Thursday, April 30, 2015
“Better to light a candle for one lost dog than to curse the darkness of man’s indifference. Saving just one dog won’t change the world, but it surely will change the world for that one dog.”
Richard C. Call
It began as a journey of a “thousand miles” and we were all somewhat apprehensive about taking that first step. In our lives, each day can seem like a new beginning or an unanticipated ending. It is simply the fabric that makes up our day-to-day existence here at the farm. It is not the most desirable way to live, but this is the way things go. For each of us, there are periods of time that either spiral out of control, or slip between our fingers leaving us anxious and uncertain. This trip had all the beginnings of such a time.
Having landed at home for about 48 hours, we loaded up the Hag and set off on the latest adventure. It was a two-fold trip with neither purpose out-trumping the other. We headed south to Redding, California to see my dear mother-in-law. We had missed seeing her on the last two drives up I-5, so it seemed like a good thing to do. We had a great visit and caught up on all that is going on in our lives. I wish we lived closer to each other. These twice yearly visits aren’t nearly enough.
And then, we embarked on the second half of the trip. Our thoughts have been drifting towards finding another dog. It is hard to put Wiley’s memory aside to entertain such ideas, but we are dog people. We live on a fenced, two-acre parcel of prime dog running-around-land. And, everywhere I have gone, where a dog has been present, it has made a beeline for me. This includes a service dog that jumped up and excitedly bounded over to me as I walked by. I mentioned to the dog that she was working. She didn’t seem to care about that, so I petted her. Her person said that this happens with about 1 out of 100 passerby’s. (I was incredibly flattered.) It is hard not to see these things as an indication that things in our life are out of order.
Wanting to be prudent about this search, and knowing EXACTLY what we would be able to live with in another dog, I contacted the two Doberman Rescues that serve Oregon, but happen to NOT be in Oregon. Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue took about a week and a half to respond to their FOUR-page application, which I had painstakingly filled out, and Northern California Doberman Rescue, in Red Bluff, California, answered this same application in about an hour. After exchanging MANY emails, (about 23, to be exact) we came up with the perfect plan. We could visit with Marion, my mother-in-law in Redding and ALSO check out the dogs in Red Bluff as these two cities are about 15 miles apart. Dana, the wonderful woman who runs the rescue, gave us a couple of choices of dogs, but we all quickly came to the same conclusion that there was just one dog who would be the perfect fit.
So, on Wednesday, we all took a collective deep breath, and assured each other that we were “just looking,” “doing the right thing,” and that it would “be okay, whatever happened.” It was that “first step” in the thousand-mile journey and we were anxious and apprehensive.
In previous posts, I have mentioned the stories of remarkable folks who have done, or are quietly doing, what they do for the greater good of humanity. Dana is one of those people. She lives a ways out of town in a beautiful piece of rural northern California heaven. Her life to date has been all about her dogs, Dobermans who need a second (or third or fourth chance) and several others who aren’t Dobies, but have come to her in one fashion or another. She loves them, cares for them, and has created a sanctuary for these regal and remarkable beings. They are fed, have their medical needs attended to, and emotionally brought back to a better place. And then, she finds them their perfect “forever home.” It takes time, and energy, and money. She takes the time, has the energy, and because of generous donations, she is able to sustain this gift. For us, the fact that everything fell into place for all these events to coincide is nothing short of a miracle, and we are ever grateful that the heavens aligned in this fashion. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
When we drove up her driveway, our arrival was announced by the collective voices of 20 some dogs. Dana met us outside and ushered us into her home. There was no doubt that the welfare of these dogs was her first and only priority. From the 20 dog dishes washed and stacked in a dish-drainer to dry, to the bowls of dog treats within easy reach on the counter to use as reinforcers, it was evident that we were in the presence of someone who lived the example of purpose and compassion that we all need to walk. The four of us sat down and chatted for a while and then she brought in the sweet little girl we had talked about. Stella came into the room and immediately went over to Dad who petted her lovely soft fur. She went to Craig and then to me, burrowing her head into my lap. This continued on and on. She would move from one to the other of us, laying her head on our laps and leaning against us in true Doberman fashion.
We. Were. Smitten. When it came time for us to make a decision, I looked at Dad and asked him what he thought. He immediately replied, “She’s a pretty good dog!” And with the completion of some paperwork, etc, little Miss Stella has come into our lives.
We took her back to the Hag, ate dinner, and went to bed. She slept through the night, and made herself right at home. On Thursday, we loaded up and headed back to the farm. She traveled like she had been doing it all her life.
Lucky. That’s how we all feel. When you are rescued by a sweet loving soul that is the feeling that surrounds you. And with this choice, on that particular day, for us begins a new journey.
Peace to you.