As I write of my adventures in training with Sawyer, I felt a nudge from two dogs to include their story in our journey.
Let me start with Vivian. Just prior to going to training school, I was working at the local shelter. I was at the front desk when a staff tethered an old German Shepherd mix to a pole while she found a kennel for her. This dog had been dumped on the front porch in the middle of the night with $50.00 and a note that said they found her. She was in rough shape. She was blind in one eye, her teeth were worn down to almost nothing. She was pregnant and heartworm positive. She had just returned from the Vet having been spayed as she could not deliver puppies in her condition. She had her first heartworm treatment and had really been put through the mill. She stood there on her tether and she wagged at all of the humans who walked by her. Nobody looked at her as she was not a cute bouncy puppy or a yellow dog who by the way humans are obsessed with. She kept on wagging and my heart kept breaking as nobody saw her and her beautiful heart. I thought to myself "This is the dog everybody wants, but they are only looking for beauty, they are missing her inner beauty. I alerted the other staff if she should still be at the shelter when I returned from school that I would adopt her.
As I suspected, four weeks later she was still at the shelter. I took her home my first day back. I named her Vivian because I wanted her to feel beautiful and special. I thought that we may only have a couple of years with her as she was about 10 years old and had lived a hard life.
Vivian came into our family and was without a doubt one of the most gentle dogs I have ever known. I never trained her, she was perfect just as she was. She wanted to be with us and our other dogs and followed us faithfully wherever we went.
I will never forget the time I was fostering two puppies that had to be bottle fed. They were only about 2-3 weeks old. Vivian was lying on the bed with me. I bottle fed the one pup and set it on the bed. When I looked over Vivian was cleaning the pup and stimulating the bum so that the pup could poop. I just sat there and cried over the tender care she showed these puppies. It also reminded me that Vivian's puppies were taken from her. This was such a reminder that dogs live in the moment. Vivian was not mourning her loss or the life she lived. She was enjoying the life that she was living.
Vivian lived with us for over eight years. And to think I thought that we were offering her a hospice home. No, Vivian loved life and wanted to live it. She gave so much sweet and unconditional love to all of us.
Thank you for the nudge Vivian and the memories and thank you for reminding me about unconditional love.
Now Mugsy on the other hand...stayed tuned for the next installment.