Walter: One Year Later

>> Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dear Walter,

Today is the eve of your observed birthday, marking one year since picked you up from that dog pound in southern Ohio. It's hard to believe you were headed to a gas chamber, especially when I look at you now. The days leading up to your rescue were emotionally exhausting, due to not thinking clearly, longing for another 'velcro' dog, and trying to make Alan understand that I wanted another dog not to replace Wembley, but to make something good come out of her passing. Then I saw your face five days before I met you, on Dogs in Danger. I emailed golden retriever rescues about you, trying to get you out, but nobody got in touch with me, and now I'm so happy they didn't. I know now that Wembley picked you out just for us.

I will always remember that drive, leaving in the middle of the night with Molly, my heart racing and pounding with adrenaline and worry that you might already be disposed of on accident by the time I got there. Molly and I trembled as we entered the windowless pound where they were hosing your cage down. In a silent gesture we held out our hands to show each other how much we were shaking, how anxious we were to grab you and Ava and get out of there, far away from such a sad place.

While Molly met Ava, I met you. You were so eager to be loved and held, and you were a mess: dirty, matted, and sporting a big eye tumor and an eye infection. Doubt crossed my mind if I had what it takes to rehabilitate someone with so many special needs, but I kept going, because I knew the moment I saw your photo that we had to be together.

Now it's a year later, and you have overcome an abundance of challenges that crossed your path:

Scared of men
Scared of going out in public
Scared of the bed
Scared of most people in general
Going up and down flights of steps
Crippling shyness
Confining yourself to the dog bed when scared

Sometimes I wonder what happened to your leg, and what happened to you to make you so terrified, but we both know it's better left a mystery. What really matters is the bond we share and the trust you have in me. Sometimes I can't believe how much I love you. It's often overwhelming in the best way. I think about people who passed you up, including pound volunteers who commented on your sweetness. You were so special to them that they put an ad for you in the newspaper, yet nobody came around or stepped up to take you home, and now I know this is because you were waiting for me. You're lucky, but I'm even luckier because I get to love you and take care of you for the rest of your life.

I love you, Walter. Happy Birthday!


Anonymous August 30, 2012 at 6:31 PM  

Your very beaufiful Melissa! When I get a place where I can have a pet I plan on rescuing and fostering. It is incredible what you do and truley inspiring!
Thank you for sharing


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