A welcome stranger

Call it karma, fate or divine intervention –  no matter the name, someone is really making things happen.

The kids and I said good-bye to our dear Bridget, a 9-year-old Newfoundland, in July. Arthritis and finally cancer had made our happy pet live a life filled with pain and we couldn’t watch her suffer.

Max, the Lab/Border Collie mix that grew up with Bridget, had a difficult time adjusting. He’s become my shadow, never leaving my side when I am at home. He begs for food more, and is more destructive when we are gone (I’ll be replacing my back door this spring).

I’d been thinking of getting him – more than us – another dog, but what? We’re not “little dog” people, but are we really ready for another big dog? What if we were to skip the “giant” breeds and go to “large,” like Labs or Shepards?

Then there are all those other issues: Max now gets to ride with us when we go away for the weekend, and with two dogs that wouldn’t be possible; Max has started enjoying being “the only child” and getting spoiled with the extra attention; and there’s always the financial issue, I’m saving close to $20 each month on dog food alone.

Then karma/fate/God intervened.

A neighbor stopped by my house Monday night wondering if I’d lost a big dog. As I was holding Max back, I told him that no, we no longer had anyone other than Max. He proceeded to tell me a large dog, “I mean Great Dane big!”, had showed up at his house earlier that day and wouldn’t leave.

This neighbor and his wife and young son live with his parents and another sibling in a small house around the corner. They already have three small dogs, “and we really can’t take in another dog – and this one’s too big for me to know what to do with.”

Without thinking, I said, “Go get him.”

As I watched him walking the dog to my house, my eyes began to well up. I called the kids into the kitchen so they could see.

My neighbor was bringing us a young Newfoundland.

I was surprised at the dog’s appearance. It was well-groomed, happy, healthy and had a collar. Someone was missing this dog.

I set about making phone calls – the sheriff’s office, the nearby veterinarian, neighbors – and e-mailed a friend on the Cedar Valley Humane Society’s board. The next morning, complete with migraine, I made a few more calls. I talked to someone at the Humane Society who told me that yes, they did have a lost dog report that matched the animal in my home.

I called both the cell and home  numbers and at 4:30 that afternoon I got the call. The owner, in tears, told me she never thought she’d see her dog again. About an hour later she and her husband were there to pick up the Newfoundland now known as “Bear.”

I think we’re ready now to welcome another giant breed into our home. My son, when he first saw Bear, said to me, “What are the odds that another Newfoundland would find us in Coggon?”

What are the odds, indeed.

This weekend we meet a female Newfie whose family moved to the city and can’t keep her. She and Max will ultimately decide whether this is going to be a transition that will work.

I’m really hoping it does.

1 Comment

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One response to “A welcome stranger

  1. dennis barrett

    “Dogs aren’t our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
    “Old men mourn many dogs.”
    I’ve mourned too many in my years. No it doesn’t get easier. A new dog doesn’t replace the divot in your heart, but it does throw new seed over the hole.


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