I’ve spoken before about friendships that happen when you least expect them. And now I have another story to tell.
As we were rolling into summer, a friend called and asked if I could take over dog-walking duties for her. I had walked Ruffles, the dog in question, a few times before. Lynne needed to head out west to see her parents and I had not much going on so I said sure!
The plan was that I would walk him for two weekends and then he would move to a new home while his then-owner got ready to move into a nursing home. That was the plan.
Two weeks turned into another two and then an on-going commitment. Weekends only became weekdays as well for awhile. And we decided to open a bakery.
As we rolled into September, I started to panic a little. There are two major food festivals here that we need participate in. Lynne’s parents needed more help and more time than she had reckoned and Ruffles still needed his walk.
One day, his owner, Pat, started talking about her plans for the future, her need to stop living on her own. “I’m a hazard!” she’d say with a grin as she shuffled around her kitchen. Living alone was getting harder and harder for her. I worried that she’d fall. As gently as I could, I asked what her plans were for Ruffles when a space became available for her. Silence and then, very quietly, “He’ll have to be euthanized.”
“How sad will that make you?”
“I try not to think about it.”
I wrestled with my conscience for a moment. Alan and I had sort of talked about it. But in all the work setting up the bakery, we hadn’t actually reached a conclusion.
“We can’t let that happen.” I told her. “If you don’t have anyone else when the time comes, we’ll take him.”
You know when they say, a weight lifted from someone’s shoulders? I literally saw it happen. That woman was three inches taller when I left that day.
And how cool is it that when I said to Alan, “I told Pat we’ll take Ruffles when the time comes. That’s OK, right?” he just said, “Yuh.”
Well, Pat’s space came available and on Saturday night, we became dog people. The timing is terrible. Huge food festival this weekend. Tons of work and exhaustion. Plus we leave for Paris on Monday, a trip we planned ages ago. (Thank goodness for our friend Maxine who will take him in, love him up and spoil him rotten while we’re away.) But you know what? Now that he’s here, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wake up in the morning to his little cartoon face smiling at me, wondering if it’s time for a walk or a cuddle. He hangs out in the kitchen when Alan’s cooking. He makes friends wherever he goes.
We never planned to get a dog, he just wandered into our life and needed us.
And you know, some of the best decisions I’ve ever made were ill-considered and badly thought through, made in a moment of clarity when something deep inside of me just said “Do this!” and all the sensible parts of me smacked their foreheads and gave up.
How about you? Do you plan your life carefully and sensibly or do you follow that anarchic voice inside? And which do you prefer?
I cried. Yep I did. He was meant for you and you for he.
The voice inside me pretty much wins every time (and I wouldn’t have it any other way). SO glad you listened to your voice. Welcome to the family Ruffles 🙂
Ruffles thanks you.
Sweet story, from sweet gal with a sweet dog!! 🙂
Ditto what Kim said!! I cried reading this too!! Ruffles couldn’t have found 2 better fur-parents than you and Alan!! With all the insanity in our daily lives, between work, life, kids, family, life dogs are wonderful friends. Forever faithful always there for you!! Love love love my dogs!!
Does a dog have the buddha-nature?
Yes. Yes he does.
Say hello to Ruffles for me. Ask him to say a prayer if he’s not too busy.
I look forward to meeting him. Have an awesome time in Paris.
The Old One
Thanks so much John!
Great story Barb! Ruffles is lucky to have found you. I’m glad to have met him. And I don’t know who’s cuter – sweet-faced Ruffles, or you and Alan when you are talking about him and to him, and beaming! I think you are lucky Ruffles found you.
Yes we are!
So interesting how we are all connected in some way! I know Pat and I know Ruffles. How wonderful that you came into Pat’s life at the perfect time, how wonderful that Ruffles has found a loving home, how wonderful for you to have fallen in love with Ruffles!
Life…sigh..you just never know
It constantly amazes me! Thanks Karen!
I didn’t fully cry… just wet eyes… 🙂
And you know what came up here for me Barb… that on those shitty, blue days… you will take Ruffles out for his walk, and within 10 or so minutes of watching his funny little swagger, or an inquisitive ear cock, or whatever unique cute thing he does (and there are probably many), you will find yourself smiling, with a heart full of simple joy and that special kind of love that animals exchange with us… same thing on the time-stressy days… everything somehow melts away… Dogs are such wonderful healers. 🙂
Big scratch under the chin from me to Ruffles. And one for you too, if you feel so inclined 🙂 xx
Thanks Claire – I enjoyed that!
I just love the part where you realise you’ve got to tell Alan that you kinda, sorta already made the decision, (ooops) and he was sooo cool about it. That he ‘got’ that it was a no-brainer act of compassion and this over-rode any potential for him to be irked that you didn’t 100% check it with him first. He trusted you. Love it! Also a big fat ‘Hooray for dogs’. Max is out of sorts and is snuggled up between us right now – can’t beat it xx
I have a lovely, lovely rescue dog named Howler (fortunately, he doesn’t howl. My oldest, Matthew, named him that before we ever got him. He seldom barks and when he does, buddy, it means there is a serious threat!). We have had him for almost 12 years and he is, without question, the pivot of the whole family. No one walks into the door without calling, Howler, Howler, and waiting for him to come running. Only now, after 12 years, sometimes it is a slow shuffle or not at all and that makes all of us weep. We have recently had several anxious conversations and there is a bit of hovering going on.
As the weather has cooled here in Georgia, Howler seems to have increased energy and ‘swishy-tailness’ that is making us all smile.
I am so glad you have a dog in your life. Especially, when things are crazy and chaotic, I love plopping down on the sofa and loving on my big dog, and his smiley face telling me that everything, really, is going to be all right.
Sigh. Lovely! Thank you Sylvia!
Such a sweet, wonderful story and what an incredible gift you’ve been given… and have given Pat. Ruffles looks adorable and will give you much joy, I’m sure.
There have been so many times in my life when I think “Wow. I was meant to be here just now doing this.” I look back at things (hindsight being so much clearer) and shake my head in amazement at the series of events that brought things together. Some people think God has a plan. Some people think it’s Karma. Some people think it’s Destiny. I don’t know. What I do know is there are powerful things happening in the universe and I am happy to sit back and soak it all in – and smile.
Best wishes to you and your new furry member of the family. 😉
Thanks so much Patti! I especially love the smiling part!
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