canine angels– losses & blessings


Last week Kestryl and I thought we were going grocery shopping instead our attention was diverted to one of the rescue vans that regularly parked in downtown Brooklyn. In the lower center crate curled up was our girl, Charlotte. She’s  a beautiful Shepard mix and she grabbed our hearts hard. We left our granny cart and empty shopping bags on the sidewalk and walked into the rescue van. it was full of cute dogs and cats, but we were transfixed with her.  This summer Kestryl and I had spent several months planning and talking about adding a puppy to our lives sometimes in the autumn, and here she was.

 

I’m not a big believer in love at first sight, but we took her for a walk, and were instantly in love.

 

When we moved forward with the adoption, we learned more about her story. At just a year old, she’s already been through a lot.  A rescue organization pulled her and her four puppies from the gas chamber at a shelter in South Carolina. She was emaciated but the great folks with the rescue got her to New York and got her into a foster home that was able to nurse her back to health, and get her ready to join our family.

 

I’ve talked before on the blog, and certainly in my own story in Kicked Out about the important roles that dogs have played in my life. They are what saved me, they are the reason that I finally left my mother’s home to save myself, and in the end,  loosing them because I was a homeless teenager when my dog trainer threw me out for being queer was the most difficult part of my experience.   My dog trainer kept my younger dog Flash, and my older pup Snickers went with my maternal grandparents who I have minimal contact with.

 

When Kestryl and I got home with Charlotte last weekend I was heading upstairs to get Mercury (our other dog) to bring him down for introductions on the sidewalk and I happened to stop and check the mail. There was only one thing, a letter from my grandmother.  A couple hours later with Charlotte curled up at my feet on the living room I opened the letter and learned that Snickers who by now was a very very old dog, had died.

 

I was immediately in tears. Though this week the pain of loosing him has been different and less sharp than I imagined it would be. I’ve realized that in so many ways I mourned his loss a decade ago when I rocked myself to sleep on strange couches and leaky basements clutching a pillow and imagining that it was him. It was then that I was faced with the loss of my best friend, and also how intertwined the loss of him was with loosing everything else – home, family, community/dog sports as well.

 

Over the last week i’m just in awe at how Charlotte has fit into our home and family. She’s an incredible girl whose

Mercury showing his little (big) sister the park!

already extremely bonded with all of us, and us equally so with her. She’s wicked smart already knowing nearly a dozen words/commands and even her issues like uneasiness with strange dogs on the streets and an inclination to chase kitties has improved in ways I never expected to see this fast.  I’m not one to talk about woo woo stuff in general and especially publically,  but when I think about how she came to us, how we were stopped in our tracks on the street, and then to receive the news about Snickers right when we got home with her, there is no doubt in my mind that this was meant to be, and that it was Snickers that brought her to us.  I couldn’t be more grateful.