Second Chances...

How about we start off the day giving everyone second chances all around?Wouldn't it be a lovely world if we all managed to get those from time to time... Those of you that remember the child version of me will remember I was never without an animal within reach...just about ever. I have never lived without a cat or a dog...most times both...in my home. I was just mentioning yesterday how I admired my mother for the way she handled this precocious child who would come home OFTEN with all sorts of stray animals.  She would fuss at me and "tsk tsk tsk"...but she never said "no". I had buckets of toads, aquariums with turtles, cages with rabbits (rehab ones as well), at least few dogs and cats, hamsters/gerbils etc..... She would tell me "You better make sure you have a husband who doesn't mind your animals one day!" To which I always answered "I would never dream of marrying a man that would tell me "no" to my animals!" As a matter of fact I think it may have been in Daryl and I's wedding vows?  (just kidding....I think) I knew I had met my match in Daryl when at the age of 13 he listed off his "pets" and he had way more than me. I was smitten.

He was even going to be a vet once upon a lifetime ago...but switched to artist instead...I love that story!  Always makes me smile. Vet school to art school...every parents dream...right?   It all worked out ;-) Anyhoooooo... In the early years of our marriage we pick up Molly along the way. We found her at the Richmond SPCA and our list  of what we wanted in a dog went something like: Not a puppyDoesn't shedSmall

Molly wasn't a puppy but she shed small "fur puppies" weekly off of her coat and most definitely wasn't "small". All we knew was that she was surrendered, had never spent a day inside a house and no reason other reason was given. She was the most amazing dog ever....our "soul dog".  Everyone loved Molly...you just couldn't help yourself. She was just this deeply loving old soul. When we lost her several years ago we all had this huge gaping void...a total hole in all of our hearts. Especially Spike.

We promptly attempted to fill a bit of the whole by adopting Cookie... Now Cookie is very loved around here BUT she is not our dog.  She chose Aunt Jill and Aunt Jill chose her.  They are inseparable and the best match I have ever come across....but Cookie? Is not a dog.  At least she doesn't know she is.  I mean seriously.  She's not a dog. Does nothing a normal dog would.  Nothing. But she is very loved...and that is all that matters...right?

So these years...five or so... have passed and we still have that missing piece. Any dog lover who has ever lost a loved pet knows.  Every black lab mix we see we always go "I miss Molly!!!" It's all in the long sigh you let out every time you remember how they loved you and you loved them. You remember all the secrets they kept and hours they spent listening to you. They were, quite simply, your best friend. And there is still room in these big old animal lovers hearts for one more... One more try at finding a leveler for Spike...when we lost Molly he lost his pack leader.  His anxiety/fear level has never been what it was. She was this massively calm dog that gave him protection...at least in his mind.

I have been on the lookout, in all honesty, for a dog like her for years. Never finding one...could another dog that amazing possibly exist? Today I took the big kids to the Richmond SPCA and we decided to just see if we could find "a fit". I truly didn't have much hope that we would.  What are the chances? We walk in and the very first dog we see peeking out a door is Molly's twin. All three of us stopped in our tracks and looked at each other. We went in and spent time with her.  They even gave her a "cat test" to see how she would do with cats! At the end of visiting with the SPCA we decided to put a deposit down on her and bring Spike and Lucas back to meet her and see how she did with the fast movers. It was meant to be.  She was perfect.  Literally. She licked Lucas and had impeccable manners with everyone.  The staff was even floored by the gentleness of this sweet girl. We were sold.

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In all my years of adopting animals I have only had one other dog ever be this well behaved...Molly. We opted to name her Maddie...after she decided it.  She came to it the second she heard it.  So Maddie it was. Maddie walked into our home last night... and we all just felt this sense of completion.  Like she needed us every bit as much as we needed her. She walked on the Fall leaves...a bit frighten by the loud crinkling noise under her paws... She sniffed out the new smells...

She made many new friends.... Ok well maybe Spike is warming up but Maddie's manners are so good she is giving him his space but he is already following her lead.  Barking less. The cats are doing what cats do...ignoring her. And Cookie is content with Aunt Jill...as always...but I think Jill's little Cookie is going to end up being her best friend.  She likes her bunches.

And love...we have fallen head over heels in love with this calm, quiet, well mannered spirit.

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We have been teasing that her name should have been "Shadow" since she follows me everywhere.  Asking for nothing more than a pat on the head. She slept beside me all night and when the baby would need me (he has the sniffles) she would just come along and make sure he was fine. I woke up at one point and she wasn't beside me so I went to find her...she was asleep beside Haley...in the same spot Molly used to sleep with them. She hasn't made a single peep, no bark, no grumbles...oh wait she does make a very loud, content sigh right before she drifts to sleep. Will her amazingly good behavior continue? I would take a guess at "yes" but perhaps it is just a honeymoon period.... Even if it is though...she's a keeper.

As we settled in for the night Jill and I both ended up with a tear in our eye when Maddie promptly took a big deep sigh and dropped into Molly's favorite spot on the floor to sleep... Just like Molly. If I believed in dog reincarnation I would now be a true believer. Daryl pointed out that for a dog like Molly to still be this missed by a family 5 years later it means she was indeed a very special girl and we have no doubt Maddie will be just as loved and adored.  Actually we already do.

~A note to all those with homes to share and love to give to a dog...go to a shelter. Take a look around... Meet a few dogs... Find a match for your personality. And give a Pup a second chance. Don't we all deserve that? These animals have so much to give and no dog appreciates their home like a pound dog.