I was on Facebook and a picture caught my eye. A dog. A very big dog named Buddy and the caption read: The calmest and most well-behaved dog I have ever worked with at the shelter. Our friend Eric Wilson of Square Dog Photography had posted the picture.
Buddy – Bloodhound, Mastiff mix
I think it was the word calm along with the adorable giant face that stirred something inside me. Instantly, I felt as though he belonged with us. I’m not sure why. I didn’t want another pet. I shared the picture of him on my Facebook wall and told everyone he needed a home… before I took him home. Still, at the time I wasn’t serious.
When Eric and Arielle saw his picture they fell in love. I was surprised how much Eric wanted Buddy. I stepped aside and let Eric make all the plans to go see him. Since I mostly work from home I knew taking in Buddy would add hours to my housework. However, I also knew that Buddy was in a shelter and I wasn’t sure how much time he had left. His life was definitely worth more cleaning. Eric and Arielle set the date to go see him.
Two days later we found out that Buddy had been adopted. I breathed. Okay, he found a home all was well. Except for the small stirring inside of me. I remembered a post I had written long ago titled Life. I told of a story in Deepak Chopra’s Fire In The heart. I heard the words: It’s not over. I waited.
A week or two passed. Then one evening Eric announced that Buddy had been returned to the shelter. The person who adopted him lived on the third floor and had to walk him up and down stairs several times a day. Because of Buddy’s size it took a toll on his hips. Buddy was put back in his cage. Eric and Arielle made plans to go visit him.
Being more of a cat person than dog person I hoped that what our friend Eric wrote about Buddy being the calmest dog he had ever worked with would hold true once he was in a home. The greatest and calmest dog I have ever had was our greyhound, Anna. Anna was the perfect dog. I still get teary eyed every time I see a greyhound. I miss her so.
Eric and Arielle went to the shelter and I kept my phone close waiting to hear from them. After an hour I received a text with a sad face from Arielle. They couldn’t adopt Buddy. When the shelter learned we had a two-story house they said it wasn’t a good fit for him. I suppose since he was returned to the shelter because of stairs they weren’t taking anymore chances. Still, I had the feeling… I kept hearing the words: It’s not over. I waited.
Almost a week later,our phone rang just before we left for our rainy beach vacation. We could adopt Buddy. Not wanting to bring him into our home and then leave for vacation we said we would visit him as soon as we returned. We came home and found out Buddy had been moved to a different shelter. Eric and Arielle raced to see him and were allowed to have a face to face visit. They fell in love. Eric filled out all the paperwork.
Arielle and I went to pick up Buddy. I was nervous. First, it’s difficult for me to be in shelters because I know that some shelters euthanize. It’s heartbreaking seeing so many cats and dogs without homes. I was also nervous because we were adding to our family and I knew I was committing myself to years of caring for another pet. Now that I have more freedom, with Arielle and Kai being teens, I’m a bit more selfish of my time.
We stood in the lobby and waited as all the paperwork was processed. The shelter was beautiful and the staff was extremely kind. Gulf Coast Humane Society. I watched as people came through their doors. Many were there to view the cats and dogs up for adoption. Some came wanting to surrender animals. One woman was with her son. The son carried the dog in one hand and a dog bed in another. His mom made him tell the staff why they were there – to surrender the dog. When the woman was told that she would have to come back on a different day… she began to beg. “Please, please, please take him. We have his papers.” I watched. I moved the furthest distance away from her that I could because I was angry. It touched on a nerve from my past. As a child I said good-bye to many of my pets when they were no longer wanted. I wasn’t sure if I was more upset that she was teaching her young son that pets are temporary commitments or hurting more for the poor dog that was about to lose his home and the people he trusted. I told myself that she was doing the responsible thing – taking the dog to a shelter instead of just abandoning him. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only one wanting to surrender their pet. Two others came in after her. Three people in one hour. This left me wondering how many people surrender their pets to the shelter in a week. My eyes were opened.
Standing there in the midst of the pet overpopulation problem it became clear to me just how important it is to spay and neuter and to adopt from shelters. I had tremendous respect for all of the employees and volunteers at the Humane Society. Their love for the animals was apparent. Thank goodness for kind people who care for these homeless pets like our friend Eric who first posted Buddy’s picture. If you are a volunteer or employee at a shelter, thank you. Know that you are making a difference.
Buddy came home with us on June 29th. He sat in the backseat and stared out the window. Arielle snapped his picture.
He is gentle and calm. Yep, even more calm than my Anna was.To say he is sweet doesn’t do him justice. All he wants is to be by someone’s side. Company. If I get up, he gets up. If I walk out the front door and forget to lock it he opens the door with his giant nose and strolls outside… “Did you forget something?”
We bought him a bed but when Nahla sits on it – he lies on the floor.
This is Buddy’s third day with us and it feels as though he’s always been here. He’s part of our family.
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