Another Life Change

My last day of my summer job we learned we were going to have to put down our dog Harley.   We had adopted him from a rescue shelter as an adult.  We soon figured out he had been abused, but it would be a long time before we heard via the local grapevine how terrible his abuse.  It was reflected in some of his behaviors, that we we could never convince him to let go of.   All this aside he was a great little companion in our family.   I worked from home all but the last three months of his life, so we were constant buddies.   Yet when RangerSir got home each night he followed him around and tried to make up for the time they did not have together while he made money to buy dog food.  Harley was a little Cairn Terrier (think Toto), and his terrier attitude and energy level made him a perfect match for our household.   He was the world’s best hiking partner, tireless but alert.  As a Cairn he should have seen anything that was small and darted as prey, but he was the protector of baby chicks and our adult flock.   Never made sense, but it was a role he took seriously.  He fit into our lifestyle, energy when he needed and quiet when we were.   He was our pet, a member of our family.  He is gone now, but he will always hold a special place in our heart.

One of my favorite pictures of Harley doing what he loved sitting up on a rock looking out on the world.

One of my favorite pictures of Harley doing what he loved sitting up on a rock looking out on the world.

After we put him down we had a hole in our hearts but we were not sure if or when we would want another dog. We started to look at the local shelters and the online shelter pages after about a month.  Sometimes thinking yes it was time and other times thinking not so sure, and if you are not so sure – you really aren’t ready.   It is hard to know if and when you are ready.

We talked about the four dogs we had owned in the 35 years we have been married    We were honest about their quirks, good traits and the bad traits.   Our next dog could take us into our 70’s easily and so as we thought about the things we wanted in our next dog, some things were negotiable and others nonnegotiable. We were getting closer to making a commitment to a pet for their lifetime.

Five weeks later we were fairly certain we had found a match.  We had found this dog from an online shelter notice. We had asked lots of questions and RangerSir and I had discussed his pros and cons. Sunday we drove nearly four hours to a shelter to meet this dog and see if when we met him it was a match.   We are now the owners of another rescue dog.   He is a teenager mixed breed, likely of Cairn origin.

I am sure that we will do some pet posting on the blog as we move along the continuum of learning about this dog and his quirks.   There are sure to be lots of bumps in the highway and some long learning curves for all of us.  In spite of it all pets bring so much to our lives that years from now we will only remember a few of the challenges that come with a new pet, Zip.

Our new teenager, Zip.

Our new teenager, Zip.

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11 comments on “Another Life Change

  1. I am so sorry to hear about Harley. He was quite the companion and you gave him a much happier life. It is wonderful you were ready to open your hearts to another rescue dog. I wish you a wonderful bonding time with Zip and many happy years ahead.

  2. I’m sorry you had to lose Harley. But after living a life of terrible abuse, you and RangerSir gave him a loving and fun home probably beyond his belief. Now it is time to do the same (as you did with Charlie and Ruby) for Zip. Kind of glad you decided not to name him “Apple”. Each day will be a challenge for both of you now as he learns about your rules and you learn about the things he wasn’t taught and his little quirks. He is a sweet boy and you are making progress with him. I am sure that he will help to fill the hole that Harley left in your heart. Looking forward to Zip meeting Delilah and Kaylee. Ready for a play day any time!

  3. Lucky Harley, lucky Zip–you’re great pet parents. I’m so sorry about your loss of Harley–I have some experience in that area and know it’s very hard and sad. But Harley was so great he paved the way for you to want another dog–and that’s a wonderful thing!

  4. I’m so sorry for the loss of Harley. We lost our Jack Russell terrier about a year and a half ago and know how hard it is. But welcome to little Zip! He looks like a fun little friend. I’m sure you’ll come to love him, too.

  5. I take there name tags and put them on a button photo to use as a Christmas ornimant each year so we have all of the dogs that have crossed over the rainbow bridge with us visually on the tree besides in our hearts.

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