Four years ago, on the Friday before Christmas . . .
“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”
The last Chapter in my dating memoir, “Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir,” is entitled, “Stick with Honey.” As many of you know, Honey is the Australian Shepherd rescue dog who appears on the cover. When I told my friend Dale Hanson the truth about “Adam,” the antagonist in my memoir, she offered this simple advice, “Stick with Honey!”
Well, I have stuck with Honey, through thick and thin! Truth be told, like most other relationships, it has not always been easy. We’ve had enough adventures to fill a book. Here’s the beginning of the story:
Four years ago, on the Thursday before Christmas, I got a call from a local dog rescuer who said she heard I was looking to adopt a Queensland Heeler or Australian Shepherd. She asked if she could bring an Aussie rescue over on Friday, “Just so you can meet her.”
I thought to myself, “What a coincidence that I would get this call today.” My previous dog, Queenie, a Queensland Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog), had died exactly one year ago, on the Friday before Christmas.
I tried not to take this as a sign from God!
Honey, Australian Shepherd rescue dog Photo Credit: Janeson Rayne
For a moment I hesitated. I already had plenty of other animals — four cats, two rescue pigs, and a dear mouse named Whitey. Life was so much easier without the responsibility of a dog. I knew very well that if this Aussie arrived on my doorstep it would probably be case closed.
The clever, determined rescuer softened me up by explaining how her organization goes into the animal shelter on a regular basis to save as many dogs as they can from death row. They already had as many dogs as they could handle in one trip and she almost didn’t notice this beautiful Aussie. She described how this little girl dog came up and gently licked her hand.
I imagined the other dogs desperately barking, “Save me! Save me!” while this Aussie girl wisely distinguished herself by quietly licking the rescuer’s hand.
So the next day, on the Friday night before Christmas, a truck stopped in front of my house. The back of the truck had several crates, each holding a yapping dog. The driver took out a beautiful, fluffy Aussie dog. She didn’t bark. It all happened very fast and I felt like I was adopting an unknown orphan child.
The unknown Aussie stood beside me on the street, appearing very calm. We watched the truck with barking dogs drive away. After the truck disappeared, Aussie girl looked up at me as if to assess this human being who fate had delivered her to. At that moment I think she saw right through me –she picked up that I was easy and that she had nothing to fear. She willingly followed me into the house.
What I remember from our first night together is that this Aussie, who I named Honey a few days later, not only did not chase my cats (at least not while I was looking), she licked Leo’s face. Possibly because Leo’s lips taste like cat food, but it looked like a sign of affection and scored big points in her favor.
Late that night, while we were in the kitchen, a band of raccoons that had gotten way too tame during the year that I had no dog, came looking in the cat door, to see if it was safe to come in. I noticed Honey staring intently at the door, well aware of the intruders peering in. Suddenly she let loose an explosive bark that would shatter the ear drums of the dead. That was the end of the raccoons sneaking into the kitchen and stealing cat food.
For the first few days, as is the case in most new relationships, Honey was on her sweetest, best behavior. She smiled at everyone and sat still during my yoga classes with her front paws crossed, observing my students like a flock of sheep. But gradually, as she felt more secure, the reality of her true nature emerged.
Another day I will tell more about “Sunny” Honey. She is the world’s most loyal and lovable dog, but there is good reason why friends have dubbed her, “Buffalo Girl,” “Thunder Girl,” and other nicknames that reflect her energetic, exuberant, spirit!
Happy Fourth Anniversary Honey! (Honey hopes her story inspires more humans to give a dog waiting at the shelter a forever home.)
Southern California Australian Shepherd Rescue http://www.aussierescuesocal.com/
Please spay and neuter your dogs and cats –thousands of animals are waiting on death row, hoping to be adopted before it’s too late.
Stick with Honey! Photo Credit: David E. Moody