Today’s the day we bring her home to join our human/animal pack. She’s been patiently waiting for almost three months for a perfect match. You know as well as I do that perfection doesn’t always get to happen. But when it does, it’s magic. And wonderful things begin to fall into place. I spent most of yesterday getting ready for her. It was a good drive day: springlike with blue skies, warm enough to slide the sun roof back, let my thoughts float out into the almost balmy air.
I headed out to Orchard Kennels first. Took my shopping list in to the retail shop/check in area and before I was done, I’d picked out a good-sized dog bed, a great toy, a few cans of dog food, one large-size Liquid Health K-9 Glucosamine and a pink collar (size large). My family has been boarding dogs at Orchard Kennels for years….they are amazing. The owner just happened to be minding the store – and the first thing she did was to come out from behind the counter to envelop me in a huge hug. She and all of her staff were Jasper’s buds. They cried and grieved for him because that’s what family does.
Then we got to the business at hand. She wanted to hear all about this “new’ dog and because she is so wonderfully dog savvy, she had some great suggestions. Bless her heart, the first thing she asked me was, “How does she get along with Tessa?” When I told her that they played beautifully together, she smiled. We both agreed that boarding this new pup might not be such a good idea – dogs that shut down emotionally because they have been in a shelter environment way too long (despite the good intentions of their caregivers) really don’t like going back into any kind of shelter experience. I told her we’d started talking about how our summer plans were already changing; that if we did go away for a week in August, we’d find a pet-friendly cottage so that we could take the dogs.
We piled all of my goodies into my car and I hit the road again, headed for Boom Towne out in Victor to pick out a harness.
You know how sometimes you get great impulses? As I was making a left turn to get back onto Rt 96, headed for home, I decided to stop off at Lollypop Farm. (I’d be driving right by it anyway.) It made perfect sense to leave that collar and harness with the staff just to make sure I’d picked the right sizes. More importantly, I wanted this “new” pup to have brand new “clothes” on before she made her grande entrance into the adoption area to meet us later today.
Finally home, it was time to vacuum, wash windows (might as well get an early start on spring cleaning), set up a crate in the dining room and stock it. If you look carefully, you’ll see that new dog bed, the great toy, a blanket tossed in the back and a white box decorated with paw prints. That box holds Jasper’s ashes.
As I sat in front of the open crate, getting ready to take a few photographs for this blog post, I realized there was a missing piece; one dog always opens the door for another, if you know how to keep your heart open to hear that message. You don’t “replace” one dog with another. You just love each one that comes with all of the insights you learned from the dogs that come before.
If you keep faith with what you learn, you are better with each “new” dog that enters your life. Jasper won’t be that far away today when we bring our “new” pup home. I know that as we start yet another chapter in this journey that we have chosen to share with dogs, there will be times when his Great Dane spirit hovers over us – in good company with all of our dogs that have come before.