Sunday, March 1, 2009

SWEET ALMONDINE

click photo to enlarge Shade; where are you? Shade; Come! Good boy Douglas! Good boy. It's a chilly day down on the East Tellico hiking trail. The clouds are gray and the breeze is bringing on the smells of rain. A huge storm is brewing with a severe drop in temperature according to the weather forecasters. They aren't usually correct on their predictions, but this time my senses tell me we're in for a big one. So, I'm hurrying along the lakeside trail with my guys so I can get them home before the rains come. Another hundred yards will bring us out at the truck. But what is this? A small brown shape laying beside the trail; tail wagging, sort of. The tail doesn't seem to know weather to wag entheuastically or not. There is apprehension present in the little dog. Yes, another dog! A brown and white boxer mix dog was laying on its stomach at the edge of the trail watching me as I approached. The dog appeared to be very tired. It's head bobbed up and then down as I came near. My hand placed gently upon it's head calmed the apprehension in the little dog. It was a typical find. No collar or identification, but the mark of a collar was on the hair around the neck. People! What future do they predict for this little dog? Do they care? Even if there wasn't a storm coming; I would have taken the dog home. As it turned out; this was a lucky dog as the storm that finally arrived was huge. Her assimilation into my pack of guys was uneventful and Almondine (yes, a girl) found her place within it. She was taken to the vet for her shots and vaccinations and heartworm tested. Evidently someone cared enough for her to leash train her. She walks at my right side on the leash perfectly. Her body just barely touches my pant leg while we walk and she stays directly beside me. What a delight! I'm used to the one hundred pounds of energy that Shade emits when I walk her. Douglas is better but he can be a handful also. Almondine is a delight. This little dog quickly became a favorite, and I her's. Eventually, when I would go to bed, she would hop up beside me and lie down against me. I didn't mind. Actually, I appreciated the extra warmth. It's cold in this room. This became a nightly ritual. I like to reach out and gently let my finger tips caress her forehead until I hear her take that deep, single inhallation and exhale that indicates she is almost asleep. Sweet little dog. Sweet! She is always at the fence when I come home and she bounds over to me for her ear scratching when I sit down at the computer. Then she lays at my feet. We had bonded very well. It is obvious that she looks to me for everything she has. I would take her with me in the truck often. She sits beside me and leans against my right side, her head against my arm. I would turn and look down at her only to meet her gaze. She always kept her eyes on me. It was obvious that she adored being with me. And I with her. In the evenings I enjoyed her sitting beside my chair allowing me to pet her broad head. She would half close her eyes and become enthralled by my attentions. Sweet, sweet little girl. She isn't what one would call beautiful or pretty. I look beyond that in dogs. She was in need. I came along. And we bonded very tightly. She is my friend and I hers. But when you're activities take you into dog rescue; there is a down side to the process. That downside is that eventually the dog that has been in your care will be adopted. The loving dog that has bonded so tightly to you, and who has trusted you in every way must move on. And so it was with Almondine. As usual I received the call at work that Almondine was adopted and would be leaving within hours. I knew this was going to happen from information imparted to me a couple days earlier. I spent special time with Almondine. When I hung the phone up at work I had to walk outside to wipe the tears from my eyes. I envisioned her as I have always known her and even imagined her fragrance. I could see her eyes plainly in my mind staring at me as if asking whats next dad? Almondine, Almondine sweet Almondine. We are deprived of a last farewell with each other. My heart is sad, my favorite sweet girl. But at the same time, happy for you. For now you have stepped into that part of your life that will offer you a chance at complete happiness forever. You will forget me soon, dear one; as it is the way with dogs. But I shall never, ever in a lifetime forget you precious girl.