Once upon a time back on New Years Day 2010, a furry golden ray of sunshine showed up at our door, lost. It had been snowing non-stop since the day before, New Years Eve. We were in the middle of a blizzard. After the festivities from the night before Tim and I were having a quiet night to ourselves, or so we thought.
It was around 10 at night when our neighbour showed up on our deck…and that was when I first saw her. Appearing beside him in the window was the cutest, snowiest, fluffy monster my eyes had ever beheld. It was love at first sight.
For three agonizing days we searched for her owners. On Monday we got a phone call. When he got off the phone he said it was her owner, and they called her Shasta. The last 24 hours we had been calling her Irish, because she responded to the name right away. She never came to us when we called her Shasta, we might as well have been yelling nonsense at her. Her first question I guess was “do you find her really hyper”? She was asleep on the carpet in the hall and hadn’t moved in two hours. “No” he responded, “she’s very well-behaved, she’s playful, but no, not overly hyper”. I guess this shocked her.
The story was that they had been away visiting family over Christmas and her parents had been looking after the dog. They returned home New Years day in the morning but she had to turn around and go back out to the neighbours a couple of concessions over to pick something up. Well, I guess the kids accidentally let her out and they figured she chased after the vehicle until she got lost in the snow for the afternoon. She then must have taken one of the snowmobile trails up behind the lake. Our neighbour that night had been barbecuing and she must have smelled it and just followed her nose. He had thought maybe we knew where she belonged.
So the old owner showed up that night after work. However as we talked she explained how her son was allergic to her. Not just a bit either, but serious enough that he had to be hospitalized for almost 2 weeks during that December of 2009. The doctor had told them they would need to get rid of the dog.
I remember the look of surprise and relief on her face when we said we would love to keep her. She was like, “really”?? I guess Irish had NOT been a very good listener, was hyper spaz and jumped up on the kids all the time; oh, and chased cars. Bad dog. Well, I’ve got my opinions on that, but lets just say she is NONE of those things today.
To be fair to her old owner, they were overwhelmed by her. As her old owner was walking away I could see she was crying. Irish stood at the window and watched her go. She whined too and than she got really agitated. This was the only human she knew and loved since she came home with them as a puppy. It broke my heart, but I knew they couldn’t keep her and that here she was loved by all.
We didn’t know than about Tim’s cancer, that knowledge was still 1 1/2 years away.
A couple of months ago her old owner showed up at the door. Tim was in the living room asleep. He had a really bad night; this was a month before he died. She had her oldest son with her, and she had a picture she wanted to give me [Irish as a puppy, below]. As her car pulled away out of the drive, Irish cried, and cried. She remembered them. It took me almost 15 minutes to calm her down. As I told her old owner, she was a precious gift given to us.
Now here I am, coming up on our third anniversary. I don’t know what I would do without her. Last night she slept right beside me, as close as she could get. Like she knew I was upset and needed the comfort of her warm body. She doesn’t stay the night because she gets too hot, but she stayed I guess until I fell asleep. In the morning she was curled up in her crate as always.
“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.” Robert Louis Stevenson