It doesn’t happen often—but often enough to wonder. Dogs that are long-time residents of the rescue—the ones with special behavioral or medical needs who wait for angel adopters—find their way home only to pass unexpectedly just as they have found love. Not that they aren’t loved by us. But there is a difference between being loved and cared for by volunteers and being a chosen special someone and finally being home. It is if—wrapped in that security—that they finally fully relax and let their guard completely down. And in that vulnerability, cancer strikes or hearts fail.
Our hearts go out to their adopters who opened their hearts and homes only to be robbed of precious golden years. And yet, they keep coming back to us to risk it all again. “How lucky that they finally got to experience home,” they—and we say…and believe.
It sometimes happens in reverse. At 10 years of age, Bear survived the Camp Fire and the stress of makeshift accommodations before being surrendered to us.
Without a home, the family had no way to keep him. It wasn’t that his body didn’t show his age: his hind legs were weak and strange lumps and bumps hung off him everywhere. But his demeanor was happy and his old soul was sweet.
One of those lumps concerned our Doc more than the others. Bear took a happy ride to the vet “talking” all the way there as his mom had told us he was wont to do. It’s a German Shepherd thing. Under a gentle, anesthesia-induced sleep, she discovered that that we were too late. The invader had already burst. Bear had given us no clue.
This time, we are the ones feeling robbed. We did not know him long, but you could not love him if you met him.
The first roses of the season are bright and fresh and last and last. But the short-lived last roses of the season—in their frailty—are some of the most beautiful.
Here’s to you, sweet Bear. A winter rose beyond its bloom.
And all of the others we have loved and lost too soon.