress over Tink’s head as she excitedly tried to chew off the $1.00 thrift store price tag.

And she appeared even more excited once she eyed the original $20.00 tag directly underneath.

I’m pretty sure it was my imagination again.

Still, I told Tink we’d be donating the difference to the food shelf which is one of the many causes the thrift shop supports next door.

She then looked up at me for a while and slowly licked my hand.

In turn, I rewarded Tink with a treat which she immediately carried over to her chi-brother Rex’s food bowl.

I watched her drop it in.

It seems that Tink maybe one very sweet, and smart little cookie after all.

My Little Pumpkin Eater

Since it’s Halloween this week I thought little Miss Tinkerbelle would want to dress up.

After all, she missed last year’s party as she hadn’t even been born yet.

I’d picked up a gently used purple and green tutu that matched her collar perfectly at the shelter where I’d adopted her a few months back.

But as soon as I grabbed the tutu to place it around Tinkerbelle’s little belly, Tinkerbelle started screaming in terror.

I tried to be gentle, but sequins were flying faster than fairy dust as she leapt up into thin air.

I quickly ran into the kitchen to grab her a little treat to calm her back down.

But when I returned Tinkerbelle was already busy again on the loveseat showing me her newest trick.

It appeared to be some fancy form of pumpkin wrestling.

And she’d already chewed off part of the stem.

With some effort, I retrieved the poor, now pock faced Jack-O-Lantern.

Not feeling particularly festive I then told my pup, “You’re no Tinkerbelle!”

“In fact, you’re a nut.”

I smiled as I remembered my girl came to the midwest from Fresno, CA, where
one of the country’s most beloved nut varieties are grown.

“Hey Tink, I’m thinking I should re-name you Pistachio.”

I detected a tiny growl.

Maybe I’ll try a little turkey costume instead for Thanksgiving next month.

But if I do, we’ll definitely be skipping the homemade pumpkin pie.

Fairy dust in fall

Many here would say it was a magical morning.

And all rose early to take advantage of this beautiful autumn day.

In fact, our sidewalks were nearly full of life by 8am.

I’m now living in a kid friendly community and one kind to cats, corgis and chihuahuas.

Even chinchillas and chickens for that matter.

And the shopkeepers’ doors were open early to all.

So was the Farmer’s Market.

But I took a short detour before running my shopping errands.

Bright sunlight through blazing red maples illuminated the dusty path back to my destination.

I was in search of one old and hollow ash by the lake down the road.

But this is no ordinary tree.

It’s blessed with a little wooden door, right at the base, for all the children in town to see.

I was conducting preliminary research for a special birthday location for a soon to be three year old.

My own little grandson.

I wanted something memorable, and maybe mystical.

And this tree is both.

For years a kindly little elf has lived inside, or so the legend goes. Young children leave him notes and trinkets, and he always replies back in kind.

This day there were several of both, circling the big old tree.

I unfolded one note from Toby, scribbled on yellow lined paper.

“Hi, how ya doing today Mr. Elf?”

I folded it back up and neatly placed it by the others.

Some days the notes are asking for much more than a response.

Maybe a return to health of a loved one, or a recovery from an illness of their own.

I also noticed this morning the wooden door was locked, and there’s an inscription now hanging on a tag composed by the elf.

The elf’s written that he’s once again returned to the castle.

That’s where he travels when winter time in near.

I understand there’s a very lovely fairy who lives there with him.

Yet our elf still religiously returns to the ash tree each spring.

I’m happy to report he’s added a special feature this year for the chilly months ahead.

It’s a P.O. box, where the children can mail their winter correspondence.

I thought about picking up the letter from Toby, and the others resting below the tree that the elf had missed.

Yet I’m thinking our little guy will magically appear some morning before the first snow finally falls.

Suddenly I felt a chilly gust of wind from the north, and I turned to walk back towards the market.

I decided instead to wait until spring, when the wooden door is once again open, to properly knock and introduce my grandson to the elf.

When I met up with my birthday boy later, we conferred with the chinchilla in the bookstore on great recommendations for kid books on animals and other mystical kingdoms.

And we selected a couple for purchase.

My princely grandson is quite content tonight.

And so am I.

We’ll both sleep well in our own special castles, dreaming of one very special little elf.

Anticipating a magical springtime to come.