Adopting a New Dog

It was just about ten years ago when Dottie Weaver, founder of Color Country Animal Welfare, rescued a beautiful Border collie mix she saw being dumped on the highway. Dottie knew I had recently lost an Australian shepherd of whom I was very fond. She thought I needed another dog, and she was right—I did. And so I took Mari. I had thought I would never love a dog as much as I had loved the Aussie, but I was wrong. Mari stole my heart despite her worrisome penchant for getting out of the yard and running at top speed all over the countryside. But Mari was never very healthy and lived a mere seven years with me before dying from kidney failure.

Going through the experience of Mari gradually deteriorating and then dying rather horribly made me decide I would never have another dog—their deaths were just too painful. So I limped along for a couple of years without a dog companion, enjoying the greater freedom to pick up and leave home when I felt like it, the monetary savings, and the extra ‘me. However, this summer I began to feel that I should reconsider my pronouncement. (It may have had something to do with the dream where Mari told me I should get another dog.)

In any case one day when I went to visit my friend Barb Altum, who volunteers and fosters dogs for CCAW, this engaging dog was at the gate, obviously eager for attention. Not wanting to be tempted I paid him no attention, but as I visited with Barb, I kept getting up to look out the window. I couldn’t ignore my response to this dog. Suddenly all my reasons for not getting another dog seemed to vanish, and within days I was willing to commit to taking this recently rescued dog, but with one condition: the dog had to like music. I’m a cellist, classically trained, and any pet has to be OK with the cello and my kind of music. So I took my cello over to Barb’s and started to play. When the dog came over and lay down at my feet, that was the clincher.

I brought him home, he checked out the entire yard, approved it, and then we went in the house. He investigated every room, sniffed carefully at the cello, found his new water bowl, then gave a great sigh as he found the window-nook bed and made himself at home. As the saying goes, the rest is history. Yes, there are a few minor behavior problems to be worked out still, but his adoption of me has been just as total as my adoption of him. Now I can’t imagine why I thought the greater freedom and monetary savings had seemed so important. And as far as I can tell, he thinks there is no place on earth quite as good as home.

Bonnie Mangold