Do you Have the Perfect Dog for You?
How did you come to have your particular dog? Did you go to a shelter and choose one? Did you see a photo, and unlike the previous 100 photos, HER picture spoke to you? Did a breeder interview you and basically arrange a marriage between you and a particular puppy? Do you ever think about how the fates brought you the particular dog that you have? The dog that you can’t imagine living without? Do you think you’d love some other dog as much?
We meet friends, spouses, and coworkers just by being out in the world, going to work, and living our lives. Usually, we have to go searching for a dog. Occasionally, a dog finds us – turns up on the doorstep. But more often than not, we search for our canine companions. How do we choose? Do we let them choose us? Does it matter? Would any dog in your house be living the same life with you? Would your life be the same with some other dog?
My beloved Gunny was my wedding present from my husband in 1997. We found a local Lab breeder who had two puppies left for sale from a litter of at least 5. My husband went to choose a puppy without me. He met one with a green ribbon and one with a blue ribbon. My husband held both pups in his lap. The dog with the green ribbon crawled up his chest and gently bit his left ear. The other puppy didn’t do much. So he chose the puppy with the green ribbon. Without a doubt, Gunny chose him, and he chose Gunny for me. It feels like a miracle to me. I had nothing to do with it beyond identifying the breeder. What if someone had chosen the green ribbon puppy before he arrived? What if my husband had chosen the other dog? I’m sure it was a nice dog. But Gunny changed my whole life. Without him I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now. I would’ve had a completely different life.
As you know if you’ve read The Endless Path, I believe that Gunny and I have shared other lives together. We have history. He found his way home to me so that we could be together again. I want to say, “what are the odds that we would find each other?” But truly, I think they were pretty good. That’s just my idea of how the Universe works. I don’t personally think that a lot of things are random. Others might think it was just dumb luck. I think it was some combination of choice and destiny.
By choosing us, Gunny chose a particular path. He would’ve had a different life with a different family. Maybe he wouldn’t have been sick in another family. If he hadn’t lived with us in Hong Kong, he wouldn’t have been bitten by the particular tick that ruined his health. What would our life had been like with a different dog? We would’ve met different people – maybe never have met Dr. Mark, who became such a dear friend. I don’t have any answers. I just have overwhelming gratitude that the little puppy with the green ribbon bit my husband’s ear that day.
Fast forward 23 years. In March 2020 a friend sent me a picture of a puppy, knowing that I wasn’t looking for a puppy! I was actually hoping to find a 4 of 5 year old rescue – she had sent me about 50 pics from Pet Finder of dogs in that age range, as well. Her note said, “I know you’re not looking for a puppy. But I saw this picture and felt that I should send it to you.” This pup was abandoned with his litter in Mission, TX and was headed to the DC area on a weekly transport by a local rescue.
I literally stopped breathing when I saw his picture. I recognized those eyes. I said out loud to no one, “What are you doing? You’re not supposed to be here. Oh my God, what have you done?” It was a very tough time in my life. I had no idea what COVID would become, but I was separated, my parents were on hospice, and my daily life was very challenging. And then this picture appeared on my phone. I called the rescue immediately, told them that I wanted this puppy named Shadow, filled out an application, and was informed he would be arriving the next evening so I should come and meet him.
I showed up at the meeting point of the transport bus at about 8 p.m. with my friend. As they took dogs off the bus, someone said “Who’s here for Shadow?” I raised my hand. They handed me this smelly, tired little boy. He rested his head on my shoulder and fell asleep. I whispered in his ear, “Is it you?” He did nothing. “If it’s you, you have to give me a sign.” Still nothing. Finally, I said, “If it’s you, you need to bite my ear.” He picked up his little head, looked me in the eye, bit my ear, and then put his head back down on my shoulder.
So. He’s back. “Gunny” is back. He’s asleep next to me while I type this. He told me his name is Beau. Well of course it is! Because if ever there was a dog who loved being called handsome, it was Gunny. (In French, “handsome” is “beau”.) The boss is back. I didn’t even get to pick his name.
I don’t know what life is going to hold this time around. But I have my soul mate back with me in the flesh to help me navigate this crazy life. It’s not an accident. It’s not a coincidence. Like you, I have the perfect dog for me. I am whole again. I am better. I am ready to go on adventures again with my great love.
How about you? How did you meet you dog? How did he or she change your life? I would love to hear about it.