I’ve been lucky enough to have two: one abused by an official and left in a shelter to die; another as a pup came from squalor and had her hips removed as a pup because they were the worst x-rays her vet had ever seen.
I like to think that I and the people surrounding me made them “real.” Chani would root inside her basket of stuffed animals when she heard a car to find just the right one with which to greet our guest. Abandoned and abused, she was afraid of men and children. Years later she always loved a ball at our park but took out a huge teddy bear I got for $.50 at that very park. All the kids called out her name to say hello when we came around the corner. She said her goodbye’s which I did not understand as she hadn’t been sick, and bled out the next day.
The pup, Zoe was very sick with coccidia and hookworms but they still spayed her at the shelter at five weeks. She was a herder from day one, popped out of the box on my lap in the passenger seat. Still is at age 11. Although she lived in squalor for a few weeks we adopted her at just six weeks of age. I don’t think she remembered her past, even her two hip removals, just us. She has such a sweet personality and everyone loves her. Neighbors from here and all around know her name, not mine. She is lucky to be a dog free of the trauma Chani had.
Zoe has gone through two devastating hip excisings but has emerged still cow-hocked but victorious. Happy, after working with thousands of dogs and cats for over 20 years I must say she is the Velveteen Dog of the decade, our Zoe. She is real, the happiest dog in the world, for everyone. Of course my pup was flawed, why else did she choose Aunt Dee to raise her? And I do raise her. I’m called Otis. I elevate our hipless wonder to the bed every night. As I was with Chani, I will be with our Zoe when she needs to go. Chani was real and built a neighborhood, Zoe and I got a crosswalk installed, they’re both real. Dee
Zoe doesn’t just love us, she loves Val, her hip surgeon, who she sees every year. We just call her cousin Val the Vet but 12 years ago she gave us our dog back and we thank her every day for that. Hey Val? Zoe’s now playing in the house with an American Silken Windhound (Borzoi/Whippet). She plays outfield. L is at bat and running the bases. They’re sisters, ten years apart, sighthound vs herder. It’s a lovely sight. Who knew?