Every time I see a missing pet post on a pole or in a business window it breaks my heart. I used to pass them by, briefly thinking how sad it was that a child might be missing their beloved pet. That however was as far as I went. I never truly understood. Until the day my daughter called.
After a fifth reconstruction surgery on my knee after what should have been a single very simple repair, I was feeling lost and very low. I had always been the mom on the go, chauffeuring, coaching, running and roughhousing while also being chef, maid and butler to my still very young boys. Now. I could barely walk. I felt not only helpless, but pretty worthless to my boys physically.
One day as I hobbled about, trying rather unsuccessfully to just clean house. My eldest daughter called and said and using her absolute sweetest voice, “Mom, I think you need a puppy”. Ha! “No, nope, never!” I practically choked out incredulously. That was the last thing I needed! I further informed and reminded her of what I was currently up against. This was a crazy idea.
She held her stance saying, “I think you need to at least meet her. I’m bringing her over”. I felt a weird tinge in my heart at the word “her”. It instantly took me from any random puppy, to one that potentially needed a home at that very moment.
I had always been a kid person, not a dog person. However, when my daughter explained this little Yorkie, Shih-Tzu mix needed a home because the young girl that had bought her, could keep her no longer, I instantly imaged her sitting in a shelter cage by herself, scared. Although, even I knew puppies were picked first in shelters for obvious reasons, I also knew this did not guarantee a good home.
My daughter then said over the phone “open the front door, we’re here”. There was that heart tinge again. My daughter knows me well and she plays dirty.
I opened the door, and nestled in my daughters arms was a 9 week old, 4 lb puff of reddish hair, with the sweetest face I had ever seen. I armored my heart. (Whatever, I knew I was sunk, I was completely faking it.)
I sat down and my daughter instantly plopped the sleepy puppy into my lap. She was so warm and tiny. My daughter is the devil some times.
She informed me her name was “Hazel” and gave me the run down of why she needed a home.
She had me at “Hazel”. Somewhere in that instantaneous fog of puppy love, my daughter had brought in a little kennel Hazel liked to sleep in, her blanket, food, toys, her teeny food and water bowls. I was now a dog owner. And two hours after that, a hero to my boys arriving home after school.
9 years later, she is laying next to me, snoring like a bulldog. She is my constant companion and my touchstone. She has seen me through injury, illness, major brain surgery, and some really difficult and very sad times, but is now my daily source of laughter. Although small, she believes she can do anything and gets herself into some pretty surprising predicaments; the last was getting herself stuck in the bathtub while I was away. It was obviously easier to go from a bath mat to a porcelain tub, then other way around. I have no idea how long she had been in there, but I heard her barking and howling before I had stepped a foot in the door. The bathroom door apparently has a force field in front of it now. I know this because of the wide berth Hazel gives that particular area of our home.
She is always happy (not including tub time). If somebody cries, she does every single thing she can to make them stop, especially if it is me. If I leave the room, she acts like she hasn’t seen me in years when I return, even if I have only been gone mere minutes. This little thing used to follow me everywhere, but now that she is older, she would rather stay nestled in a blanket, knowing I will be back. She is the love of my boys life. My 23 year old still comes in town and swears it is to see me, but I watch how his face lights up when he see’s her.
I should add that she now shares the spotlight with what started out to be a little 9 lb. rescue German Shepard mix, who is now a 70 lbs. playful wrecking ball. The day I brought him home, from our local shelter (Yes, this was also my daughter’s doing), Hazel just looked at me in disgust. I could hear her puppy thoughts, “WHAT have you done?”
To this day, she is still the 8 lb. alpha in the family. His long legs trampled her once, injuring her and to this day she has never forgotten. He loves her and always wants to play. She hates him and wants him to disappear. But I believe she is faking. When he plays fetch with a tennis balls, (The ball is the size of her head), she wags her tail when he catches the ball because she knows he has done well. And although she holds her ground with him when he is rowdy or in her space, I have seen them both when they are sleepy, and comfortably lay very close to each other. Either way, even if they are not, best friends, they are indeed our best friends.
I guess what I’m saying here is even if you think a pet is not for you, if can love them with patience, they will adjust to your life and without fail love you more.
We cannot imagine life without these two. There are so many of these guys waiting at your local shelters to be your best friend. Any age, any size. Even if you have never had a single solitary thought about being a pet owner, I strongly suggest you visit a shelter and spend a minute of two with a dog that likes you. Believe me when I tell you, they pick you before you will pick them. Just visit and you will see exactly what I mean.
Here are some shelter links that will assist you in finding your best friend. He/she is waiting for you. And if you cannot adopt donations of any size help shelter costs and in some cases like Vets Adopt Pets (link below), donations defray the adoption costs for our Veterans.
Enjoy your day.