We are caring for Shadow, my neighbor Kay’s little rescue doggie, while Kay is on vacation. He could not have a more appropriate name. This sweet little creature stays by my side every moment. (He is sleeping, curled up on my foot right now.)
I haven’t had a dog since I left my farm home in Illinois over six years ago. Before that, I was never without dogs (and cats.) At our farm in Illinois, there were four dogs when I left, three labs and a terrier, Suzy. Leaving that terrier was really tough, but my circumstances were so chaotic and my future so unknown I didn’t feel right taking Suzy from her happy home to “fall off the cliff” with me.
Shadow reminds me of Suzy. He is about the same size, color, and shape and they are both rescue dogs. I have had several rescue dogs and they seem to have an appreciation for their good fortune. It is as if they know that their fate was hanging by a thin thread until their rescuer saved them and gave them a safe and loving home. I see that look of loving appreciation in Shadow’s eyes when he looks up at me, even though I am only his temporary mom.
Last night, our first night with Shadow, he followed us to bed, jumped up and snuggled right down into my belly as I lay on my side. This is exactly what my cat Lemur, who died six weeks ago, used to do. I slept really well last night!
It is an interesting coincidence that on the same day Shadow came to stay with us, we adopted two kittens. We are picking them up next week. They are part of the litter of a feral cat the local post office staff cares for. It was a spontaneous decision to get them. A friend who came to my yoga class on Sunday morning told me the post office was looking for homes for the kittens and I didn’t hesitate. We went to see them yesterday and made the decision. It just felt right, and why would anyone get one kitten when they can have two!
Since Lemur died I have been waiting for a cat to appear…my animal friends have usually found me, rather than the other way around. We are feeding a feral cat that prowls the property. I call him Panther. I don’t think Panther will ever become a house cat…he is one of those wild animals that seem happy to retain their freedom and don’t seem to need or want human touch. He is a joy to watch as he prowls the rocky hillside stalking rodents and looking every bit a miniature black panther. Bit by bit he is trusting us as the ones who put food out for him.
I am nurtured by animals. They rescue me from myself! Perhaps it is my mothering instinct that draws animals to me and me to them. Whatever the reason, caring for an animal and having the loyal companionship they offer, has always been a big part of my life and I have felt the loss of not having a dog for long enough. Shadow has reminded me that dogs bring great joy to my heart and a trip to the rescue shelter is in my future. I tend to bring home pets in pairs…we’ll see how that goes.


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