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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Four Months Today, Good Boy & a Healing Heart

Four Months Today, Good Boy & a Healing Heart

April 5, 2011

By Julie Kay Smithson propertyrights@earthlink.net

Four months have passed since Wiggles Blue Heeler wore out his earthly body and returned to Heaven, leaving me with his soul sheltered always in my own heart and soul, my grief unlike anything I've ever known.

Wiggles was on loan to me from Heaven and I always knew that with certainty. When his dear furry self was no longer in our home for me to touch, play with, sleep with, brush and pet and listen for his 'feetsteps' on our floor, my loneliness was profound and devastating. Other family matters only increased this need for my baby, the child of my soul, to be here in the flesh, but it could not be. Hours became days, days became weeks, and weeks stretched into months. I truly believed that any other dog in our home would be nothing more than a trespasser, and though I tried to put out feelers for another dog -- and dear friends also tried to help me -- nothing mattered.

Then, upon returning home from my dad's house late Monday evening, February 28th/early Tuesday morning, March 1st, I got on Facebook. Someone had posted a photo of a blue heeler (Australian Cattle Dog / ACD), with a caption like, "Someone please help this poor soul." The details described this terror-stricken dog as a small female, blind and about to be euthanized at an animal shelter in Franklin County / Frankfort, Kentucky, two hundred miles south. As soon as my eyes saw this animal, something happened inside me. Having never rescued a dog before -- and not wanting a female dog, having always had males and being comfortable with them -- my brain told me to sit tight and not go ... but God and Wiggles had other plans for me, and other plans for that shelter dog.

I phoned the shelter and left a voice message -- two voice messages -- expressing interest in learning more about that blue heeler. When the shelter opened at noon, I phoned again, asking if it would be possible for someone from out-of-state (I'm in west-central Ohio) to adopt. The people at the shelter were so kind, so understanding of our plight: mine as a brokenhearted mom of Wiggles Blue Heeler, and 'hers' as a blind dog picked up in the county by Todd, animal control officer. There's virtually no future for blind older animals once they arrive at animal shelters. Very few people want older animals; fewer still want blind animals.

Somehow the shelter staff heard the need in my voice, knew the tears were real, and when they checked my Facebook page and saw the photos of me and Wiggles Blue Heeler, realized that this was meant to be. They said yes, that I could come and meet 'her' on Wednesday, March 2nd at noon. All the way down to Frankfort, I kept wondering why I was going to rescue a female. Hadn't I already seen other ACDs available for adoption (both males and females, all sighted), and turned them down? Why was I on this journey? Would I leave the shelter and return home alone? God and Wiggles Blue Heeler smiled quietly. They knew. They had planned. The right moment -- the right dog -- had come.

When the shelter volunteer brought the small 'girl' out for me to meet, I broke into tears. 'She' was literally scared stiff, flat as a pancake in fright in the young man's arms, stiff and shivering uncontrollably as he held her while sitting on a bench. I sat down beside them and touched 'her,' feeling the terrible fright for myself and knowing that I could offer 'her' a quiet, peaceful home that was already blind dog friendly, a nice yard that was already safe for a blind dog's eyes. After twenty minutes, the shelter director (or one of her employees, I don't recall which) asked if I might like to 'foster' the 'little girl.' My answer came unbidden and quickly: "No. I want to adopt her and take her home." The half-price adoption fee I'd been quoted, was changed to no fee at all. The small 'girl' -- that seemed to have never known either a leash or harness -- began to be put into a new blue nylon harness. That's when I learned that 'her' size and fright had masked her gender: she was a he!

Please visit my Facebook page -- Julie Kay Smithson -- to learn more about Good Boy and his new life. In the past month, we have had experiences like barely sleeping for the first two weeks, getting his health issues fixed (one of which was dental work that involved, not only cleaning terribly tartar-encrusted teeth, with two teeth already missing, but extracting two more teeth, both of them already fractured under all the layers of tartar), getting to not be so shy about 'doing his business' while on-leash, clearing up a bacterial or fungal infection under his right cornea, and much more. We have emerged, bonded and so glad to have each other -- and thanking God and Wiggles Blue Heeler for their actions, so perfectly timed to heal both Good Boy and me.

Sunday, April 3rd, I took Good Boy to a local Metro Park, and that afternoon, for the first time in such a long time (since knowing in my heart in early 2010 that Wiggles' health was going to lead to his physical death, which came on December 5th), I smiled, and the smile came from my heart. That smile came from Wiggles, who helped find Good Boy for me!

Wiggles and God knew that I'd have to put my words -- "Blindness should never be a death sentence" -- into action. They made it possible for this miracle: Good Boy -- to happen!