Friday, October 8, 2010

October, and Thoughts of Maggie and Dog Adoption--A Friday Morning Journal


It was October when we saw her for the first time.

October 4, 1998.  We had been debating the way a dog would change our life.  Were we ready to sacrifice our independence in order to provide attention and care to an animal?  Could we give up trips to the city, vacations to Phoenix?  Did we want to spend the money on food, veterinary care, cleaning supplies?  Were we patient enough to accept the accidents on the carpet, the long early February mornings outside in the wind and snow? 

Before my awareness was raised to the heartbreaking stories of puppy mills, we walked into a pet store in a local shopping center, and in a cage across the room, she was there.  A perfectly miniaturized basset hound puppy.  Her twin brother, also three months old and in the same cage, was twice her size; she was the definite runt of the litter.  Her ears dragged on the cage floor.  Her little legs carried a tiny sausage body with a plump smooth belly.

It was love. 

We took her home, not knowing how sick she was.  The veterinarian diagnosed pneumonia; and said she had a big heart.  That last point I could personally confirm.  We consulted many experts to find the right treatment for our poor little girl. We finally took the road trip to Madison Wisconsin, where the staff of the veterinary college had the expertise and equipment to diagnose and treat her.  One shaved throat and transtracheal wash later, we were on our way home to begin ten wonderful years with this loving animal.

When she got better, she found her voice.  She howled for the first time, to my great amusement.  I laughed loudly and, thinking it was praise, or an invitation to the hunt, she howled some more.  It was a symphony of comical sounds.

So now, October again, and my thoughts go back to those early days of Maggie, and my instinct is calling me to save another creature and take her home.

It looks like we will be ready to adopt another puppy in the spring.  That will give us time to train and housebreak a dog with better weather conditions; it was nearly impossible to train Maggie during the bitter winter months.

In the past year I bonded with many special dogs at the Buddy Foundation shelter. Several times I was sure I had met the perfect companion, and that Maggie would have approved.  But due to doubts in our minds as to our readiness to adopt, the dogs all found different homes.  A blessing actually, but hard to let them all go.

Now as we begin the descent into long, cold dark winter, we have something to look toward.  When March arrives, I hope we find a face as sweet as this one!

(Doyle, a 4-year-old Greyhound Shepherd mix.)


  1. I know I'm not ready to take on the responsibilities of a pet yet, but when I do, I can only hope it's a bond like the one you shared with Maggie. I always forget the effect an animal can have on a life...and then I read your blog. Thank you.

  2. Walter,
    You are an exceedingly kind and sensitive individual, as shown by your writing. When you do bring an animal companion into your home, you will both provide much joy to each others' lives. I hope it is soon! Thank you for commenting.