She’d been thrown out the window of a fast moving truck. Her mate, as well, but he’d jumped clear of the road. She’d landed with a splat in the pavement, an unmoving pile of fur. The angel who saw it happen stopped to capture the boy and move her body off the road. As she bent over her, an eye fluttered open.
She was a mutt, but looked mostly like an Aussie Shepherd. The vet said she and her mate had belonged to backyard breeders. Her uterus had finally exploded from years of whelping. The vet said whoever did this couldn’t tell which one was sterile, so he threw them both away. The rescue said the little boy, a cattle dog, was totally socialized and “normal” and was adopted right away. But the girl, the baby girl was another story altogether.
She’d never been out of a cage in a dark barn, so she didn’t know how to stand and walk upright or how to run. She crawled on her belly like a reptile. She spent five long months in rescue. She chewed through the highest gauge chain link fencing, so great was her fear of being caged again. So the rescuer brought her inside.
She couldn’t be house trained, she would hold it in for days. She had a boo boo inside one day and when the door opened she fled, hiding under a porch for five days, so great was her fear of punishment. She was put on Petfinder as a “special needs” adoption.
I was one year in grief recovery after losing a beloved baby under crushingly sad circumstances. I’d decided “No more fur babies!!” That’s when it happened. A customer at work left an out-of-town paper on a chair. It was folded open to ads for pets. I picked it up and there was a photo of an elderly golden retriever boy with a sweet face. The ad said: “Emergency! Owner passed. Must find home asap.” My heart melted. I called the shelter some 100 miles away to inquire.
“All our pets go up on Petfinder,” they said. “Type in the info and our city and if he’s available his picture will pop up.” So I opened Petfinder, typed in “male, senior, golden retriever, Lewiston, Idaho.” I said a small prayer to Angie my deceased Aussie. “Angie,” I said, “I know I asked you to send us something freckled. But it’s ok to send us the one who needs us most.”
Up popped the Aussie, the damaged baby with special needs. The screen request clearly said “male, senior, golden, Lewiston”. What popped up was “female, Aussie, middle-aged” and a town 200 miles from us! I was blown away! There was her photo and right on her back, facing the camera, a giant freckle! I called the contact number, no answer. I left a blubbering sobbing message about Angie and how I’d searched for another dog, a boy, a golden (who by the way had already been adopted) and how I’d asked Angie for help.
Well that did it! The rescue said the Aussie could become ours. We named her “Emily.” Emily, oh Emily. I’ve fiercely loved all my dogs, but some dogs fiercely need your love. That was Emily. Oh my Emily. We drove the 200 miles to pick her up. The rescuer was doing an adoption event at a pet store. But instead of opening a dog crate, she opened the back door of her SUV and slid a totally limp pile of fur across the seat and plunked it into my arms. She hung limp. Oh my goodness, I thought. What have we gotten ourselves into?! But one look into that sweet face and I knew we were meant to love her.
Emily had never been pet and thought she going to be struck. So we invented “The Invisible Dog.” My daughters and I would put her on the bed. Then I’d pet my daughters and they’d pet me, all the while saying “pets” in a happy voice. Then we’d turn to “The invisible Dog.” “Pets, pets” we’d say while stroking the make-believe dog. Then we’d do the same for “kisses” then “hugs”. One day, it just clicked. She scooted over to us and stepped into the space of the invisible dog and she never stopped asking for pets and kisses and hugs.
She loved the sunshine and would lay out next to her favorite lilac bush. Thirty minutes on one side, get up, turn over and 30 minutes on the other. Like a lovely croissant. I still remember the smell of her fur fresh from sunbathing.
She learned how to speak, and I don’t mean woof, but talk. I would pull into the driveway after work and my daughters would open the front door. Running out out at a hundred miles an hour Emily would come to the driver’s door. I’d open it, and she would look into my face, eyebrows wrinkled in contemplation. Where were you? “Ver wa wu?” in dog speak, Emily would ask. I’d say, “I was at work”. Woah, woah she’d say, her head nodding up and down. Then like a rocket, she was off, back to the door. “Home, she’s home!!!” (“Rhome z rhome” in dog speak)
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Every morning she would race downstairs, her butt wiggling a mile a minute. “Herroo!! Herroo!” as she backed into chairs and plant stands all in her joy to greet us. Oh Emily, my Emily. How we loved you. One night she started panting. A trip to the vet confirmed end stage heart failure. We held her in our arms as angels came from heaven to bring her rest.
May you all know an Emily. Remember, never buy a puppy from a pet store. That puppy’s mother might be an Emily.
Story submitted by Christine Mikalson from Farmington, Washington.
Emily’s story was originally shared on The Animal Rescue Site. Share your very own rescue story here!
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