Friday, January 2, 2015

Meeting Penny

It’s December 22, 2014. As soon as we got off work we started the two hour drive to Cullowhee, NC. I have never been in that area, but I must say it is absolutely beautiful. The drive there was uneventful, albeit hectic. If you have never drove on the interstate highway between Knoxville, TN and Cullowhee, NC I recommend doing it at least once. The mountains are beautiful in that area.

Somewhere Near Waynesville, NC
We finally arrive to meet with Jean and Penny around 6:00 PM. Jean is a foster for puppies normally, but she took Penny in as there was no room at the other foster homes. She explained that in her area the shelters are all kill shelters and only have to keep the dogs for three days and then can kill them. I use the word kill rather than euthanize or put down as it brings about more emotion; and it should! Without people like Jean these poor puppies, dogs, kittens, and cats would all just be killed. We as humans have a responsibility to protect those that cannot protect themselves.

Okay, rant over. Penny was in Jean’s garage inside a small makeshift pen. She was sitting there quietly ears down and wagging her little nub tail as fast as it would go; she didn’t make a sound. Jean opened the gate, but Penny didn’t really want to come out at first. She was coaxed out and we all went inside the house. As Jean told us about Penny, Penny walked all around sniffing, peaking, peering, and really just snooping around. Several times Jean would just say, “Penny” and Penny would stop what she was doing and run over to her. It took Penny a few moments but she would come over to Jolena and I. She finally came by for a sniff, let us pet her and off once again to explore. She had trouble sitting still and just wanted to investigate everything. 

Keep in mind that we recently lost our dog Molly. Molly was a prominent fixture in our family for well over a decade and her death tore a hole in me that will never fully heal. I sat down on Jean’s floor and played with Penny as much as she would allow me. I held her, rubbed her ears and head, massaged her, and rough housed just a bit. Then of course my eyes began to fill with tears as Molly kept coming back to the forefront of my mind.

I have never had a dog that I truly connected with before Molly. It had only been a month since her death and here I was playing with another dog, contemplating taking her to our home. Trying to decide if she was worthy to fill the open spot that was left. Who was I kidding, there is no person, animal or thing that could ever fill that spot. I wasn’t sure what I was thinking coming here.

Then Penny came back to me, licked my face, and put her paws on my shoulders. Jolena asked me what I thought. Of course my reply was, “You know what I think. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t plan on leaving with her”. We started completing the final paperwork so Penny could come to our home and be a part of a family. Not just any family, but a family that puts more weight on happiness for the animals in their lives than themselves most times. But, the tradeoff is really one sided. We, the people in the dog’s lives, always come out on top. The love a dog provides to a human is never repayable. The comfort, love and joy we receive cannot be given any other way.

Penny, the 27 pound dog that looks like a giant rat terrier, will now be one of us. We will try to provide a home for her that repays, in the best way possible, the love and companionship she provides to us, her human family.  

We were told that Penny likes to ride in cars. That was not really true, perhaps whomever mentioned this in the notes thought she did because she sits in one spot and does not move. She would not get into the car on her own when we left. On the two plus hour drive home she did not once get comfortable and relax. She was shaking the entire time. I have taken her on several rides since and each time it's a struggle to get her into the car and she sits at attention and shivers, although she has improved. I think she is finally starting to realize that a ride is something to enjoy and not just another trip to a shelter or temporary home. 
Penny's Ride Home
December 22, 2014

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