In my house, on your birthday, you get to pick whatever you want for dinner. This includes my rescued fur baby Watson who just celebrated his 2nd Birthday. Watson came to us at the begging of my daughter Sierra. We had lost our Border Collie, Kipper, a few months before and his 14 years of love and devotion to us had definitely left us with a void. My daughter was searching furiously for a new four legged family member. I wasn’t sure we were ready, but I humored her. I insisted it had to be a boy, and it had to be another rescue. She landed upon this little lad who was being fostered by a shelter employee. He was born in a shelter 2 states away and had been bounced around quite a bit. He needed a forever home and someone to love.
Inevitably, Sierra and I drove the two and a half hours to go get him. The Foster Mom said he like blankets and Teddy Bears so we brought along both. Even on the way down I still had my reservations. Was I ready for this again? I had just stopped tearing up whenever I found one of Kippers toys under the furniture. Sierra would be leaving for college. How would she handle the separation? What if he wasn’t as wonderful as Kipper? We arrived and the Foster Mom handed me this little bundle of black fluff. He was so tiny. I mean really really tiny. He looked me in the eyes and stuck his tongue out. Then he gently, licked my nose and waited for my reaction. A smile covered my face, tears filled my eyes and I fell in love instantly. He nuzzled his head into my shoulder and moved only when Sierra took him from me. From that first cuddle, and timid little kiss, I knew this relationship would be special. We stopped at the pet store for a new bed and pretty much anything else he seemed mildly interested in. The bear we brought him was bigger than he was but he snuggled it for the whole ride home on Sierra’s lap. The next weeks were full of him exploring and learning and growing into a rambunctious yet snugly companion and us cooing and spoiling and turning into the “puparazzi”.
About a year later, my daughter now away at college, I fell into a pretty deep depression. It was then that I knew the reason Watson was brought into my life. For months and months he never left my side. If I stayed in bed for days so did he, curled up against me. He would lay for hours and just let me pet him. On dreary days he would settle on the couch because he knew we would be under blankets and reading for the day. He would bring me his favorite toys and shove them under my arm to hold. Sometimes he would make me get up to take him outside and then he’d just sit in the sunlight and wait for me to get off the porch and sit in grass with him for a while. I think he knew better than me what I needed. He would roll his ball across the floor to get me up and playing with him. He snuggled me when I screamed into pillows, kissed my tears away and gave me looks that told me he knew I’d be okay. And I am okay. Well, okay-er anyway, and my little man is still right by my side. My daughter claims that she knew, somehow, that I was going to need this puppy and that was why she was so insistent. She knew that Watson and I were going to help each other, and she knew we would take care of each other while she was away.
So they saying goes… Who really rescued who?
Watson’s second birthday was a celebration of everything he returned to this family. The joy of having a dog in our home again, and the love and kindness he inspires. He got gift bags full of toys and treats and a special crown that he thankfully kept on the whole time! Yes, we wore party hats. We played with balloons and sang to him. He of course got a dinner of his favorite stuff. I made him a turkey and oatmeal “meatloaf” cupcake with some piped sweet potato frosting and shredded cheese sprinkles. He seemed to really love it. He got extra kisses and extra treats and I thanked him over and over for all the selfless love he has given me. He was so excited and proud. Its not that he doesn’t get attention ALL the time anyway, but I think he knew this was a special day for him. For me it was a way to say thank you for all the concern and therapy he has provided this past year. I don’t think I would have made it through the last 10 months without that little bundle of fuzz.
Call it a premonition on Sierra’s part, or divine intervention by my angel Kipper, but me and this little goofy snug bug were meant to find each other. Dogs, all animals really, have a way of opening our hearts wider than we ever thought possible. Animals, unlike humans, will love others more than they love themselves. Anyone who has ever experienced this relationship with an animal has been changed on some level for the better. We think we are doing a noble thing, rescuing this animal from abuse, or a shelter, or the cold. But the noble thing, the most beautiful thing, is that they manage to rescue us right back.