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Rescued Dogs | Short Time, Long Love

Rescued Dogs | Short Time, Long Love
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Wolfie and Cheyenne were German shepherds, already old and infirm, who’d slept in the barn no matter how cold the night, when the author and his wife took them in.

Wolfie and Cheyenne
Photo/Art by Ann K. Casselman
So there’s me, and I’m pulling into this unknown driveway. It’s off somewhere on the edge of Vermont, and two large German shepherds are loping my way to see what’s going on. A lot of people might want to rethink this situation.

I didn’t. I was in real estate, and just a little focused. I was showing this very house to a woman who was, well, very interested. She wanted to see this particular house beyond all things, and there was nothing much to say beyond that except “Nice doggie.”

Actually, she did say that. What I did was sort of tiptoe my way up to the house, as I wondered how these dogs would feel when I let myself in.

As it happened, the dogs showed me right to the door and waited expectantly while I tried to find the right key. As soon as the door began to open, they bulled ahead and pushed their way inside. I later learned that this was because the dogs were never allowed in the house, and simply seized the opportunity.

And the dogs did love being in the house.

Actually, the woman did, too. With good reason: The atrium-style living room wrapped around a fireplace that looked out at the wilderness through large picture windows. She kept walking around saying, “I love it, I love it.” Then she stopped, looked out at the hills beyond the lake outside, and said, “I love it. The problem is, it’s not … near anything.”

I agreed. The difference was, that was exactly what I loved about it. I said goodbye to the dogs–and the woman–and took my wife, Ann, out to see the house the next day. We bought it that weekend. The dogs welcomed us to our new home.

Photo/Art by Ann K. Casselman
The only thing left was to work out a few extras with the owner: rugs, boats, tools, lawn furniture, the all-terrain vehicle, and the dogs, whom we now knew as Wolfie and Cheyenne. The dogs? Yes, the dogs. They had, she said, actually belonged to her partner, a man named Todd, who had passed away less than a year earlier. “Died right there in that closet,” she observed. Just possible that’s why she was selling the house in the first place.

Got it. But the dogs were his dogs, she said, and they were old dogs, probably 10 or 11, and she was going to try to give them “away.”

It didn’t seem promising. People don’t usually adopt dogs of that age, much less big dogs like German shepherds, who don’t usually live much beyond that. It wasn’t looking good for Wolfie and Cheyenne. However … I caught a quick glimpse of Ann’s face, and without even discussing it, said, “We’ll take the dogs.”

And we did. It was a weak moment, but in retrospect it was one of the best things we ever did. Ever. Having two dogs is a lot more than twice as much fun as having one dog. You have twice as many dogs who love you. And love us they did.

The dogs were in terrible shape. Wolfie had a bad case of Lyme disease; Cheyenne had not only Lyme but a serious case of heartworm as well. Both were full of ticks and other parasites and appeared to be underfed.

Ann went right to work. After both were rigorously attended to by the local veterinarian–Dr. Mary Menard, a great lady we came to know well–Ann began a daily regimen of eggs in the morning and chicken at night. “Just for the time being,” she said. “Just for the time being.”

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Updated Friday, June 15th, 2012

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