“Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles Shultz
Last summer, our family was heartbroken over the unexpected loss of our beloved dog, Jack. For eleven years, the dog we rescued when he was just two-years-old filled our home with unconditional love, muddy paw prints in the spring, and a whole-body-wiggle greeting when we walked in the door. He provided security and companionship. Especially for me, working from home.
He fiercely protected our home, and I wish I could put into words how vulnerable I felt after his death. I missed having an alarm system – a.k.a. relentless barking – anytime someone was near our home. It was eerily quiet.
Unbeknownst to me, our youngest daughter – who would bring home every dog needing a home if she could – was pouring over dog rescue sites, looking for the perfect pooch to adopt.
One dreary afternoon, she popped her laptop in front of me.
“Mom, look at him!”
There, in front of me, was the most adorable looking puppy.
His name was Larry.
Now, that may strike you as an odd name, but his foster family was caring for three puppies from the same litter. And because they were rambunctious and hilarious to watch, they were dubbed “The Three Stooges,” and aptly named Larry, Curly and Moe. They were rescued from a “kill shelter” in Ohio. It was during the time period when rescue shelters nationwide were working desperately to empty their shelters to take on rescues from Texas, where pets were being rescued from devasting flood waters and turmoil created by Hurricane Harvey. Michigan was expecting a lot of dogs, so the rescue Larry and his brothers belonged to were trying to adopt out before more dogs arrived.
We had a quick family meeting and decided we would pursue adopting Larry. His face was just the sweetest, and he was described as being the calmer, older sibling of the three. We felt we could help out the shelters while mending our hearts. It had been almost three months that we lost Jack. I admit that I felt a little guilty. I knew in my heart we could never replace Jack, and I believe that he – being a rescue himself – would not have felt slighted by us opening our home to another.
I like to think how this all unfolded was divine intervention.
Everyone called my dad Larry, though it wasn’t his given name. And, he was born in June.
I was shaking a bit when I filled out the application for Larry the Dog. I was excited, yet nervous. Getting a pet through a rescue can be a bit of a challenge. Forms, paperwork, a short essay, a home visit. My daughter and I penned the essay for the rescue, while mentally listing what needed to be puppy-proofed in the house and yard. We had never had a puppy. We had only adopted older adult dogs from the local humane society.
The rescue acted quickly. Less than a half-hour after we submitted the application for Larry, they called for a phone interview. Then they did a vet check and scheduled the home visit for the next day.
About an hour before the home visit, a volunteer from the rescue called to let us know she was on her way. There was something familiar about her voice, and as I looked at the caller ID, the name seemed familiar, too.
I was pretty nervous about the home visit, because sight unseen, I was already attached to Larry the Dog. In my heart, he was already a member of the family. The home visit would make or break the deal. What if I said something stupid? What if the house wasn’t clean enough? Did we forget to put something away that could hurt our new puppy, Larry?
The moment of truth arrived as the volunteer from the rescue was knocking at the door. Like nervous new parents, we let her in.
My anxiety melted away.
For standing there in our home was a woman I knew from our former community newspaper. I had worked with her before, indirectly, as she was the publisher. She said we looked familiar to her. When my husband explained how we all worked at the paper, she was able to piece things together. She also recognized my husband from a speech he gave at a Rotary Club meeting – an event she covered for an online publication.
As things were falling into place, I mentioned that my dad had worked at the paper, too.My heart sunk. I had told myself not to get too attached to a #puppy that was a maybe – that anything could happen – and yet, I did it anyways. Click To Tweet
“What’s your dad’s name?” she asked.
She immediately knew who he was. Since she didn’t know he had passed away, she hadn’t made the connection in our essay about divine intervention and Larry the Dog until that very moment.
We walked through the house and yard. In the basement and in the garage. We talked about newspapers and dogs and obedience school and veterinarians.
We bid farewell, and she told us the rescue would contact us and let us know the next steps.
An hour later, the phone rang, and we were invited to go meet Larry the next day. If we bonded, we could bring him home. Our daughter was out the door in minutes. An hour later she returned, hauling in a small dog bed, a tiny collar, food dishes and leash and a little ID tag. And puppy toys. Lots of puppy toys.
The next day, my daughter and I drove about an hour away to meet – and hopefully adopt – Larry.
Twenty minutes from our destination, I got an email from the foster mom.
“Larry and Moe have been adopted. You are still welcome to visit with Curly.”
My heart sunk. I had told myself not to get too attached to a puppy that was a maybe – that anything could happen – and yet, I did it anyways.
We decided to continue, since we were almost there.
I think the foster mom saw the disappointment on our faces as she greeted us in her yard.
“You come highly recommended,” she said. “I hope that you like Curly. I believe he is the cutest of the litter, but he is very energetic. I think that’s why his brothers were adopted first.”
Within seconds, a door opened and a little ball of furry energy was running to greet us.
It was love at first sight.
Any disappointment we had over losing Larry was gone. Here in our arms was this wonderful, adorable puppy, whom we named Remington.
So, on a perfectly gorgeous fall afternoon, we signed all the paperwork, took lots of pictures, put Remington’s tiny little collar on him and headed home.
The rescue didn’t really know when he was born and estimated his age at adoption was 15 weeks. Which would give him a June birthday. The same month as my dad’s. We decided that we would celebrate Remington’s birthday on Dad’s birthday. What was once a sad day of remembrance will now be eased with some joy.
I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe God gave us dogs because they love unconditionally. They are loyal and protective. They are wonderful companions, and good listeners. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that dog is God spelled backwards. I believe we get a glimpse into Heaven with each dog we love.I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that dog is God spelled backwards. I believe we get a glimpse into Heaven with each dog we love. Click To Tweet
What joy this puppy brings: unconditional love, muddy paw prints in the spring, a whole-body-wiggle greeting when we walk in the door. He provides security and companionship. Especially for me, working from home.
And I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that we found our new dog – when our hearts needed healing most – with a little help from Larry. Who was born in June. Times two.
© Lynne Cobb – 2018
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