Our wonderful cat, Oscar, died right after Christmas, leaving us truly heartbroken.
At almost 18 years old, he was a fixture in the family...a wise companion who had been by my side through many of life's milestones.
Thinking about getting another pet was hard...but, right away, we knew we would eventually add another animal to our mix. The house felt so empty without Osc.
A few months went by...and we began talking about getting a dog....someone different from our funny old guy....someone who would help us start a new chapter. We decided to adopt a dog from a shelter. The idea appealed to me and our 10 year old, Sam, summed it up best when he said: "It just seems like the right thing to do."
I heard about The Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, Massachusetts from a friend. One of the largest non-profit, no-kill shelters in the area, it receives literally truckloads of puppies from the south, where strays are euthanized. I began looking at the web site during quiet moments, wondering who was out there for us.
Then Sam broke his clavicle. Yup...he had a horrible fall off his bike, causing him great pain and frustration. He had just made an awesome baseball team and was devasted by this accident which would keep him out of the game for 4 to 6 weeks.
A few days after the break, I checked the shelter's web site. Dozens of puppies had just arrived! Was it a sign?! It seemed like the right time to take the plunge.
My husband flew in early from a business trip...I packed the car...and we picked the kids up from school. "We're driving to Salem," I cried, as their faces lit up. Oh boy, it wasn't an easy trip, fighting Friday evening traffic on the way past Boston. But, at 6:30pm or so, we made it...determined to find our newest family member.
The shelter was crowded...we had to wait quite awhile to be seen, as we wandered through three rooms of dogs. We were very impressed with the operation...clean, upbeat and full of volunteers, caring for the animals.
Well, we had one of those moments. Amidst all of the yipping and barking, we rounded the corner and stopped abruptly. While some dogs had companions in their stalls, a little speckled pup sat all by herself...up near the bars....as if she was quietly waiting for us. Literally, all four of us said, "Oh! Look at her! She's beautiful...so sweet!"
Lucy had found her family.
A stray from Alabama, the shelter employee described her as, "a real rescue," possibly from a ditch or under a porch. She had been treated for worms and fleas...was a little shy at first....but, she seemed to melt into our hugs...hungry for warmth and affection.
I won't lie, raising a 13 week old puppy is TOUGH, along with juggling work and kid activities. But, every time I get stressed out, this little lady with the big, black eyes gives me perspective. People ask: "What kind of dog is she?" A hound mix (maybe?)....we're not completely sure. "How big will she get?" Who knows? We're taken by her youthful energy and curious nature...simply, she's lovely.
The boys are helping out...taking on responsibility for our little girl. She makes us smile...and has definitely helped heal our hearts with her innocent exuberance.
Suddenly, those "Who Rescued Who?" bumper stickers don't seem so corny.
We get it....we feel the love.