A few months ago my son completed his service with the United States Coast Guard. After five years at sea, he was ready to venture on dry land with a four-legged friend. He went to our local Humane Society to adopt a dog.
He came home with Maverick ~ part beagle, part border collie, pure unbridled enthusiasm. He spent every minute of the summer nurturing and training his dog, while he made decisions about his own future.
By fall, Maverick had gone from being a spastic tinkle-machine, to one of the better behaved members of the family. My son was ready to move into his own place and become a full-time student.
I don’t know if it makes me less, or more, of a sucker to admit I knew I would likely be caring for Maverick while my son is in college, but it helps that I’m in love with the mutt.
A few days ago, Maverick and I were attending PetSmart’s obedience school for gifted dogs. While Katrina, our patient instructor, explained to Maverick the importance of ‘heel’, a young couple with a baby came over to watch. Maverick promptly ignored Katrina and licked the one-year old’s face.
“Oh, I’m sorry. He really likes kids,” I said, pulling my dog closer to me.
“He sure looks like Maverick,” the man slowly said to his wife.
“It is Maverick,” said the woman in a disbelieving whisper.
“How do you know that?” I asked, Maverick looking at me with cocked ears and a look as confused as my own.
The woman began cuddling Maverick and crying. Her husband said, “Maverick was her dog.”
The woman began rambling, more to Maverick than to me, “He was just too much… with the baby…and our jobs…I just didn’t have time… our other dog is old and not so demanding…I didn’t want to give him up…”
Ignoring a defensive urge to shout, “Well, too bad, he’s my dog, now,” I tried to say the right words to soothe her sadness, but soon realized that she was crying tears of joy.
“She’s been so worried about him,” her husband said. “She’s been praying someone kind had adopted him.”
The woman looked at me with gratitude, “Thank you for taking care of him,” she said,“He looks so healthy! I’m so relieved to know he’s in a good home.”
We ended our conversation with a hug, forever bound by a sweet, lovable dog. It was then we realized that a small crowd of animal-lovers had congregated around us in the middle of PetSmart, smiling, shaking their heads, and dabbing their eyes. One man even applauded.
Katrina, who had been watching in silence, rubbed Maverick’s head and said to him, “Dude, that was awesome!”
As if on cue from the director of some cheesy dog movie, Maverick barked. He really did.
And then he went back to learning how to heel, totally stoked that Katrina had delicious liver-flavored treats, and ridiculously happy that life is so good.
“LEARN FROM YESTERDAY. LIVE FOR TODAY. LOOK TO TOMORROW.” ~ SNOOPY
Think On These Things~ Alicia