“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.” ~ Thom Jones
Losing Oscar was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced in my life. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt loss in such a way as I did the in the days following his death. For some that may sound odd but for those of us who love our pets as our own children, when one of our babies passes it’s excruciating. Without notice, a part of me was gone, leaving a void. With Oscar’s loss, my heart broke in a thousand pieces. I was devastated living with a hole in my heart a mile wide. I had no idea if I could open my arms, my heart and our home again to another fur-baby honestly. I mean there’s no replacing your fur-babies, they have their own unique place in your heart, with their own personalities and charm. The idea of bringing another animal into our home, soon after Oscar left for Rainbow Bridge was comforting and yet a bit rattling too. We talked, we cried and we kept coming back to a quote someone had shared with us, “When I die, please don’t say I’ll never have another dog. Search for the ones who are abandoned and forgotten. Give them a second chance. Honor my life by saving another.” And that’s exactly what we did on November 16, 2016 when Ryder became an official member of our little family.
We met Ryder a few days before after we visited the farm, a sanctuary for Doxie’s just a few miles from our home. I can’t say enough good things about the amazing people who run this place. We came in feeling overwhelmed and left knowing we were a part of a family. Ryder, he’s a handsome puppy, a chiweenie to be exact. Ryder, well you could say he has imprinted himself upon our hearts. At first he was quiet, keeping back as if he knew we needed time. It wasn’t until the end of our visit Ryder really began pushing himself into our hearts. His ears are what caught our attention at first. He was lying on a pillow just kind of waiting for us to have that “ah ha” moment with his ears up, head tilted sideways. He was so relaxed and patient with this, “what are you waiting for” look on his face we couldn’t resist. And it was in those moments we knew he’d been waiting on us, or maybe truly we’d been waiting on him all this time. As a family we had no doubt Ryder was already a part of us, and our home was his.
Flynn Ryder, our little Low Ryder has brought such love and happiness into each of our lives, carving his own little personal place in our hearts. He’s definitely learning how to get what he wants from each of us too. He loves to lick us, bury his treats under our pillows and scratch at our legs to pick him up. Ryder simply loves to wrap himself around our necks, plopping himself in our laps and in our arms like a baby. Seeing Ryder and Mama bond has been so moving and uplifting, especially after watching her mourn alongside of us. Where one goes so the other goes. I love climbing into bed and finding the two of them burrowed under the covers, legs crossed over the other. Our little Low Ryder follows Mama around all day watching everything she does, snuggling up beside her every chance he gets. Less than a week under the same roof and Mama and Ryder are best buddies greeting us at the door together, sunning themselves outback, looking for treats after a potty break, sleeping side by side under the covers and chasing each other and playing as if they’ve been pals since forever. Ryder, he’s simply a love. Life without him doesn't seem possible. And now that we’ve adopted our little guy, I kinda wonder who rescued who honestly. The truth is I don’t know how we’ve lived all this time without him to be honest. He’s a bundle of pure joy; bringing a new energy into our home. Ryder can never replace our Oscar, but he sure can and is making his own separate, unique place in our hearts and our home. I can tell you this, “whoever said money can’t buy happiness has never paid an adoption fee.”
And that brings us to Life Lesson #100 ~ live, love, and rescue. As said by the National Mill Dog Rescue, “Rescue: It’s not just a verb, it’s a promise.” And we have made that promise to Mama, two years ago, and to our little Flynn Ryder last week and wait for it…Fabian just today. Yes we are the proud humans of not just one but three rescue dogs. The truth is Mama, Ryder and now Fabian have pretty much turned things right side up around here. They’re a beautiful mess, each one bringing sweet joyful chaos in to our home. Honestly rescue dogs are some of the most affectionate, devoted, adoring and warmhearted animals you’ll ever meet once you’ve opened your heart to one. Adopting a rescue dog is about understanding while “you can’t change a dog’s past but you could rewrite his future.” And yes, that’s the hope and love behind our commitment to rescue. I have to believe our Father is watching out for these little guys, as He’s guided them into lives, choosing us to be their forever homes. The Bible says this about the very animals God has created in Psalms 50: 11, “I know every mountain bird by name; the scampering field mice are my friends.” Just as He knows our names, He also knows theirs. Today, knowing I’m the mama of three precious, curious and incredible fur-babies is a blessing I can’t fully explain. I’m thankful to have been found and now owned by not just one, not two but by three rescue dogs.
So let the fun begin. I have no doubt we’re in for some rowdy, rambunctious days ahead but it's an adventure worth the undertaking. Never a dull moment is definitely our motto. It’s no secret that we rarely see an uneventful day, and today has been no exception. As Joshua says so correctly says, “Here comes the cavalry.”