Though we know the end of her life is near, we share our love with her every single day. She has good days and bad days, but she is always the little trooper with an attitude who came to live with us fourteen years ago when she was just two years old.
Her hearing is gone, but she has adapted well to hand signals. She is my constant companion throughout each day. And, in the evening when my husband is at home, she is his devoted sidekick. She shares her affection equally between us, though secretly she loves him just a little bit better than she does me. But that’s okay, because she is who she is and came to us with attachments already formed with her former owners, an elderly couple who loved her, but couldn’t keep her.
Norm and Millie…I remember the day we met them and the little tyrant who would become part of our family.
“I named her Bonnie Lass…you know, like My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean,” Norm said. He was smiling from ear-to-ear, while the little pooch barked wildly and circled the room as fast as she could.
“Our neighbors won’t even talk to us anymore, because of all the barking.” Millie, his wife was not laughing.
“She’s a good girl,” Norm insisted. “But this cancer is getting the best of me and we have to find a good home for her.”
“We’ll give her a good home.” I said, against my better judgment…but she was so darned cute…the tiniest sable and white sheltie I’d ever seen. I couldn’t seem to stop myself, even though it was clear the little kid was going to be a handful.
“Does she sleep in a crate?” I asked.
“Oh. sure…sure…” Norm answered. And though I wanted to believe him, I was pretty sure he was fibbing. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to question him further.
I probably should have. The first night home, as expected, little Bonnie Lass whined in her crate. Everything was new to her, so we forgave her.
But, after two weeks with no change and the other two shelties were walking around the house with long faces and droopy eyes, I began to think I’d made a huge mistake. I was exhausted. And when my easy-going husband, began to sound like a man on the brink of exasperation, I knew what I had to do.
I called my friend Carol who’d just lost her fourteen-year-old dog and told her my dilemma…did she want Bonnie? No. But she had a friend, Mary, who already had a sheltie and might be interested.
So Mary, bless her sheltie-loving heart, came to our home, took one look, and smiled. Bonnie was on her way to her new home in minutes.
“What a relief!” Jim said, and I knew I’d done the right thing.
But two days later I called Mary to see how she and Bonnie were getting along.
“She’s a doll!” Mary said.
“What about nighttimes?” I asked.
“Oh, she sleeps like a log.”
“In a crate?”
“Oh no, on my bed…I think that’s what she’s been used to.”
Two more days went by and I just had to call again.
“How’s she doing?” I asked.
“Just great!” Mary said. “She’s a wonderful dog!”
Yes, I knew she was. But now she was gone. Jim and I were watching some silly episode of Dr. Phil when the tears started creeping out of my eyes. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop them.
“You’re not crying about this show, are you?” Jim asked.
“No, of course not!” I couldn’t talk about it right then.
But next day, I called Mary again.
“How’s she doing?”
“Coralie,” Mary said, “I think we both know what needs to happen here.
“I’m so sorry, Mary.” I felt like a traitor.
“It’s okay. I totally understand. I’ll bring her by tomorrow.”
Mary walked in, unhooked Bonnie’s leash, and she was off and running…right across the living room and into Jim’s lap. Mary just laughed. “I guess we know who she really belongs to, don’t we?”
I didn’t care who Bonnie thought she belonged to! She was mine and she was home!
It didn’t take her long at all to train us. No crate; no problem. Simple as that.
We’re going to miss her terribly, when the time comes, but for now, she just keeps on barking and circling and keeping our home in a joyful state of laughter and love.