Yesterday was my birthday. At least that’s what the family decided. One year ago, they adopted me. And since best guess was I was one year old then, that makes me two. They decided the date wasn’t really important. Rather, they picked the day of the week they brought me home. And who wouldn’t want their birthday to always fall on a Saturday? Monday birthdays bite. Happy birthday! See you at supper.
It was a great birthday. The weather was perfect and everyone was happy out in the yard all day. They raked leaves. I chewed on a tasty b-day bone. I lay in the sun. They scratched my tummy. They let me have pumpkin bread. And today we all went to my favorite dogpark. I have a good life.
Life wasn’t always good. A year ago I didn’t know which way was up. I was a rescue dog. One of the lucky ones. But I didn’t feel lucky at the time.
I don’t like to talk about my past. Suffice it to say I wasn’t wanted. I was an “owner surrender” to a high kill pound in Kentucky. I found myself transported north where it was bitterly cold and gray. I got kennel cough. Only the fleas seemed to love me. I fell hard for my foster family. Yet every week I suffered overwhelming adoption events with strangers poking and patting and tugging …seeing if they could love me.
I wasn’t really all that impressed by the family that forced me into their car. I tried to make myself small. I didn’t eat for days. I thought their creepy cats were going to eat me when I shut my eyes. I got shuffled around to other nice families while mine went off somewhere. I was surprised when they came back. I kept waiting for the next change.
I can’t really say when I relaxed. But I did. People say that dogs live in the moment. Dogs always forgive. Dogs love you no matter what. Maybe. Maybe not. I am pretty sure that bulldog who tore off his owner’s face last week had some unresolved issues. But I do think that there is something to be said for moving forward with a healthy dose of dog optimism.
I listen to the people around me talking and talking about their pasts, agonizing over the details of their feelings, forever analyzing their encounters as they mine the depths of their dissatisfaction. They slice and dice everything that has happened to them to try to understand why they are unhappy, why they fear abandonment or why they just can’t settle down or, or, or...
Maybe they are rescue dogs too. Maybe they have not always been cherished and safe. But maybe they are also the lucky ones—plucked from the pound and given another day. The real question is: if someone hands you a nice smoked bone, can you give yourself over to the utter joy of gnawing it in a patch of unexpected sunshine?