A few weeks ago I wrote about our old dog, Buddy. I also mentioned that we had another small dog, Crickett, our 11-year old Jack Russell.
Well, Crickett died about a month ago.
It was heartbreaking to lose her – after all she, like Buddy, are members of our family. The kids basically grew up with her and she went on a number of family vacations with us over the years. Every photo album over the last decade has pictures of her under the Christmas tree, at the beach, running around the yard or sitting in someone’s lap. One of my favorite photos is of her lying on the couch completely covered up by our cats – you can only see her head sticking out, a long-suffering look on her little face.
And like our other pets, Crickett was a rescue. We found her on the side of the road one day.
Her loss left a hole in our home and in our hearts.
But life does go on – I was reminded of that again last week when Charles brought home Pepper Anne, a black and white bundle of puppy love – literally.
We thought we’d foster her for the Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter, since we’d done that before and found homes for several dogs, but after a day with her, we knew she was going to be a new member of our family.
And though I witnessed it many times, it still touches me to see an animal – this time Pepper – come to life. She was shy and timid that first day or so. Today, as I write this less than a week later she is a confident, happy, bundle of joy and energy.
You see, that’s what love does, whether it’s a person or a pet. As soon as she felt secure and cared for, she became who she was supposed to be: a happy, exuberant little dog. And pets always give more than they get. Watching and growing to love Pepper has not only lessened the pain of Crickett’s loss; it has given us joy that we can provide a home for this little dog who had no home.
I was amazed when I looked at her paperwork to find that she had been surrendered to the shelter the same day that Crickett died. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I think she was meant to be a part of our family and help to heal the loss.
She gets up every morning since she’s been home full of joy, racing around the kitchen and out in the fenced back yard, enjoying the sunshine and her new lease on life.
Animals, unlike people, don’t seem to dwell on the hard times they’ve been through. That’s a wonderful thing about them. Even if they’ve been mistreated and abandoned, most of them will respond positively to feeling loved and safe. They don’t hold a grudge and they don’t worry about the past. They accept each day for what it is and if it brings joy, they take in every moment of it they can.
Many folks want to purchase a “purebred” dog or cat and won’t consider one from the shelter. I’ve never understood this. As I said before, all of our pets are rescues. I like the feeling of providing a home to a creature that has none.
You can walk in a shelter most any day of the week and find dozens of dogs and cats, puppies and kittens that only need a chance to fill someone’s heart and home with companionship and unconditional love.
I have laughed more over the antics of Pepper this past week than I have in a long time.
If you need a companion, a friend and a new member of your family, please consider finding one in our local shelter.
I promise you, if you give it a chance you won’t be sorry.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.