As I type this, I’m sitting on a wobbly stool in my new Manhattan apartment, watching my laptop get gnawed on by a four month-old puppy with teeth that rival those of a Great White shark in both size and strength. I should be appalled at the sight of my computer being masticated by this pooch; but I’m not. Instead, I am thrilled.
This puppy is the karmic culmination of a most strange year. He is the everything that I was working towards without even knowing it until just now.
Sumter is a rescue dog from the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County in Florida. (http://www.hsspca.org/contact.asp) Most likely a sheltie/retriever mix, but honestly, right now he looks like a fawn. So, here I am, back in my beloved New York City after living in Florida for the past six months, walking a pet deer along the Upper East Side. Meanwhile, over in Queens, my friend Julie is walking her new rescue pooch, also from the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County. Neither Julie nor I was expecting to welcome a new dog into our lives this year. We both took hard hits in 2014, each losing a beloved dog within months of each other. Grieving, we were determined to ride the rest of the year out in mutual mourning.
And yet, here Julie and I are right now in N.Y.C., snuggling up against the warm, fuzzy bodies of our respective new rescue children.
Sumter wasn’t supposed to be here: at all. An unclaimed puppy found roaming the streets, on October 21st he was scheduled to be euthanized at a ‘kill shelter.’ But the extraordinary and loving staff at the no-kill shelter Humane Society swept in and saved Sumter’s life- offering him longterm care and shelter, and a chance at finding his ‘forever home.’ Was it a coincidence that this is precisely the time that Tommy and I began volunteering at the Humane Society? No. It was nothing short of kismet. We saw Sumter and immediately fell in love. Couldn’t get him off our minds for weeks. Still though, we did not have the guts to adopt him. We’re not ready yet, we told ourselves. It’s too soon. Our lives are so unpredictable right now. It’s such a big commitment.
Instead, we just spent time with Sumter, assuming someone else would snatch him up immediately, and focused our efforts on getting a beautiful six year-old Beagle at that shelter adopted. Guess who adopted her?
“So it’s been 9 days with our Zelda,” Julie wrote recently to update the shelter on Zelda’s progress. “I am happy to say that she is exactly how Ali described her. Sweet, and lovely and yes adorable. Zelda truly does not deserve to spend the rest of her life in a shelter. And she never will again. As pretty as she looks in the pictures that were sent to me before we met. She is exactly that. Gorgeous. Yes she was nervous leaving Ali and Tommy to go with strangers. That was to be expected. But within 24 hours she was freely roaming around our home, and doing the typical Beagle sniffing all over the place. She tested all the dog beds and furniture, and found the feeding spot right away. She had gone out for several walks with her new sister (also a rescue, by the way), and sniffed up the neighborhood. We live in a pet friendly building so Zelda very quickly came face to face with several neighborhood pups, and it went very well. All the Butt sniffing ended with tails wagging.”
“When back at home Minie seemed very happy with her new sister. And now 9 days later Zelda and Minie and our 2 cats are running around with each other. They are eating next to each other, in separate bowls of course. But no arguing. I want to mention when Zelda and Minie go out for their walks they are both squirrel and bird chasers and go nuts trying to take off after them. It’s amazing how strong Beagles are when they are determined to get that squirrel. I know they have scared the you-know-what out of the squirrels. During the squirrel run, Zelda finds her voice. Oh yea, She can bark! I love the sound of dogs barking when they are having fun, and she does it real well. After their walks they come home and decide where to take their afternoon naps, which they take on the same furniture, close to each other. I’m sure after a while they will be cuddling during their naps Minie is showing pure happiness now that she has a new sister in our home, and Zelda is becoming more content as the days go by.”
“We were still morning the loss of our Sweet Beau, and honestly didn’t know if or when we would adopt again. Then suddenly all it took was a few texted pictures and Zelda’s story. It was a done deal. Of course there were adoption rules to go through but again, with Ali and Tommy’s help we got through them painlessly as well. I was thinking I would pick her up in a few months when I travel to Fla to visit my daughter and grandson, when they told me they would transport her right to us. Again, a done deal. The entire process couldn’t have been easier. Everything was so unexpected, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut, and heart. We are so happy we did.”
A few weeks later, my mother, father, and mother in-law are each taking their turns playing with Sumter, their new furry grandson. The pup who wasn’t supposed to be here… at all is now here…with us. Meanwhile, over in Queens, Julie and her husband Denny are busy doling out homemade meals and lots of love to Zelda the Beagle. How grateful we all are to the devoted Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County staff (especially Carol and Anne and Claudia, who made us feel so welcome and do so much for so many, four-legged and two-legged alike.)
Right now I’m smiling because Sumter is playing with a bunch of Bily’s old toys- as well as a new tug toy that Julie sent him as a welcome home gift. It all feels so very karmic. (Oh, he’s also attacking Tommy’s sneakers…while Tommy is wearing them. I know I’m not supposed to encourage such behavior, but geez, it’s so friggin’ hilarious to watch a puppy test out new things. Confession: I also laughed when Sumter peed in Tommy’s suitcase.) Truth is, Tommy and I see so much of Bily in little Sumter and Julie says she feels the same way-Beau’s spirit is in Zelda. Unlike her wacky shelter cousin though, Zelda doesn’t have time to chew on sneakers or pee in suitcases. Why? Because she’s far too busy playing with her new brother. Yep, that’s right. Julie just adopted another dog! His name is Cooper and he’s an 18 month-old fox hound rescued from a kill shelter in Alabama. Word got to her about Cooper through the very same shelter from which Julie adopted her dearly departed Beau. Great twist, right?
So, there it is. The beautiful and furry karmic culmination of a fascinating past six months. As if by magic, loss turned into gain, and friends not only rescued pets, but each other. Two pups left this world, and made room for three more in need.
It’s the cycle of life. A tale of wagging tails.
© Copyright 2014 Alison, All rights Reserved. Written For: Alison Grambs