In 1994, my boys and I moved to Italy. One afternoon, Levi (my son) came running in the house with the cutest puppy I had ever seen and he was begging me to let him keep it. I felt obligated to say no because it was a street puppy and could be infected with diseases. Three days later, I had a homesick 13 year old on my hands who was spending all his time worrying about this puppy rather than getting acquainted with his new home … so I finally gave in. The deal was, he was the one to take care of it. I had a heavy work load and certainly didn’t have time to entertain a puppy. He agreed.
Long story short, before I could get Ebony (who was half Doberman and half Sheppard) to the vet for a physical and shots, she became very ill. I rushed her to the vet where we discovered she had Parvo. She stayed in the veterinary hospital for about a week. When we brought Ebony home, a friend of mine came over every day to give her the shots needed to maintain her recovery while I was busy working.
After she recovered, I made an appointment to bring her back to the vet to receive the remainder of her shots. The poor thing came down with Distemper and the vet was skeptical about her survival. Miraculously, she did, only to finish her bout of illness with tick fever. This little fighter pulled through all of it leaving me with an enormous vet bill, but a beautiful, smart animal that everyone loved. She would have died on the streets if my son had not scooped her up that day and brought her into our lives.
On a separate occasion, we had adopted another dog off of the street (a white Sheppard) who I just fell in love with. I named her Bonnie. Not long after, my boyfriend Chuck and I were staying at a hotel that catered to a lot of the NATO forces. We were sponsoring a new family to the area and one day, as we came out of the hotel, there was this big Belgian Sheppard on the side of the road all by himself. Chuck immediately went over to pet him and I warned him to be careful because he looked wild. The dog was friendly and very insistent on getting closer to me. Before I knew it, I had a cold nose in my hand waiting for some love. “What a nice dog,” I said to him. As we got into the car, the dog sat with sad eyes and a look as if he has just lost his best friend. I started to drive away but I could hear this awful crying … I turned to Chuck to ask what it was, he said “Honey, the dog is running behind the car crying!” I pulled over, opened my door and invited him into our car (and lives!). We named him Clyde. He became so attached to me that he would wait for me to arrive home from work and would even refuse to eat if I was away on business until I told him over the phone that it was ok to eat.
I do believe that pets choose their owners and that they come into our lives to teach us a lesson. With every animal that has come into my life, an increase in compassion and patience fills my spirit and all I want to do is help them. I am blessed to have been able to make a real difference in these animals lives (usually saving them) and am fortunate they return the favor to me. It is a wonderful treasure to share a portion of your life with such beautiful beings.