Rescued Dogs: Short Time, Long Love
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.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.”
That “time being” lasted forever, and both dogs fell hopelessly in love with the same woman I’d fallen in love with some years earlier, when she took me in. Ann not only fed them, she took them on walks and talked to them and played ball with them–and let them in the house. Until now, they’d been outdoor dogs, and even in the dead of winter had simply slept in the unheated barn. No more. There were now big dog pillows in the house, and two very happy dogs sleeping on them. Wolfie, the ferocious-looking male, was now permanently attached to my wife’s knee, and Cheyenne, his mate, spent her days largely trying to entertain Ann with balls, toy bears, and new tricks.
It was hard to know how long either of them would actually live, but it would be great just having them as long as we could. Our neighbor Donnie Hall, who knows about such things, said not to worry, that at some point Wolfie would just crawl off into the woods and die, because that’s what these types of dogs did.
And, shortly after that, came the day Wolfie didn’t come home. Nor did he the day after that. On the third day, Ann and I were about to have dinner, and Ann was saying grace. Her voice not quite cracking, Ann made the suggestion that Wolfie should be in heaven.