Adoption. Did you ever end up in the right place at the right time, and end with a dog that you didn't know existed 2 hours earlier, or had forgotten?? Please share.
It was a cool cloudy, but rainless day in late September 2001. Fairbanks, along with the rest of the world was still reeling from September 11th, winter was not far off, it was mid-week, and I had the day off from my night job as a pizza delivery driver. I had just dropped Buffy off for her weekly visit with her aging owner at the rest home, and I was out driving around. Maxie, my 2 year old wild child, was hunkered down in the backseat of the Festiva, clinking her tags, as she worked to make a frazzled rag out of yet another leash. We were bored out of our gourds, so we worked our way further and further to the outskirts of Fairbanks, checking out the sights. As we got out to the little roads where there were few people, I turned down a gravel road that was familiar, even though I had been only on it once 6 years prior. It was narrow, too much so for even my little car to turn around, so I inched down to the end, so I could turn around. There was a house at the end, and as I rolled a few feet into the driveway, 2 huge german shepherds came out of nowhere, and sauntered up to the Festiva. One was a tall gangly male, and the other a huge female. Even though she was quite fat, and aged some, I still recognized her quite well. The swayed back, stiff knees, and sagged out stomach spoke of too many breedings, but she was still a pretty dog. And I knew one thing. I was in a private driveway out in the middle of nowhere, and I had to get out of there. But as I put the car into gear to back out, I realized I was too late.
January 1995. I was in my early 20's unemployed, except for a few odd jobs here and there fixing cars. It was also my first year when I was considering a german shepherd after years of sled dogs. A friend of mine had just aquired one from a BYB, and his dog looked really cool to my untrained eye. So, I decided to get one from the same breeder. I got a female, not because I prefered the, but because she was one of the last 2 females. A lovely dog, I named her Molly. I was quite taken by her mother, a oversized GSD named Peggy. A huge dog, with forlegs like my wrist, I hoped Molly would look just like her. But we would never find out. I had left town for a bit to help a friend salvage a damaged plane. My sister took Molly for that time, but not wanting to keep dogs indoors, she left her out on a chain by one of her doghouses. One night, someone, likely her drug addict neighbor, cut Mollies collar, probably stole her to get drugs, and she was never seen again. She was 8 months old.
The 4 boys were as I remembered them, feisty, full of life, and quite friendly. As were the parents. I had to tell them that the dog in the backseat was not Molly, and I told them what happened. We talked for a bit, as I watched Peggy frolick about the yard with the other, younger shepherds. I was a bit uncomfortable, telling them that I was careless, and lost the pup I had gotten from them years before, but as we talked, and I looked for an excuse to bail, I realized the 4 boys had a different concern, because they kept asking if I was looking for another dog. Then as the parents chimed in, I got the real picture. The family was leaving town in the near future, back to Salt Lake City, Utah. And they would not be taking 10 year old Peggy with them, trip would be too hard on her. They knew she had a zero chance of being adopted, so they had scheduled for her to be put to sleep the following week. But kids never give up, and now I realized I was their ray of hope, and the parents agreed if I was interested in taking Peggy, they would cancell the visit to the vet. But, I was still in my" Puppy Only" mode. I looked closer at the big aging old female. Her face was lovely, but could I deal with her health issues? I looked at the 4 pleading faces around my car. I gave the family my phone number, told them I would think about it. I started my car, turned around, and left the way I came, and as I looked in the rearview mirror at the dogs and people staring after me, I realized one thing. I had no intention of returning.
A week went by, 10 days, and I tried to go about my life. But I couldn't get Peggy out of my mind. She is probably dead by now, the family gone on their way, I kept telling myself. It would be better for her, I thought. But I couldn't get her face, her eyes, her poor worn out body out of my mind. Suddenly, on October 8th, in a near panic, I dove into my car, and raced for the outskirts of Fairbanks. A short time later, i was turning down the narrow road to the house on the end. As I neared, I anxiously looked to see if she was still there. As I rolled into the drive, Peggy came sauntering out to the Festiva. Quite suddenly, she had become the most beatiful dog I had ever seen. I got out of the car, and knelt to hug her. Tried to not take too much notice of the creaking bones, but she was all GSD. The family were all out, save for the father, and he grinned when he saw me. Kids will be thrilled when they find out you returned. We talked at length, and then it was time to load Peggy up into my car, and we headed off home.
Peggy was with us for 2 short years, before dying suddenly on Febuary 13 th of 04 of a stroke, while out on one of our walks. She was the most gentle lovely dog. Peggy was the dog that would make me rethink my position on puppies and focus my time and energy on seniors. She was the one who would make me comfortable with taking dogs that had health issues and dealing with them. And lastly, it proved to me, you can love a lifetime in a really short time, be it a few months, a year, 2 years.
Here are some photos my little bear.