A Rescue Dog In Maine Has Stolen My Heart
It's been many years since a dog captured my heart. That all came to a screeching halt Saturday when I met Stuart, from Lucky Pup Rescue in Kennebunkport, ME, while at the WOKQ Last Bash of Summer event.
The thought of adopting a dog has crossed my mind many times over the past six years. But I've always stopped myself from taking the next step, making excuse after excuse as to why I shouldn't. At first it was because I was newly divorced and didn't want the responsibility. Then it was because I didn't want to spend the money. But over time, I allowed myself to admit the real reason...I wasn't sure I could take the heartache of losing another dog.
A little backstory...in 1992, while living in San Antonio, and serving in the United States Air Force, I adopted a retired racing greyhound. I quickly fell in love with High Roller, and the breed in general. So much that I started volunteering with the rescue organization I got him from. Over the course of the next several years, I adopted five greyhounds, fostered countless others, and rescued even more from the racetrack in Corpus Christi, TX, breeders, and homes that no longer cared for their dog. I became an adoption coordinator, visited prospective forever families, cleaned pens, fed dogs, and transported dogs. In short, I was devoted to rescuing retired racing greyhounds.
When I left the USAF, I moved to California along with High Roller. Let me be clear...he didn't belong to me. I belonged to him! He was the smartest, most devoted and loyal dog I've ever know. I was blessed to share my life with him. Fast forward ten years...
after two cross-country moves, the birth of two sons, two jobs, and a divorce...I had to finally say good-bye to my undisputed best friend. It was truly the saddest day of my life. I have never cried harder in my life. High Roller was a special dog. Very special. So much, our veterinarian stood and wept alongside me. I buried his ashes in a sunny spot under his favorite tree. And there isn't a day that goes by when I don't think about him. His pictures grace my house to this day.
Since then, my family adopted a rescue boxer. Zora was a loyal and loving dog. Protective of my sons, she loved all of us so much until her passing a few years ago. I wasn't with Zora at the end. She had moved to California with my ex-wife and youngest son. I loved Zora, and word of her passing caught me by surprise, despite her advanced age.
With that history at the forefront of my mind, I wasn't really sure I could allow myself to love another dog. But love is crazy. They always say it catches you when you least expect it. And that's exactly what happened on Saturday when I met Stuart. He isn't a greyhound or a boxer. He's just a cute little mutt with the sweetest, gentlest disposition. When I approached him, he immediately sat down and then threw himself into my arms. He looked me with heartwarming eyes, and gave me one of those sloppy puppy kisses. Suddenly I felt something I haven't felt in over a decade. I was in love with a dog!
At first I tried to ignore it. But he kept looking at me with those big old eyes that said, "Take me home. I'll be your best friend. I promise." Still, I tried to pretend it wasn't happening...until my son, Jack, walked up and said, "Dad I haven't seen you bond with a dog like that in years."
Well, I can lie to myself...but not to my kids. It became pretty evident to everyone watching that Stuart and I had a little something going on. It took about an hour for me to admit it to myself. But then it hit me. Why shouldn't I adopt a dog. He's perfect for my living situation, I can afford to take care of him, and my boys and I have lots of love to give. We can make his life great. In turn, he can do the same for us.
So I filled out the application, and now we wait. A few other people seemed to have fallen for Stuart as well. And since they filled out their application first they get the first chance to adopt him if their references and home-check go well. I really hate to root against another pet lover, but I sure hope that Stuart ends up here with my family.
For those of you who commented on the pictures I posted Saturday, thanks for the support. I'll keep you posted on the adoption process.