Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Original post : February 24, 2014 "She must be in Heaven!"

Original post : February 24, 2014
"She must be in Heaven!"

That's what a lovely gentleman said to me one night when I was picking Nicki up from boarding at Boomtowne Canine Campus. We had two seconds to talk while picking up our fur kids, and I always wind up telling Nicki's story. The guy who left her tied to a fence so long that the skin from her nose had peeled away due to sunburn. The guy who left her tied to that fence and moved away. When the gentleman at Boomtowne that evening heard what she'd been through, and saw the love with which she was welcomed after we'd been apart only a few days, that was his remark - said in a soft, wondering voice.

Yesterday, we went for yet another walk, taking advantage of the break in the weather. Nicki eagerly tugged me along at the far end of the leash, hopping over snow banks and trying to jump up into trees after the elusive Squirrel. We ran through snow and plodded through muck, and she seemed to enjoy every minute of it.

I don't have a fenced yard, so Nicki is always leashed or tethered when outside. Sometimes I feel sad about that. She'd clearly love to run after those squirrels! But when I make the effort to take her to an enclosed area where she can run freely - she doesn't. I don't think she's ever had the chance. Just like she doesn't know how to play with toys, she also doesn't know how to run free. That's not only sad, it's dangerous. If she does get a chance to run without a safe area, she won't know how to handle it. She won't know to watch where she's going. She won't know how to find home again. So, we walk on long leashes.

When I tried to adopt a Border Collie after our Daisy's passing, I was turned down flat by most BC rescues because we didn't have a fenced yard. When I applied to Glen Highland Farm to try to adopt, I almost felt guilty! "She must be in heaven!" That TRULY had to apply to Lillie Goodrich's rescued BCs. They had acreage and ponds and other dogs! Adopting them away from that seemed unfair! I needn't have worried. I had no acreage. No other dogs. No fence. No chance. If you look at the stories of the lucky pups who have been adopted from GHF, you see a very similar profile. People with time, money, land, and other dogs. They're perfect.

My problem with that is that it would be like insisting that no family be allowed to adopt a child unless they owned Disneyland. These may be excellent homes - but so many of those dogs have been looking at me from that webpage for an entire year - and they've been there even longer. Not just at GHF - but in other rescues, as well.

But here we are with our Nicki. Apparently, she's being deprived, in some people's minds, by living with our family. No open fields. No other dogs. No livestock. No "safe" fence.

As I said, though, she doesn't seem to know what to do with open space. She doesn't much care for other dogs except in very limited contact. She's indifferent to other animals (except for Squirrels!) And yesterday, walking at the end of her leash, bouncing through the snow with me, I realized that she is more free now than she has been in a long while. Maybe her entire life. Tethered here, with me, she's safe. And loved. And cared for. And, more than before, free. I hope it feels like heaven.

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