In honor of Mother’s Day yesterday this post is dedicated to my mother (and father).
This act I did not complete; my parents did. They welcomed a new member into our family on Saturday – an 8 year old dog named Willie Nelson.
What you first have to understand is my parents’ tolerance-turned-compassion for helping animals in need. These animals are usually found and brought home by their daughter. One of the most helpless animals I brought home turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to us: a dog named Bear. He was an old stray I found on the street 8 years ago this August. Bear was already around 10 years old by the time we adopted him and the vet told us he would be lucky to make it a year with all his “conditions”. He was certainly a special needs dog but that made us love him even more. He passed away last July and we miss him every day!
After our grieving finally started to subside, my parents started to hint at adopting another dog for them and for Nana, our yellow lab, so she can have a companion. They wanted a dog that was older but healthy and trained so he or she would be easy to introduce to and get along with Nana. Instead, we adopted Willie Nelson.
After visiting with Willie Nelson twice, I was convinced he would be a great dog for the family. He was a stray so that made him less predictable but he got along with Nana well and he seemed easy-going but energetic. When my parents finally came to meet him on Saturday, Willie was a different dog. Sick and lethargic, he gazed blankly into space instead of wagging his tail and greeting people as he had done previously with me. Willie had caught kennel cough, just got over an ear infection, had warts on his toes, and was recovering from fatty tumor surgery.
He was a sick, old stray that seemed to be more a risk than my parents wanted to take on at that point in time. Already having an aging dog on their plate and one that was special needs having just passed, they wanted a dog that could be easy to care for and wouldn’t be a risk for Nana and our cats.
After they gave me the look that this one wasn’t the right fit, I left in tears because I understood their decision whole-heartedly but still was sad because I had gotten to know Willie and knew he may be a hard dog to get adopted in the future due to his illnesses.
A couple hours later I texted my mom apologizing for leaving so abruptly and to say I understood their decision. My mom texted back picture of Willie in their car on their way home.
My parents made the decision after I left that this is what they do: Provide a loving home to animals that may not be given a second chance. Most of our animals we’ve adopted had been rescue animals, so what is one more? My parents’ willingness to take on these animals is nothing short of amazing. It is expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes heartbreaking. But they continue to open their hearts and lives to them and it is always worth it because our animals give back the love tenfold.
So now, Willie Nelson is currently separated from Nana (due to the contagious kennel cough) sleeping soundly in our kitchen. He is weak and sick and barely looks up when someone walks by. When we first got Bear, he stood blankly staring into space. No tail wagging, no interest in anything, no personality it seemed. But after he realized this is his home now and we’re not giving him up, he became a different dog. And we’re hoping the same for Willie; that he will pull through and realize he’s not going back to the shelter. This is his home forever!