This past July the kids and I needed to put down our beloved yellow lab, Taz. Arthritis had wrapped itself around his spine. The time had come to say good-bye.
Taz had been a real character. He could climb any fence, open any gate or door, and made it clear that staying confined had been his choice not his obligation. Even though he definitely added flavor to our lives, I swore that he would be our last lab. No more labs, no way, no how...never. Well, a month later, we adopted a 2-year old black lab named Bella. So much for my firm resolve and self-discipline.
Bella had been brought to Colorado from New Mexico where her history is sketchy. She had a litter of 8 puppies shortly after being brought here in early summer. Following that, she went from foster home to foster home while waiting to be adopted. The people at the humane society said that they needed to teach her how to get into a car, said she had been afraid of the tiled floor because she had been kept in dirt, and said she didn't know how to play with toys. When we brought her home, the stairs freaked her out; but her eyes seemed to say, "don't give up on me, show me, take a chance on me, I can do this."
My other dog, Dusty, and my son Ben demonstrated how to use the toys and how to play. It didn't take long before the two dogs were tossing the ball against the ground themselves and racing for it like two kids loose on the playground. She didn't quite know what to make of the dog bed we bought her. She tapped it with her paw a few times and then backed away. Again Dusty came to the rescue. He jumped onto the new dog bed, circled around a few times and settled in. Bella's eyes seemed to say, "this is for me?"
She came with some serious baggage, there is no question about that. I wish she could talk and tell me her story. Or maybe I don't, maybe it is too heartbreaking. Even when her tail wags, sadness lingers in her eyes that seem to say, "I don't trust that this is going to last."
Although the shelter warned me that she hated being alone, I underestimated what that meant. When we leave the house, she destroys anything within reach. The other day she tore off part of the screen door. And there are other kinks, too. When we had a few feet of snow last week, she learned she could get out of our fence. Even though the snow is now gone, she leaps over the fence like a deer and laps the neighborhood.
None of these things are good, but they are fixable. She just needs us to show her right from wrong, to be patient, to always look for her when she wanders off and to give her a break.
We all deserve second chances to get it right. When I look into Bella's eyes, I see hope. I see a survivor. I see beauty. I see love. Maybe I even see a bit of myself. I see a reason to keep trying to get it right.
About Moxie Girl Musings
Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com