Today, Jeff forwarded an email to me from a friend we met during a trip to Canton’s monthly “First Monday” event. He told us he was compiling stories about people and what their dogs meant to them and was gathering pictures to use in an upcoming book.
“You might want to do this,” Jeff wrote when he forwarded the email to me.
Don’t mind if I do, I thought, as I opened up a Word file and fired up my brain. The picture above is of a cozy moment with all three of us resting on our bed. The one on the left, below, is Russet on the day I adopted her on March 30, 2011. On the right, Russet as the happiest baby girl in the neighborhood when Jeff returned from the hospital.
To follow in “OUR RUSSET: No More Does She Roam” is the story that goes with the pictures.
After I lost “Boaz”, my senior Welsh Corgi, in January 2010, I allowed my empty, broken heart to remain, dog-less, before I even felt like welcoming another dog.
In March 2011, fifteen months later, the pics of a friend’s new fur-baby on Facebook made me hanker for a pair of moo-cow eyes, slurpy kisses, and reassuring scent. So, I headed for the nearest bar before I remembered a prior incident that ended badly.
No, on second thought, make that a pet shelter.
Okay, I’m kidding about the bar fiasco, but not the pet shelter.
When I asked an Arlington Animal Shelter volunteer about the Shepherd mix in the window, she said that someone had surrendered her only the previous day because she “was getting too expensive.” And, as far as she knew, this dog had no name.
Well, she does, now, I thought, as I tapped on the window and wiggled my fingers at the long-haired, perky-eared beauty with the expressive eyebrows and fur the color of a baked potato. From that moment, I decided that she and I would become a team.
I’m gonna name her “Russet”, take her home, and love her forever.
Now, since I was seven, I’ve had a lot of dogs, all with soulful, liquid-brown eyes, but the yearning in Russet’s eyes tore my heart from its moorings. Knowing someone had dumped her at the shelter, like a shabby couch out on a curb made me want her even more.
“And her adoption fee includes spaying and shots,” said the volunteer.
“Say no more, then. Hold onto her for me. I’ll be back in a couple of days when I get paid.”
In the meantime, I visited Russet at the shelter after school to bond with and play with her and get her used to her new name.
From March 2011 until September 2012, the little spit-fire reminded me of a two-year-old, sometimes, and a teenager, others, as she seized opportunities to flee until a car hit her, one afternoon. Her little set-to with a Saturn sedan cost us emergency surgery on her right hind leg followed by six weeks of weekly treatments. But, as I had hoped, it made her think twice about dashing into the street.
Soon, she settled down, especially when her “Daddy” – my husband, Jeff — blessed her life and mine by marrying us on March 2, 2014.
Now, when one of us opens either the front or back door without her dashing out, I believe it’s safe to say that Russet’s roaming days are over.
That said, what does your dog mean to you? I’d love to see your pictures and read your “love stories” about you and your own fur-babies.