At the time, my current fur-family consisted of three seniors… Bear the Manx cat (14), Coco the Shih Tzu (13) and Sadie the English Springer Spaniel (13). These three owned my heart and being seniors, they all needed that little extra touch of attention that many older pets do. The thought of adding a new “fur kid” to our pack was not even a consideration.
It was Friday and I was doing what I do every Friday… setting up to photograph the “new” dogs at Winnipeg Animal Services… the ones that would be vet checked that day and then placed in the adoption program.
As is my usual routine, I had scribbled down the pen numbers and description of today’s dogs. Paper and pen in hand I entered the kennel room to do my walk about… saying “hello” to the dogs I already knew and stopping at each of the five new pup’s pens to verify their data.
Pen #30 was the second last one on my list – unspayed female, 3-5 years, spaniel mix, shy. And there she was… curled up at the back of her kennel, tail tucked, barely making eye contact as I knelt down and quietly introduced myself through the links of her pen gate. “I will be back”, I told her as I headed off to get ready for the photo session.
It was late June and the day held the promise of summer… warm, sunny. Since the sessions were done in the outdoor enclosure I took my time.. relaxing for me, a real break for the dogs.
Soon it was Pen 30’s turn. As I opened the gate to her pen, she slowly edged forward, still hovering low but with an ever so slight wag to her still tucked tail. Once in the kennel I crunched down and looked away, speaking softly, a small soft treat set to entice in the open palm of my hand.
Slowly she inched forward and I was able to reach over and slip a lead over her ears. She followed me out, still cautious, still unsure, but willing to give me a little bit of trust.
“Poor baby” I thought. “How sad to be so afraid”.
Once outside, her nose became busy with the many new smells. Slowly her ears relaxed and fell forward.
Time for me to turn the camera to on and bring out my little pink squeaker ball.
Well, let me just say… the first squeak of that ball was a total game changer. As I tossed the ball, the shy unsure shelter dog went “poof” and this alert, bouncy little girl instantly took her place. I kept tossing and she kept bringing the ball back. Photos were snapped and we simply kept on playing.
Unexpectedly the door from the building opened and Lorna, the adoption coordinator, my friend and mentor, walked into the outdoor enclosure, smiling.
“Hay Colleen, I have been watching you two from inside… there seems to be a real connection here,” she stated, her smile broadening.
“I know Lorna, yes she’s adorable. No new dog for me though. Not right now.”
“OK”, responded Lorna… “but I’m just saying… ”
We laughed, I threw one more toss and then all three of us went inside.
And that was that… or at least that is what I thought.
But the seed had been planted and I started to think… she is a real sweetheart. Could we do it? What would Roland say? How would my three react… Sadie was having a rough go of it these days and the last thing I wanted to do was to stress her in any way. Thoughts swirled.
When I left that day, “no” was still my decision.
That is til I started to process the photos later, on my computer.
“Roland… what would you think about us getting another dog… ?”
And as I stated earlier… enter Lacie.
As it turned out, my concerns on how my pack would react were groundless. Coco was indifferent, Bear just kept being Bear, swiping at Lacie’s tail at every opportunity, and Sadie Girl loved her.
Sadly on August 31st, we said our final good byes to our Sadie Girl. My heart remains heavy at this loss but having said that… I truly believe that Sadie’s last days were happier because of Lacie. Sadie just loved her and would happily follow her where ever she went. Lacie gave Sadie a little bit of unexpected joy and for that I am so grateful. Miss you Sadie Girl… every day.
Six months have come and gone since I first brought Lacie home… and all of us can not imagine our life with out her. Coco and her are now buds and Bear has stopped his tail swiping. Roland and I love her to bits.
Lovely Lacie is home.
It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are. – Author Unknown