Here Doggy, Doggy…


Dogs, and the companionship they offer, have been a big part of my life. As a child I calculated for years before talking my parents into a family dog. The humane society was where I found my pups during my adult years. First Sahm, then Boscoe then Tony. I wrote them into job contracts and rental agreements so that the dogs went where I went, they were part of the Marcy package. When diagnosed with terminal cancer, my long time dog pal of 16 years was on his last legs. He was increasingly deaf and blind and the drama of that year was hard for his deteriorating systems. He hung on and on but died the summer after my diagnosis. I was dogless.

My husband, taking seriously the needs of caretaking me, seeks anything that makes our lives simpler. He liked having no dog. The next summer a lovely cat with enormous personality moved into our backyard. We co-existed well. The cat clearly was feeding herself and content so we just enjoyed the daily visits. When the cold weather set in we finally bought cat food, kitty litter and allowed the cat to continue her co-housing. Mike was thrilled to say, “See, you have an animal.” I responded with, “Yes, a cat.” We both loved the cat and the cat did her best to act the part of a dog, following me from room to room, inside or out, and being a companion. But she was not a dog.

a cat, not a dog

a cat, not a dog

As I began the arduous treks to Philadelphia for treatment this past Spring, entering the Hail Mary Pass of an immunology clinical trial, I felt hopeful and a bit entitled. Surely for all this effort I was earning a chance to reclaim parts of my life. Maybe I couldn’t go back to our home in the woods or working fulltime plus or having long hair but wasn’t this effort worthy of some chit? Wasn’t I now eligible to have a dog in my life? My husband only groaned in response to the rhetorical question. So I plotted in my head leaving occasional breadcrumbs about dog rescues for my husband to acclimate to.

In October, I allowed myself to start looking at photos of dogs needing homes and found an incredibly developed subculture of foster homes and transit routes that brought dogs from high kill shelters in California to Oregon for adoption. Foster homes take in these dogs as the frontline placements to detangle their hair, heal their bodies and secure wounded personas, working miracles within the first week but not without a few reduced sleep nights and much cleaning up of toileting errors. I was privileged to meet a few of these moms as I explored adoption. I stay impressed!

Sawyer was on a larger list of cute possibilities that I wanted to check out. He was actually a bit lower on the list as he looked too much like my last dog but I was learning that the all volunteer infrastructure of this dog rescue world meant that there were a lot of unanswered inquiries and false leads. Sawyer’s foster mom got back to me right away and made checking him out so easy. Plus, she provided guidance, wasn’t scared of my health status and agreed to assist in the transition by taking Sawyer back in during my first travels post adoption. It was perfect. And then there was the fact that Sawyer was pretty darn cute. And so I have a dog in my life again, complicating it hourly (no, that’s my shoe; sure, let’s take another walk; sorry, now we sleep) in a way that reassures me I am going to live while I am alive.

Sawyer warming my feet

Sawyer warming my feet


23 responses »

  1. “The home without a dog or a cat is the home of a scoundrel.” (old proverb) You have now eliminated that possibility x2! Congrats to all for finding each other.

  2. ok, ok, so through my laughter and tears I’m thrilled with Sawyer’s arrival. I’m also relieved and very thankful that you’re keeping Mike too (though you didn’t say…). Good luck to all three (or does cat make four?) of you.
    And thanks for once again articulating a crucial fact of life (for dog people this time).

  3. You are so right. A cat is not a dog, although our cat, Loki, comes darn close. Congratulations on the latest edition to your household. He does look a tad like Tony, but I’m guessing he’ll have his own personality and will worm his way into your heart in no time. Give him a pet for me. When Dave recovers a bit more from his shoulder surgery, we’ll have to stop by and meet him. Missing you and Mike a bunch. Hugs, my friend.

  4. I’m so happy for you and for Sawyer! Thank you for sharing this heartwarming story with us… brought a huge smile to my face.

    • Opps, the whiz here at the computer sent her ‘reply’ (I think) before she was finished replying. Yep, you now have a new love in your life. One can never have enough love ones. To finish my ‘reply’ I was going to say.. I bet MIke is also in love with Sawyer but may not admit it..

      Besides my two grandchildren (ages 4 years and 6 years) who I love as high as the sky, forever and always……which I tell them everyday…..there is my cat Neela plus two homeless cats who sleepover’ every night Bubba and Spook. I think that I must have ‘sucker’ printed on my forehead.

      Happy Holidays and good times! I think of you and Mike often, two very special friends.

  5. Oh Marcy, he is just precious, and I’m so glad you have him. I have a friend who works tirelessly on the California end of the CA to OR transports. It wouldn’t surprise me if Sawyer crossed her path. Wishing you both lots of love, and time to enjoy it.

  6. From one dog lover to another: I loved your post, Marcy. That little guy is absolutely adorable, and you deserve to have such comfort!!! And, he deserves a family!

    I have an “ovarian survivor friend” who was diagnosed one year after I was. She was a huge dog lover and had five. As each one died, she would not get another, afraid of recurrence and not being there for them. FINALLY, she did … and got married and adopted 2 older human children. i’m 12 1/2 years out, and she is 11 1/2 years out. We have to keep living, right?

  7. Soooooo excited about your new baby. He looks so sweet! I know he will prove to be the perfect match for you. Sawyer has such interesting eyes. He looks like he is looking right into your soul. I am so happy you now have a companion. Without my three little ones, my life would be incomplete. Congratulations! Yvonne

  8. He is sooo cute and I bet he is sweet and grateful to be living iwth you
    and Mike. Love, Alana (A cat person forever but appreciates dogs too!)

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