Thursday, September 22, 2011

Celebrating National Dog Week with Teddy

So six months after we adopted Boo, I wanted to adopt a purebred sheltie. I'd had Tulla for all those years who was mostly sheltie, and she was such an exceptional dog. I wanted to see what a purebred sheltie would be like. Besides, Boo had made it abundantly clear she wanted a dog companion. I'd been in touch off and on with Sheltie Rescue of Utah and had helped them in a few volunteer situations. They had several possibilities for adoption, so my husband, Boo and I drove down to Salt Lake to meet a possible match. The shelties were all lovely and wonderful. Boo got on fine with all of them. But I just didn't connect in that special way with any of them.

Until Barbara brought Teddy into the room.

He sauntered straight over to me, grinning that sheltie grin, and lay his chin on my knee and gazed up adoringly with his rich chocolate eyes. I melted. It was love at first sight.

But there was a catch: Teddy had already been adopted by a family. They'd be picking him up the next day. I was heartbroken, to say the least. I went home trying not to feel sad--I mean, he had found a forever home, hadn't he?

Then, about two weeks later one night, Barbara called. "Are you still interested in Teddy?" she asked. I about dropped the phone. As it turned out, the father of the family was terribly allergic to Teddy. They tried all kinds of special shampoos and pills (for the dad) but nothing worked. Heartbroken, they returned him to Sheltie Rescue. I was down there in a New York minute to pick him up. It was meant to be.

That was eight years ago. Teddy has truly loved me in a way no other dog has. The two things he lives for is me and food. That's it. It was his love and devotion to me that inspired me to write A Dog's Way Home. One day, when hiking way up in the mountain with Boo and Teddy--Boo out searching for critters, Teddy glued to my side--I tried to imagine what Teddy would do if we were separated and he had to survive alone in the wilderness. I knew without a doubt, he'd do everything he could to get back home to me because I am his girl.

Teddy will be thirteen soon. He sleeps a lot of the time and no longer chases Boo in the back yard. He can't hear worth squat, and cataracts now film those gorgeous brown eyes. But he still loves me with an unwavering heart. I am still, and will always be, Teddy's girl.

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