Ah yes, my epic meltdown.
That would be the one where I irrevocably dented Ekko’s poor food bowl.
We were both different after that, in a good way.
I began to actually embrace our walks, and felt a wealth of patience and love. I knew that we’d both passed a milestone; now that we’d both found peace. It was time, he was ready.
Shortly after Buckley came to the Rescue, we received an application from a potential adopter named Lauri from Seattle. Gordie, her aged Gordon Setter had passed over the Rainbow Bridge earlier this year. From her half-acre lot with a creek to her love of dogs and rescue experience, she was perfect!
I was optimistic, but Seattle was oh, so far away, and it was a long way to come to get a dog and then find out he didn’t fit in. We began corresponding regularly via email. I gave her detailed information and honest descriptions of our ups and downs so she would know what she was getting into. (Okay I might have glossed over the whole meltdown thing.) 😀
In turn, she confided that she wasn’t completely sure she wanted another dog. Her long-time boyfriend, also named Lori – his family is Scandinavian, where that is a man’s name – has Alzheimer’s. She thought Buckley might be a bright spot for both of them as the disease progressed, something they could simply enjoy with no remembering needed.
She surprised me with a ‘care package’ of coffee for the 5 a.m. walks and dental chews to help with his teeth, which needed cleaning.
We seemed to have a lot in common as the weeks and emails, which now included video and pictures, passed. My reaction when, focused on shooting video, I ran into a stick dangling from a tree and gouged my forehead was just a bonus. 😉
Around the end of August, about 5 weeks after we began fostering Buckley, I received an email from Lauri:
“I wonder if I found the reason that you didn’t give up on Buckley. Without you providing updates and info on exactly what Buckley is like I might not have continued to have interest in him, because of the distance. As it was the stories kept me thinking.. hmm,maybe. Well last night I showed my boyfriend the photo of Buckley looking at the printer and the photo of him standing on a leash looking at the camera with his head cocked. I’d shown them to him before but he didn’t remember. Anyway, this time he looked at the first photo, and looked and looked. I reached to take the phone to bring up the 2nd one but he held on to it a bit longer. Wanted to look some more. When I showed him the second one he did the same… lonnng look… with a dreamy-eyed smile. It made me think, whether *I* need Buckley or not, I think my boyfriend needs me to have him so he can enjoy him. It was a look I hadn’t seen for a very, very long time.
The photos came up in conversation because I’d sent them to a trusted friend. I told her I was considering adopting and asked if she wanted to ‘talk me down’. Her reply;
Lauri, you can’t say no now, this one needs you and you need this one, just look at this face, he needs your love!!!!!!!!!!! (Not much help, am I?)”
I was too moved by Lauri’s email to respond right away. It brought tears to my eyes.
Lauri and Lori must be incredibly special people for God to weave his handiwork to bring Buckley into their lives.
If we had never lost Harley, who was a boisterous handful, we would have never been able to take in Buckley. And if I had refused to listen to my inner voice and given up on him, this adoption would not be happening.
From that point forward, things began moving quickly. I began things to prepare him for his new people: we stepped up the car rides and increased our leash training.
Labor Day weekend Lauri surprised Lori with a drive to the airport; she told him they were flying to Minneapolis, renting a car and coming here to pick up Buckley. He was overjoyed.
My friend Jenny suggested wisely that we get him an Adaptile collar, which emits ‘happy’ pheromones to calm him for the transition to a new home and a cross country car trip. I placed the collar on him as they pulled in the drive, hoping that he would associate the ‘happy’ feelings with seeing them.
It worked like a charm! See? 🙂
Lauri and Lori were as nice as I knew they would be. They had planned to stay for an hour or so to get to know him, but thanks to the ‘happy collar’ he took to them so quickly that it seemed they were here only a few minutes.
Off they went on an epic road trip back to Seattle, venturing through the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, visiting the Corn Palace in Mitchell and the famous Wall Drug among other highlights. 2, 552 miles later, they were home safe and sound.
Buckley is now Bo, and is settling nicely into his new life.
He has some challenges: he still needs work socializing with other dogs, and he still hates being crated and left alone. But he’s learning to play, and he’s getting love and patience from people who have plenty of it to give.
“And Lori.. well he’s totally enjoying Bo. Loves to watch him run in the yard, the way he hunkers down and walks low when he hunts, the way he sits so tall and watches for squirrels and birds in the trees, the speed Bo has when he takes off on a dead run (after who knows what), his playfulness when we throw toys for him in the house and he fetches and prances around. (another video I need to get). He calls him Gordie 90% of the time and it makes me think that not always, but sometimes, Lori thinks this is Gordie. Has this allowed him to go back to when Gordie was still with us? Wouldn’t that be wonderful for anyone.. to be able to go back in time, before a loss, as if it never occurred? What a gift that would be. Sometimes I’ve thought it might be too confusing to have gotten a dog that’s the same breed as the one we recently lost, but maybe for Lori it was exactly the right thing to do.” 🙂
As for us, Bo gave us a new appreciation for our sweet little girls we have. Sometimes it’s easy to ‘want’ instead of appreciate what you have. It reminded me how precious time really is and how you shouldn’t squander it on things that don’t matter. And, thanks to him, I have a new friend.
It’s an amazing demonstration of God’s work that a sweet little boy who spent the first years of his life living in the shadows should accompany a man as his life’s journey takes him deeper into the shadows of Alzheimer’s.
Thank you for helping all of us grow into better people, Bo. Have a wonderful life. You deserve it. 🙂