OUR NEW YEAR MIRACLE
On December 28, 2012 I decided to follow the advice from a friend and adopt a pup through Petfinder.org. I had adopted before and we loved that pup. Eight years ago, a friend urged me to come save a small Wheaten mix puppy in Antioch, California. The pup was considered un-adoptable. He was sadly on the "kill list" after being abused and showing very aggressive behavior towards people. When I met him, he was shaved and still had bits of green paint on his remaining hair. He was shaking and cautious as he approached me. I sat there and waited to see if he would come to me. As he laid his head down on my knee, he looked up at me with his big brown eyes, and I knew he was going home.
Casey joined our big happy family - me, my 7 year old son, our cat and retired guide dog on our hilltop in Marin. A year later, we made the move to Tahoe. Casey still showed some residual skittish behaviors. He didn't like bicycles. He was weary and often aggressive towards men. He liked to "escape" for a free run-about the neighborhood despite our best efforts to keep him home. We all adapted.
One afternoon we went for our regular hike up Diamond Peak. We decided to let him off-leash once we were far enough up the mountain. A decision we came to regret. He ran back and forth in his bouncy manner for an hour, and then suddenly he ran into the trees. My son bolted after him and we spent the next hour calling his name as we tracked up and down the trail. We went home and waited for the phone call that was sure to come. He was wearing tags and micro-chipped so someone would call if he was found. For months afterward we called the local shelter. We called the County shelter. We informed our vet. All to no avail. We never saw Casey again. My son began volunteering at the local shelter to play with the dogs and cats, and I always believed, with the small hope he might find Casey again. I had assumed the worst with the large number of wild animal in our forest.
Fast forward to December 28, 2013 when I had begun to think about adopting again. I pulled up the website and saw, as my friend
suggested, "lot's of dogs that look like Casey". About 5 pictures down
was a dog named Snoopy living in Reno. It didn't just remind me of
Casey, the description noted a fear of men and some similar behaviors.
No, I thought steadying myself, you're projecting! I pulled up the
listing and read it again and again. The dog was whiter and had a
different haircut, but I knew Wheaten's lighten with age. I wrote to the shelter For Pets' Sake and asked if the dog would be about 8 years old, and I shared my story. Of course it was ridiculous.
I made an appointment to see Snoopy the next evening and I told no-one in the family for fear of elevated hopes. As I entered the room, I heard a familiar yelp and then the growl and bark. It sounds like him, I thought.
Sara Petersen suggested I just sit on her couch and talk so he could hear my voice and settle down. We talked about Snoopy's history over the past 4 years. His microchip was apparently unreadable, and he was found with no tags in Reno.
She had rescued him from County where again he was on the "kill list'
for aggressive behavior. She noted how he had been in several homes, bitten someone, and scared most prospective adopters away because of his aggression. "But', she shared, "He would look up at me with those brown eyes as if to say "Don't give up on me!" so I just couldn't". And how grateful we are for that!
"Are you ready?" She smiled and cautiously let him out of his kennel
to approach me.
As he jumped onto the couch and began to change his demeanor towards me, she asked, "Do you feel comfortable taking his muzzle off?" I did.
It became clear to both of us, as I sat with him and walked outside,
that he knew me and visa-versa. I could hardly stop myself from
tearing up and saying thank you over and over. And for the second
time, Casey came home.
So this story has a happy ending for our family. We refer to it as our
New Year Miracle. Casey rejoined our family. We are forever indebted to Sara Petersen and For Pets' Sake for never giving up on our Casey and the other dogs they save.