It was the first Saturday, in February 2000, a few days before Valentine’s Day. The last 24 hours had been quite exciting with anticipation; and few thoughts including I may have completely lost my mind. On Friday after lunch, my co-workers had excitedly shared with me they had the perfect dog for me . . . after months of their insisting I get a dog! She was a black lab mix, about 9 months old who would probably be blind in her left eye. She had been found with a stick in her eye and tied to a tree on a rural road late in January in Michigan. Some kind soul saw her and picked her up and took her to the local humane society.
Deep down I always wanted a black lab. But it was the blind eye that got my attention. It was so obvious to me that God wanted my attention; as I had refused to even considered getting a dog over the last year. So I sat up and paid attention
Because she had been injured, it was “normal” fifteen years ago that injured animals be euthanized; due to lack of funds. Though the evaluator at the humane society assessed all dogs prior to euthanasia. However, this particular puppy was so sweet, loving and kind despite what she had been through in her short life. Against all odds, she won the heart of the evaluator who in turn convinced the director to overturn her death sentence. She was then placed in a foster home until a permanent home could be found.
You see what caught my attention was that my infant daughter Stephanie was born in 1987, blind in her left. She was a beautiful baby girl and was so very loved by everyone. Though she incurred many complications with her eye despite excellent medical care. Then tragedy struck in December 1987, when she was nine months old. Her doctor met me at the door of the local hospital and said “I’m sorry she has leukemia”.
In less than 30 days, her precious heart stopped beating. She died in my arms on January 9, 1988, just six weeks before her first birthday. She would be 28 years old this year and so dearly missed. If Stephanie wouldn’t have had the birth defect in her left eye, I never would have paid any attention to this precious puppy.
So . . . the following morning, the foster Dad dropped of this puppy at my home. When he let her out of the truck she came running up to me as if we had been long time friends and gave me a hug! I really had no idea what I was to do or how to do it; all I knew is that I was intrigued by this puppy.
I told my co-worker that I would at least need a week to determine if I could keep and manage her with my work schedule. This was a huge decision, as I had not ever had a dog before in my adult life. I had no idea what I was asking was out of the ordinary; I thought everyone took that long and had the dog at home as a trial run! Haha! All I know is that she really trusted me!
After a busy day of activities including taking her for walks with two of my four year old triplet nephews, giving her a bath, and shopping for food and toys. And oh yes, I also had several bouts of fretting about my hardwood floors getting scratch or piddled upon.
It was about 7pm and I was tired from nervous exhaustion with all of the excitement of the day. I decided to read for a couple of hours before I went to bed and before I would take out the precious puppy out one last time for the evening on this special day.
So imagine this, I am sitting in my lazy boy recliner. Next thing I know, this puppy put her chin on my knee. I thought to myself, “I think she likes me”! Within a moment she put her chin on my hip (and to this day, I don’t know how she did this because the lazy boy had over sized arms. And next thing I know, she did a flying leap and landed on my lap . . . giving me multiple and sloppy doggie kisses. She was wobbling around on my legs and I was hugging her so she would not fall and howling with laughter all at the same time. And in the same instant, I had made my decision . . . I was going to rescue and adopt her . . . even though I had no idea how I would take care of her . . . the way she absolutely deserved to be taken care of.
There had not been laughter in my home for a long, long time and it felt so good to laugh. And I wish I would have had a video of those precious moments while she was on my lap!
Even today, as I ponder those moments there was incredible joy and laughter, and unconditional love. And the precious puppy created an atmosphere in my home that began the process of healing my heart. It took a couple more days to determine her name . . . as I wanted her to have a unique but special name for her. And after much deliberation and thought, she was named Lady Hugs.
Over the years, I remember hearing that it takes months or more to bond with a dog. Well that certainly wasn’t true for Lady Hugs and I. We bonded in less than twelve hours!
Her first miracle was that her life was spared from euthanisia and that I adopted her was the second. And as I write this today, I’m starting to think that bonding so quickly was the third. In her life time there were eleven (or now twelve) miracles in her life time. It was a most excellent Valentine’s Day in 2000!