Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Adopt A Shelter Dog Month - A Tale of Two Shelter Dogs

It's been almost three years since we lost our sweet "Molly-Girl." The 20-lb, chocolate brown mix  adopted us in 1995 after her two-week "vacation" at the Miami Animal Shelter. We were put through hoops before the dedicated shelter workers let us take her home to Fort Myers, but the thirteen years we had with Molly were the best.

Our hearts broke when we lost her. As many of you know, having the courage to euthanize a beloved pet is probably the most difficult decision we animal lovers face. I stayed with Molly in the vet's office until the end. My husband could not. Just a difference between the two of us. I wanted to be there to hold her when she slipped away. Her "dad" had to wait outside. I didn't blame him because, after all, he was the one, those many years ago, who comforted the anxious, three-year-old terrier-mix on the long trip across Alligator Alley to her new home. He simply couldn't bear the pain of letting her go. I was relieved by his decision because that meant I could focus on Molly and not have to worry about any other dynamic in that room except the bond she and I shared.

We left the clinic that day vowing it would be a long, long time before we could again face the pain of watching another little buddy grow ill and slip away.

The first anniversary of her death came and went. The second anniversary passed, but a strange thing happened that next spring. I started researching pet rescue sites on the Internet, clicking on picture after picture of small dogs that needed a forever home. I e-mailed a friend who was devoted to dog rescues and fostering. I gave her an idea what we were looking for figuring it would take months to pair us with a new furry family member. Was I ever wrong!

A couple of days had passed when I opened up an e-mail saying I'd been tagged with a link to a photo on Facebook. I clicked open the picture and called my husband into my office. "What about this one?" My heart pounded at the sight of the little black and white fur ball. "Let's get her," he announced. And, he wasn't kidding. I had been first to consider the idea of another dog. He was still enjoying the freedom that being "pet-less" provided. Still, when I mentioned the idea, he had been on board as long as we took our time, did our research and "didn't rush into anything."

Two days?? That's not rushing into anything? I was a little shocked by his instant passion for a dog we knew nothing about, but when he saw Lucy's picture, it was love at first sight. For once, I was the pragmatic one; refusing to allow myself to love that little girl until I had her in my arms.

The next day was rough. First we had her, then we didn't because she had to be spayed. Then we had her again when we signed an oath in blood and swore on our mothers' graves to have her spayed here in Georgia. Then we didn't because there was no way to get her from South Florida to our home.

Enter our pet angels. Through karma, good luck, coincidence, whatever...1 Lucky Dog Rescue (the fantastic place who took Lucy in after she was abandoned) discovered that one of their contacts was coming to Atlanta that weekend and he'd be happy to transport Lucy straight to our front door. The stars aligned, and she was in my arms Saturday morning, less than 36 hours after we'd seen her picture.

I suppose this post is more cathartic than entertaining, but sometimes we just have to "get it out." I'm not dreading the third anniversary of Molly's death so much. Not because I don't still miss her, terribly, but, I think she'd approve of our decision to save another South Florida dog. Lucy makes us laugh every day. Even the day she decided that Dad wouldn't miss just one bite off his pizza slice. Oh, she put on an academy award-winning innocent performance...except for the glob of pizza sauce on the end of her nose.

Yes, Molly would definitely approve of her little sister.

October is Adopt A Dog Month!
Don't Shop - Adopt!

10 compelling reasons to adopt a shelter dog from Dogster, For the Love of Dog Blog


Cheryl said...

We are a month past losing our Molly(black lab). She was twelve and very I'll.We are now feeling the huge empty space in our home. I had her longer than I had my son! We're considering getting a small dog.

Mary Cunningham said...

I'm so sorry, Cheryl. My heart aches for you. Our furry daughters (and sons) are such a huge part of our family, and when they're gone, it leaves a huge, empty hole.

Some like to get another dog right away. We weren't ready for a couple of years. I'll be thinking of you and your family and wishing you all the best. Mary

Laurel Major said...

This was the best...we have a new girl that is entirely opposite of Lacey. We miss her very much and love the new one...until

Mary Cunningham said...

Thanks, Laurel! So happy you found another girl to love. Even though Molly and Lacey will never be replaced, it's wonderful to share our love with such special little ladies.

Great to hear from you!! xoxo