Yesterday was the BC SPCA Paws for a Cause – an annual fundraiser in which thousands of animal-loving people raise pledges and walk their dogs at similar events all over the province. It was, as usual, a huge success. Despite a deluge of rain, the Cowichan and District SPCA raised over $17,000, and province wide the BCSPCA raised over a million. But that’s not what made my heart sing. What made my heart sing happened after the walk. And it has to do with Lucy, my new and pregnant fosterdog.
Some time ago, I had committed to help with registration at our local walk, and so when I agreed to foster Lucy I had also arranged for shelter staff to look after her for the day.
Poor Lucy. I arrived at the shelter at 7:30 AM, when staff were busy washing the kennels, letting dogs out into play areas, and getting organized for the day. At their instruction, I placed Lucy in a bathroom near the office, leaving her with a soft clean comforter to lie on and a bowl of water. As I closed the door and walked away, she began to howl. She was still howling as I drove away.
When I arrived to pick her up later that day, she was quiet, and quickly jumped up and wagged her tail. I took her outside to the grass to give her a chance to pee, but her fur was velcro’d to my pants and her feet practically stood on top of mine. She looked up at me quizzically and earnestly. I'm a good dog. Please take me home again. Please, please, please, please, please? On the trip home in the van, I could see her eyes staring at me from the crate in which she was confined. She wasn’t sure where she was going, I could tell, and she was trying to figure things out in that sharp little mind of hers.
But it was when I let her out of the van and took her off her leash in my back yard that she knew, she knew where she was, and she went wild. She jumped. She bowed. She spun in circles. She licked my hands and washed my face and wiggled her bum and let me know with every inch of her peculiar little body that she was glad, glad, glad to be back in this place. Back where she could sleep at my feet, back where she could rest quietly without the incessant barking of distressed dogs or the constant comings and goings of shelter staff and volunteers. Back where she could once again feel safe and loved.
Some people say we animal lovers anthropomorphize too much, but I know that Lucy knew when she had it good, knew what she had lost when her owner went into hospital for the last time, and was grateful for this chance to relax in comfort.
She is a good dog, obedient, house trained, good with other dogs and cats, walks well on leash, bonds well with humans. When her maternal duties are over and she has been spayed, she will move on to a new home, to a forever home. If you think you might be interested in adopting her, contact me or the Cowichan and District SPCA.
But for now, she will live with me, and this strange little torpedo shaped dog on the pint sized legs is very happy to be here. Welcome, Lucy. Rest yourself and stay a while.
Oh well, I think I'll take it over anyway!
That's okay, dog, I can sleep right here on the rug by this nice lady's chair.