Looks like I skipped a few years, although the plan was to add an update every January for the duration of (at least) Daisy’s life. I hate to appear flakey! Well, I will try to make up for the missing entries this time around I guess.
Where to start… Lots have happened in Daisy’s world in the past three years. After Barney’s tragic death in July 2015, as a family, we could not even fathom having another dog around, ever again. We memorialized Barney on the bedroom dresser with his collar the clay of his paw print our vet gave us, and the wooden box of his ashes; we made his various pictures our lock screen slides, changed our passwords to combinations of tidbits of information about him, put a memory stone in the back yard where he used to like to sleep in the shade… The pain of his ruthless absence was so persistent, so unbearable that we attempted to help lighten the weight of loss by infusing the tangible shadows of his life into all corners of our days.
Grief is an interesting process in that the pain of the significant loss never really goes away, but the grip of it loosens over time, to allow for more freedom to do what used to be unimaginable. The reminders of him are still all over our lives today, but by fall of 2016, we had started to talk about rescuing a dog that would draw a straight line between his death and a life-giving act… May be an subconscious effort to attempt to erase death, his death from our lives. At a leisurely pace, we registered with lab rescue organization and casually, over the weekends, started to visit the local Humane Society websites.
The first serious attempt was in November 2016, when a big beautiful lab called us to meet him. While we were making arrangements to meet him in person, from the pictures, his story, and what his foster mom was telling us over the phone about him, we were so convinced he was our boy that we even named him Hank. Hank was homeless when he was found, had been starving and had heart worm that needed treatment. All good with us; we have plenty of food, love, and means to provide medical care to make it work for him. We so wanted to rescue Hank! We drove over an hour to meet him at his foster home with Daisy. We wanted to make sure we got Daisy’s OK for Hank too; but knowing Daisy’s easy going, friendly demeanor, we really had no concerns. We had an extra leash and harness for Hank, because we was surely coming home with us and we wanted to make sure we were well prepared, Incase what he was currently using needed to stay with the foster family.
Hank watched us park the car through the glass door of his foster home. We immediately started our expected “ooo”s and “awww”s even before we turned off the engine. He looked regal, handsome, and ours… from afar. We put on Daisy’s harness and leash, and got her out the car; which is when Hank started growling from inside the house. By the time his foster mom got him on a leash and came out to meet us, Hank looked like he was ready to eat Daisy. Poor Daisy did not understand what was happening. She kept looking at us and Hank, appearing to ask if we were also seeing what was happening. Coming down the little hill from the foster home door to the road, the foster mom had a hard time trying to hold on to Hank while he kept his eyes trained on Daisy, canine teeth showing with a murderous expression and a terrifying growl. He kept charging toward Daisy, which shocked all the humans. The foster mom kept apologizing and reiterating that he has been a gentle, sweet soul, with no prior indication of any form of aggression if any kind before in as many different ways as she could, as fast as she could.
We decided to go for a walk all together, to see if he would calm down. Daisy kept trying to put at least one human between herself and Hank, never leaving him out of her sight. After a 30 minute walk in the cold, dark neighborhood, Hank still tried his best to get to Daisy and Daisy still seemed terrified, so we accepted that we were screened out by Hank; he just did not want to live with this particular configuration. The four young kids of the foster home were thrilled, so it is also possible that he knew he belonged with his kids and that family, so that was what he was communicating.
After the Hank adventure, we fell back to casual, half-interested search. On Martin Luther King day in January 2017, we woke up to the last day of the long weekend. Sipping the morning coffees, discussing which movie to see later in the day, we pulled up Humane Society website. Immediately a black-and-white mutt, with striking honey colored eyes and very similar to Daisy’s expression caught our eye. He was called Arrow. We thought he would fit in nicely with the rest of our household…After all, we had a black-and-white Daisy, and a black-and-white grumpy old man called Phoenix.
After Daisy’s all-important and routine walk and fetching games, we went to meet Arrow. When we mentioned him at the front desk of the Humane Society, they said someone had just adopted him, that his papers were being processed so we could see him, but that we missed the chance to adopt him. Seeing our faces fall and feeling a certain amount of pressure to find good homes for their residents, the staff member asked us to walk around and see if another dog catches our eye. We met Seymour during this tour, a 7 year old small, wiry, terrier type pooch. He was very cute, with huge ears. He was shy but it did not take long for him to settle comfortably on our lap. The staff member encouraged us to seriously consider him, as he had not had luck with others who wanted to meet him. We reluctantly agreed to give it a try; but as soon as he left to get Seymour’s papers, among tears and apologies and some significant distress, we had to inform him that Seymour was not the right dog.
