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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Forever young at heart

Is that a look of fear or excitement?

I wasn’t sure as I secured my corgi Maddie into a dog stroller for the first time yesterday.

Maddie’s an old girl.

She’s fourteen now, and without the strength to travel on any of her four legs.

Yet she’s a happy girl, and had been very curious about the big birthday present sitting before her.

She didn’t care that it was gently used and came from the local shelter. The sale proceeds will be going back to help other canines.

Once safely in place, Maddie and I skated down the driveway and started rolling along our city sidewalks.

Her eyes grew big as she lifted, then turned her head from side to side, checking out the views thru the mesh panel in the back of the stroller as we moved.

Her nose soon shot up in the air as she detected the first grilling hamburgers of the season sizzling over by the park.

She watched the local teens on their shiny skateboards whizzing by in the sunshine shouting, “Hey look, there’s a corgi doing wheelies!”

Her soft ears perked up once she heard rock music coming from a vintage red corvette sailing down the street.

She greeted a few neighbors, and then we traveled over to the creek for our first picnic of the season.

We shared some baby carrots together as a bunny hopped by from behind a patch of daffodils.

I’m sure I saw Maddie smile.

As I gave her the last carrot, Maddie licked my hand.

Then I smiled, thinking she may be old but Maddie is still so very young at heart.

Good dog

So gentle and kind.
That heart warms my soul.

Her days weren’t all easy.
A few took their toll.

Yet strong my girl is.
Though she cannot walk.

She still speaks of peace.
As her eyes still can talk.

Then she kisses my hands.
To prove up her love.

While I whisper “good dog.”
Until called up above.

Our morning light

It’s dark and misty gray outside my window, with a November sky beyond.

Except it’s only September.

As I struggle to open my eyes, I find I’m unable to see the clock due to this heavy drape of morning gloom.

I’m guessing it’s somewhere between 3am and 9am as Maddie, as my lame senior corgi, continues to converse with me through gentle, muffled barks from the kitchen.

My other two pups continue to sleep and snore, until they hear me open the squeaky gate to the kitchen where Maddie looks up to greet me with a smile.

She’s comfortably centered on her dog bed anticipating a visit to the backyard
and her first bite of today’s kibble.

Terrier Tuck, and Rex, my renegade chihuahua, slowly trot their way in to join us.

I turn on the light and discover it’s 6:30. It’s time for all of us to get a move on, and for me to get ready for work.

After a spin around the yard, we return to the kitchen where I watch Maddie devour her morning meal with gusto. Tuck and Rex soon follow her lead.

I note what a happy girl is Maddie, be her hopping around the grass with her remaining two good legs or enjoying that breakfast.

It’s as if Maddie has a message for us all: “Savor each gift, and every moment.”

Maddie then licks her mouth after the last bite and returns to the middle of her checkered dog bed for a nap and a snoring session.

I smile with admiration as I look down at her, thinking how she keeps us all centered.

And how she brings such light every day to our lives.

Though simple gifts, what special ones both truly are.