Sometimes rescue is hard. Sometimes it doesn’t come easy.
As I put the final touches on my next book, due to the publisher December 1 (and if all goes well, released July 2020), I’ve spent a lot of time remembering one particular dog who changed my life. Gala was with us for over eleven months, but truly she has never left my heart.
The new book, One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues (and yes, that is a mouthful and no, it wasn’t up to me), begins with Gala. Up until Gala, fostering had been mostly fun, occasionally stressful, but ultimately a win-win for all parties involved.
Every now and again, the dog-thing gets a bit overwhelming. This weekend was one of those times. It makes me pause and wonder if I’m doing too much, asking too much of my family, my own pets, my own heart.
It’s so easy to anthropomorphize dogs. (I toss that big word out there as if I didn’t have to look up the spelling and be sure I was using it correctly. It means to attribute human characteristics and purposes to inanimate objects, plants, and animals.)
We imagine we know a dog’s motives, emotions. We think we can read its expressions, sense its moods, understand why it responds the way it does, even interpret its feelings. (I’ve been anthropomorphizing Gracie for years — but who knows what really goes through that little head of hers.)
This week confirmed for me once again that dogs, like people, are mysteries. It is nearly impossible to know another person’s heart, let alone a dog’s, and twice as easy to imagine that we do. We assume based on our own experiences and bias, but in reality we’re wrong as much as we’re blessed with a lucky guess or two.
Ever since our little cow puppy emerged, clearly different from the rest, it has been a magical journey.
Not only was his color different, but his hair was longer and softer, his head shaped differently and his body, well, wider is the kind way of putting it. His enormous hind feet sported six toes and he seemed to need to sleep much more than the other pups.