Heart-broken, we went to the car when the cell phone started dinging in response to incoming texts. Out of the blue, our dog sitter who takes care of our kids when we travel was sending us a listed dog’s information. The family could not take care of her anymore and they were looking to sell her. The timing of this was so bizarre that we decided to go meet her. When we asked for more information about the contact information of the owners so we could make arrangements, in addition to the contact information, the picture of a cute little yellow lab came back. Wow!
We went home, called the owners, made an appointment. The owner said the little lab’s name is Daisy too, and that she is 8 months old. He said they had to move to an apartment and that they had another dog in addition to two kids, so they did not have room for little Daisy anymore. Later that day, we took our Daisy and hit the road again. We found them in an apartment complex. The two Daisy’s immediately met each other with wagging tails. The next thing we knew, they were chancing balls with equal enthusiasm, but without any tension between them. Whoever ran faster during that round brought back the ball, the other one simply followed. The little Daisy was equally warm and friendly with us immediately. We were sold! No further information about anything was asked; with no idea about health history, shot records, training experience, we wrote a check… Which is never advisable and not very smart, but who cares, we had found our kid! When it was time to get in the car and go home with our girls, it was hard to see the family’s apparent distress that they were trying so hard to hide from us. They really did love their Daisy, and if they could think of a way, I am certain they would keep her.
The trip home was uneventful. The first challenge for little Daisy was the request for her to go through the narrow space through the garage to get in to the house. It took some work but she did it. She walked around, sniffing everything, including Phoenix, which was not appreciated at all. She was anxious and jumpy for a long while. Very shortly after we noticed how bloated her tummy was, she threw up large amount of dog food. Afterwards, when we got to know her a little, it was not hard to see how she probably ate her dinner, then got into the food bag for more when no one was looking. When it was bed time, big sister Daisy gave her crate to the little Daisy, as the “after the fact texts” with her past owners revealed that she does not settle down at night unless she is confined. She had some hesitation about the crate, but it was not a big deal once we put in freshly washed quilt and towels that did not smell like our Daisy. She laid down in the crate, which was when I saw little ripples in her tummy. We immediately texted again, with the old owners, to ask if it was possible that she was pregnant. He said she was never in heat, so it was not possible. He had a convoluted story about how she had no vet records, but that she was healthy and had all the shots; so the next day immediately she paid a visit to our vet. She got all her shots, and the mystery of the little ripples in her belly was solved. She was full of round worms! We had to let the old owners know as they had a toddler and an infant in the same tight space with little Daisy for a long time. That was the last message we sent, as we did not get a response back… May be, in our efforts to try to be helpful, we offended them? We will never know. It took a while to get this little girl totally healthy, but we never regretted adopting her one second. Along the way, we changed her name to Bailey, so the two girls did not have the same name.
Bailey quickly fell in love with Daisy and started cuddling. Daisy became her role model, her best friend, her wrestling, fetching and tugging buddy very quickly. Every once in a while Daisy told her off in the beginning, but they figured it out. Now 99% of the time, she seems to enjoy Bailey thoroughly.
There is nothing quite like stretching out together on the bed with your best friend every morning.
And then, Daisy sometimes wants to have space; her own bed for a short amount of time. She does not want to have to share her space with anyone! During these moments, Phoenix’s beds come to her rescue; and she has no concerns about appearances!
Daisy is still the champ of fetching, at age five. The two year old Bailey starts fast, not allowing Daisy to get any balls, but it’s almost like Daisy knows Bailey’s endurance can’t compete with hers. She lets Bailey get the ball while she just enjoys the run after it. Half way through, when Bailey starts slowing, everything changes. She starts getting most, if not all of the balls, running back and forth just as fast as it was the first ball throw of the day!
This year Daisy need a teeth cleaning for the first time… First sign she is not a young pup any more. Every once in a blue moon the thought of how she is going to age and leave us one day crosses my mind; it takes my breath away. I quickly change the subject in my head, refocusing on the moment’s joy and how thankful I am that she is a healthy, happy little girl. She is so loved, she is so precious to us!
Happy New Year! Wishing everyone peace and a kind world in 2019.