As long as I can think back, I was a dog lover. It might have begun with my grandmother's dog, some crossbreed named Molly. I remember that I was so much in love with it that when I tried to shower it with all my love in an embrace, Molly growled at me. And I also got a reprimand from both my granny and my mother. But Molly was never really aggressive, in the contrary, she was very protective. When I was still an infant and in my stroller, she kept a watchful eye on the surroundings, I was told later by my mother.
Sadly, as a kid, I never got a dog of my own. My other grandparents would not allow to have a dog in the house.
As a young adult, I found my first dog , on the countryside in Norway. She was a puppy of 8 weeks and I was in heaven. I had her for 13 years. In the end she got some serious health problems and with a heavy heart, I called the vet, who was nice enough to make a house call. When it was over I went to the vet lady and cried at her shoulder. She gave me a hug. My dog was buried in the garden and I sat in the house grieving. I thought it was the worst day of my life.
Molly and Boomer - gone camping
Many years later in Canada, we got 2 beautiful dogs when we purchased our farm property in Alberta. Molly, a reddish retriever mix, was the cutest little puppy. Boomer, a yeallow lab, was already 5 years old when we became his new owner. During the day the two could run around freely on our 120acres property on the lake. They became a staple of our life. In 2005 we began traveling with them and went to many busy places in the U.S. Our camper friends loved those dogs just as much as we did. Then, in 2008 Boomer got cancer, and it was real bad and really an aggressive form. He got bad so fast that we had to find a vet office during a weekend in Denver, CO. We cried together in the car.
Molly, our other dog was distraught over the absence of boomer.
A week later we picked up his ashes. We let go of it, on the exact spot from where Boomer liked to watch over our property. It was time for crying again.
Molly was almost 6 years old at the time and we were glad we still had her. Together with her we traveled more years and finally made the move to the east coast. Almost 9 years later we lost her as well. Her hind legs gave in and she was in pain. This time the drive to the vet was longer. Our vet office is in Maine and the vet came into our van where Molly was on her bed. I was not able to drive the van back home. Bea had to take over. It seemed like some thing was broken in me. The following days I don't remember much of, except that I had asked my brother in Germany what I should do. He said, get a another dog!
Bea, who had seen my suffering, disagreed at first. "Why will you put yourself through this once more", she wondered.
Yes, why would I do that?
Leaving the question hanging out there, I started looking for shelter dogs. We even went to a shelter in Maine, but couldn't agree on one of the dogs available for adoption.
So I went on petfinder.com. There is a true plethora of dogs and cats on that website waiting for their lucky day to find a for-ever-home.
Dixie's family. Mom and her 6 siblings.
And one day I had found a puppy, one of a litter of seven. Mother was an Antatolian Shepherd and her litter had a Great Pyrenees as their father. This puppy would sure grow to be a big dog, but I was determined to go ahead. Our approval as dog parents came fast. The dog was in Arkansas, but was born in Oklahoma where the dog family reportedly had been abandoned. The dog rescue organization has their seat in Arkansas, so that's where the puppies and their mother got into foster care.
And it was around this time, that I fully realized that my wish for a new dog in the house wasn't just to satisfy my hurting soul, but that a deeper purpose lo within. It's the goal of offering a good life to a dog, let it feel love and care and safety.
There are many bad dog owners out there. Some get a dog on a whim but later find out that the dog is going to be in the way, that it doesn't fit into their life style, so they bring it to a shelter, or worse, tie it to a tree in the woods. Please, I don't want to mention all the cruel ways some people abuse and mistreat their dogs.
My conviction that I have the means to save a dog's life and keep it happy for their short lifespan is the most overpowering motivation for me to have a dog. When I see Dixie sleeping on her bed I have a happy day. Sure, I know that one day in the future I will have another most terrible day in my life. But all the years before that, make it worth it.