We have a dozen animals in our house. That’s not including the little mices that sneak in every winter. Seven dogs, 2 cats and 3 parakeets. Maggie is a foster dog. Peanut and Daisy are foster failures. Ozzie was adopted from the Oregon Humane Society, Bo Peep was also from OHS via a raided puppy mill. Taz, my sister’s dog came from Illinois with her. The parakeets, Clyde, DewDrop and Buddelia were rescues. The cats, Sparky and Spooky were strays that we adopted. We are animal people. Our home and lives revolve around the animals. Activities, work schedules, vacations, holidays. My closest friends are animal people. I met my best friends by dog introductions.
The newest addition to our house is a little gray poodle called Smokey. His owner, Barbara and Smokey had been inseparable. They watched TV and shared pop tarts in bed. For 15 years they were side by side and Smokey was there when Barbara passed. I just can’t but wonder what he was feeling as she drifted out of his life. Sadness. Confusion. Pain. A part of him left with her.
I saw his picture on Facebook. He was with a rescue but was looking for a permanent home for the rest of his days. I knew we really, really didn’t need another dog in the house (with the fosters and all) but Smokey struck a chord with me. Our father died and his little dog was by his side when he passed and my Aunt adopted Oreo so that she could watch over him. I felt the same way about Smokey.
I have known a couple of Smokeys in my life. Two of them belonged to my landlady, Mrs. Barry. Smokey 1 and Smokey 2. I also had a little stray cat I named Smokey.
When I saw THIS Smokey’s picture on Facebook, I thought that I would love to love that little dog until the end. He deserves that much. Since I work from home most of the time and my sister and others are here to help, he would never be alone.
When he first arrived he was subdued and his breathing was labored. He was stressed but I knew he would feel at home soon. I could see he was still confused by the new surroundings but he settled down for a long nap. All the dogs accepted him right away and he didn’t have any issue with them except when they got in his face too quickly. Our foster, Maggie is especially motherly towards him. It is so sweet to see her checking him every now and then.
He sleeps in the bed with me and Ozzie. My perfect boy Ozzie is a larger fellow and yet is so gentle and careful not to step on Smokey. Ozzie has a way of expressing his disapproval with the new arrangement and yet he puts up with it and is quite gentlemanly about it. Even Ozzie knows that being compassionate sometimes means making sacrifices.
There is something about the older dogs that just tears me apart. I can’t bear to think of them alone and unloved at the end of their days.
Before, this current pack, I had three seniors that I lost a year apart. Had them all their entire lives. I was with them when they passed. I watch them go from just a little slowing down through deafness and incontinence. There is something so precious about being able to love them so that the last thing they know is love.
I suppose someone else might have come along and adopted Smokey. I didn’t need another dog. But Smokey needed someone and I wanted it to be me.
You can’t save them all. But you can be all to the one you save.