Every so often, you have a flashback that brings back memories that are worth sharing. Today as I sat in church, one of our members who has a service dog, got up and made her way out of the sanctuary. Thinking she might have anticipated a moment of unbalance, which her dog is trained to help her with, I followed her into the nartex to offer assistance. As it turned out, she had detected that her dog was about to have a gas attack. (He must have “pooted” in church, something I was told never to do as a child). So…as it turned out this was a false alarm and she and her dog made it to open air. However…for some reason it reminded me of Maggie, my dog and beloved companion. It dawned on me that 7 years ago tomorrow, I had acted on an impulse to drive 5 hours south and rescue a pretty Border Collie I had seen on an animal rescue website.
I had been looking for some time for just the right dog and her photo had connected with me instantly. It didn’t matter that she was 5 hours away and came with a $150.00 adoption fee or that I had to have a home visit from a local volunteer and a letter from my vet. All that mattered, from the moment I saw her, was that I did whatever was necessary to connect the two of us. When I pulled into the driveway at her foster home, which was just outside of Newberry, S.C., Maggie was waiting for me with her leash, a partial bag of food and a smile that continues to this day to warm my old goat heart. She hopped into the front seat of my pickup, laid her head in my lap and we set out for home. Since that time we have been joined at the heart. She is lying here at my feet as I recount this tale and continues to bring joy to me to this day. There are many important things in my life: my sons, my grandchildren, all my family, my church and the good friends I have. But…I gotta tell you all, nobody loves me like Maggie.
It’s just a simple fact. If you have not experienced the love of a dog, your life is incomplete. I am involved in a local spay and neuter clinic, that exists simply to reduce the numbers of stray dogs from the brutal death that so often comes with a trip to county animal shelters. I tell you that, simply to encourage you to find it in your heart as we start a new year, to adopt an animal from a local shelter. No matter what you call it, euthanasia is final. They never get another chance to greet you at the door with a wagging tail and some wet face licks or crawl up in your lap for some loving. I could go on and on about the agony of a one way trip to the animal shelter, but…save us the time. Adopt a dog this year and then try to be the person they think you are, and we’ll talk again next New Year’s.