Tuck’s 84 in dog years, still he’s such a little boy.”
His stocking’s hung on high again. He’s asking for a toy.
“A raw hide too would sure be sweet,” he told his sister Tink.
“So get that list to Santa quick! You’ll miss him if you blink.”
While staying on a peaceful farm this weekend, I discovered a new purpose for our dogs.
Or at least one of them.
I decided to call the pup Buddy, as I didn’t know his name.
The owner was busy working, so Buddy stepped right in as the perfect host.
He greeted me with excitement as I drove up the rocky road to the farmhouse then proudly started to show me around the place.
Buddy led me through the fields of corn and soybeans, over to the horses, and then to the vineyards just beyond.
Afterwards, he jumped right into my Subaru ready to give directions through the rolling hills towards the bakery in town to pick up carrot ginger muffins and lavender cookies.
At 70 pounds, Buddy’s 23 times as big as my tiny chi Junie B. who joined me on the trip.
But city girl Junie wasn’t afraid and appeared quite impressed by Buddy’s friendly demeanor, hosting skills, and his life as a farm dog.
I’m thinking she might like to learn to be a farm dog, and hostess, as well.
After all, we do know our dogs are never too old (or too small) to learn a few more new tricks.
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.
“Some bunny thinks she’s the Easter bunny,” I told my tiny pup Junie B. this morning.
She responded with a little snort and what looked to be a laugh.
We’d awakened not too bright and early to the sounds of snow plows sailing down our street after yet another snow storm.
Junie B. was thinking we should start our Easter Party today after tearing open a bag of Easter basket goodies.
“What do you think about going to the sunrise Easter service tomorrow morning down at the beach?” I asked her. “It could be a little chilly with that 12 degree low by morning.”
I don’t know if Junie B. understood me.
But I do know for sure that Junie B. growled as she ran back to the crate and quickly slammed the door.
I think our long winter may be getting the best of both of us.
And believe me that’s no April Fool’s joke.
It was supposed to be my chihuahua Tinkerbelle’s costume.
A pretty tutu it was, bought second hand from the rescue group for Tink’s very first Halloween.
But Tink was terrified and absolutely refused to wear it.
Sometime on Halloween night my terrier Tucker found that tutu on the dining room table, and thinking it was some kind of a tasty treat pulled it right down on the rug.
Once I turned on the lights in the morning, I jumped.
I saw Tuck had learned a very spooky new trick.
Somehow he’d managed to get the tutu up on his head just like a crown.
Now Tuck’s a senior and has never been fond of Halloween. Typically he’d hide under the couch shaking his fears away until the last of the door knocking ghosts and goblins were gone.
But I guess you can always change, no matter if you’re young or old.
And looking at Tuck’s face I believe that my old boy is mighty proud of himself, just as he should be.