This coming Friday, after a record-setting seven months of raining cats and dogs – nearly four feet in fact – the sun will again shine in the Pacific Northwest. For five days straight.
Youth baseball games – after innumerable practices in the rain and the mud, having given new meaning to sliding into home, and sliding into third, and sliding into second and sliding into all parts between – will finally commence.
And dogs everywhere – man’s best friend and the men and women who’ve befriended them – will rejoice; give endless yellow sun-kissed chase to a wind-tossed and teasing blue balloon; or splash happily about with fellow furry friends.
If heaven were a reward for sheer, unadulterated, boundless-and-free joy, it would be bestowed upon dogs.
Whereas cats have nine lives with which to escape life’s hazards – most of which they created – dogs have only one.
Whereas cats “are the perfectly designed killing machine, nature’s perfect predator” according to Jackson Galaxy, the “professional cat behaviorist” who stars on the Animal Planet show, a show not surprisingly entitled “My Cat from Hell”, with dogs there is no pretense, no posturing, and only one life to dedicate all their devotion to you.
What you see with a dog is not what you get however, but rather far more as the following stories show.
Introducing ‘Bulldozer’ aka ‘Dozey’, and Sassy – the once very sad basket case but now quite happy Basset Hound.
The bulldog rescue organization called at 2 A.M.
Knowing of her love for all creatures – dogs anyway – great and small, as well as men and women rescued by the Rescue Mission for that matter where she volunteers during the holidays – her daughter had signed up mom to help with the rescue of bulldogs.
‘Could she meet someone with bolt cutters to release a bulldog chained behind a dumpster at the Industrial Park?
‘And because the dog was in such poor shape, could she take him to the 24-hour vet where he most likely would be euthanized?’
The burly bolt-cutter guy placed the dejected, dilapidated dog in her car, wishing her well but at the same time voicing his dismay that the dog would not survive even the trip to the doctor.
As she reached over to pet the poor fellow he licked her hand.
“I started crying and wrapped him in my coat. I promised I would never leave him and he promised me he would get well.”
Which he did.
He gained 40 pounds, learned to skateboard, enjoyed running the beaches, and fell in love – which included a great deal of slobber – with both the smelly stuffed animal he cuddled with at night, and her son.
Always sad was Dozey – the saddest of sad faces drooping on his paws – to watch his buddy, with backpack slung over his shoulders, leave the house.
Dozey the Bulldozer had bulldozed his way into their hearts.
But Dozey had seizures. He came with them. And on January 1, 2015, “after six incredible years”, one finally took him home.
He was most likely around eight to nine years old.
“Please don’t get your feelings hurt,” she said she told the Lord, “but I want Dozey to be the first to greet me at the gate.”
Because of Dozer’s aggressiveness toward other dogs, the family had lived a fairly reclusive life. “But he was the best friend I ever had,” she said. “He was smart, sensitive and a true clown.
“In March of 2016, I started to feel recovered enough to consider another pet. What changed my mind – I was determined to not experience that gut-wrenching heartbreak again – was a woman walking a mangy looking animal in the park. I told her my story and she said, ‘honor Dozer’s memory and rescue another dog.’
The Humane Society featured, if you could call it that, a dejected skinny Basset Hound.
“A puppy-mill rescue, this baby maker was slated to be shot by the owner of the mill but an employee couldn’t handle it so he brought her in. Sick, the mother of way too many litters, she was covered with sores and her toe nails had never been clipped making it hard for her to walk.”
After 13 days of calling every day – sometimes twice/day – to check the dog’s condition following needed surgery, rescuer and rescued finally headed home, Sassy’s big, brown hopeful eyes tugging at her heart as she stole a glance down and away from the road ahead.
The road ahead has been good. Like Dozey, Sassy also gained 40 pounds. “Any sad situation, and anytime we thought about what these dogs had been through, was cause for a bowl of ice cream,” one for each of them.
Sassy had never walked on grass. She’d been crated all her life. Judging from her teeth, Sassy was estimated to be about eight years old, then. She’s 10 now.
“Sassy is slow but persistent. She loves to meander along and moves much like an articulated bus, her long heavy body going around corners in much the same manner. She will lie down in the middle of the road, roll over on her back, and wiggle like a wild woman, just for the pure joy of feeling the gravel against her back.
“She, as did Dozer, rescued me. It is always that way, I’ve been told. We humans are the ones on the receiving end.
“She’s been a joy and when her day comes, I will also ask God to have her meet me at the gate, with Dozer, who will have been taught, by the Father above, that it is important to play nice with the other dogs.”
If you’d like to rescue – and be rescued, for it is indeed mutual – check out the “Helping Animals Helps People” Omeleto video: “Eric and Peety.”
Pictures by Alice Nelson, sister of the article’s author, and one many rescuers and rescued in the heavenly world of loving dogs back to life.