A year ago, Sadie, our sweet, one-eyed, deaf, fifteen-year-old German short-haired pointer, walked up our long driveway to the road. We had adopted Sadie from an animal shelter when she was two, and I’d never seen her wander off by herself before. I had a moment of panic because she couldn’t hear, so I couldn’t call her away from the county road, and we weren’t sure how well she could see. I was certain she’d lost track of me and had become turned around as she purposely marched in the wrong direction away from the house.
Before I could make it to the end of the driveway to rescue her from the road, she returned with a puppy who followed her down the driveway to our house. Sadie had rescued a one-year-old stray puppy, an Anatolian Shepherd-Labrador Retriever mix, according to our vet, that had wandered close to our small farm. Never heard of an Anatolian Shepherd? They originated in Turkey as livestock guardian dogs and require at least four acres to run. Excellent farm dogs; not good city dogs.
The County Animal Control Officer told us that people dump puppies in the country all the time when the puppies aren’t so cute, grow and eat more, and become too much bother, and most of the dogs are killed within a week by predators or run over by cars, and the rest starve. He said if we were willing to care for the puppy, he was ours. We’ve always had rescue dogs, and Sadie brought him home. He was part of our pack. He followed me home. Can I keep him?
Toby was muddy and smelly, had ticks, fleas, and worms, and both of his ears were infected, but he was friendly as all get out and loved to run with TJ. The vet gave us a ton of medication and instructions. After a nice bath at the groomers, Toby wasn’t even smelly, and he quickly became Sadie’s protector as he stayed close to her.
Last March, sweet Sadie passed away at home in her sleep, but she trained Toby well before she left us. He was immediately housebroken and quickly learned all the household rules.
December is Operation Santa Paws Month. It’s the perfect time to take a big sack of dog food to your local shelter, or send them money. If your money is tight, donate your old towels to the shelter or check into the opportunities to volunteer your time. And if you’re ready to accept the responsibility and joy of a new faithful friend, adopt; don’t shop. Tell them Sadie sent you.