Right before my 30th birthday, I did a rather sneaky thing.
Y’all know you never go to the Humane Society “just to look”, right?
Course ya do!
So did I, as 29-year-old wanting a second puppy me drove my husband on a “mystery field trip,” straight from our little starter home in Hoover all the way to Homewood, right up to the doorstep of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society.
“Aw, man, this is so wrong,” he teased me as we pulled in.
“Oh come on! I knew I’d never get you here otherwise! Just come take a look with me!”
So we did, and it took all of about 10 minutes before we found her, a beautiful little doe-eyed 1-year-old with the unfortunate name of “Dingo.”
I asked to play with her, and the volunteer suggested we take her outside for some fresh air and a game of catch.
One throw, you guys.
That’s all it took for this Little Miss to steal my heart. I took a standard-issue tennis ball and tossed it maybe 15 feet out. She took off like a shot, retrieved it, and then promptly crawled into my lap, as if to declare to all:
“I like this one. She’s going to be my mommy. Let’s make it official.”
Rett wasn’t so easily sold, but he was certainly smitten enough to agree that we’d bring Abby back the next day to see if they would get along. As if the deal wasn’t already sealed, but whatever – I humored him :).
He made the workers promise up and down and all but pinky swear not to let anyone else adopt Dingo until we returned the next day. Thankfully they kept their word, and after a brief butt sniffing orientation and short walk together around the property, Abby and Dingo decided that they could in fact, yes, become sister Waldens.
Those first two weeks were rough. Dingo, who we promptly renamed Sadie Bacon (don’t ask me why on the Bacon part – it just fit), had been abused in her first year, and any attempt at training her with a firm “No!” would result in her peeing right then and there, out of fear and confusion.
This was right around the time we learned that anti-anxiety meds aren’t just for humans. Thank goodness for Clomicalm, consistency, patience and time. She soon realized we were kind of alright, and this was actually a pretty good gig she had found.
When we brought home baby Ella, Sadie was the first to sniff out this interloper of a package in the pumpkin seat. After a few summary licks, she decided that Her Royal Pinkness could stay.
By the time we brought Connor home, she was all like “Yay! You brought me another one!”, curling up at the foot of his cradle when he napped, and being way up in my business if he so much as stirred and I wasn’t in the nursery fast enough. Those two have always had the most special bond out of everyone in our family, and I know today and the days to come will be especially hard for Connor Man.
When we lost Sadie’s big sis Abby a couple of Christmases ago (because 2020 wasn’t already the worst year in the history of ever – lookin’ at you, pandemic plus a side of breast cancer), Sadie would stand in front of the fireplace looking lost. She never realized it was her own reflection, so she just lingered there, confused and lonely and missing her furry partner in all things mischievous.
She wasn’t quite sure what to think when Miss Dolly Parton arrived, but she has loved this new one very well. As Dolly has her.
The little one will charge and pounce and corral our Old Girl to wake up, wake up, wake up! because it’s a new day and aren’t you just so excited it’s a new day?! She will bark all kinds of bossy dog-to-dog commands at Sadie, all in love, of course:
“Hurry up! The back door is this way! It’s time to go outside!”
“Hey don’t walk too close to the pool! You don’t want to fall in again, remember?”
“Yooooooo! Get over here! I found a rabbit!”
“Oooh! A golf ball! Let’s try to eat it!”
“Damn squirrels got away from us again, Sis. We’ll sure get ‘em next time!”
I’ve had a few good cries today. Even though this is the second time I’ve had to say goodbye to a pet of my own (from the adulting years – one that I’ve done all the things for; not counting childhood pets), this process of saying goodbye never gets any easier.
Our little prayer is that when Dolly gets a “Little Sis”, that the new one does just as Dolly has, bringing with her the spirit and funny little habits that Abby had before her. We have no doubt that in Dolly, the spirit of our Abby Rose has come back to us.
We love you forever, Sadie Lady Bacon Baby, and we will see you again soon.