A large puppy wandered up to our place during the ice storm. He had been dumped on the road in front of our property.
As we sheltered him throughout the following snowstorms, I grew more and more fond of the guy as we hiked into the woods in the snow.
For three days I contemplated whether I should keep him or not. One rough night with the overactive puppy we made the decision to take him to an animal shelter in the morning. The decision really made me sad.
The next morning I took him for what I thought would be one last snowy walk. By the time we got back to the house, I had decided he wasn't going anywhere.
After losing two elderly dogs in as many years, we were going to forego any more pets so we could travel more without having to worry about what to do with them when we were on the road. Plus, I didn't want to go through the heartache of losing a pet I really loved once again.
I'm getting sensitive in my older years and I just don't want to have to morn the loss of another pet if I don't have to.
One of the dogs we lost recently was Polly. I called her my village dog because we couldn't identify her breed. She kind of looked like an Australian shepherd but had no desire to herd anything. If you threw a ball with the intention of having her chase it down and bring it back, she'd just look at you as if to say, "Why'd you do that?"
But, she loved to go on climbing or hiking adventures with me when no one else would. On the Colorado Plateau I would look up to find her on a sandstone ledge above my head and wonder how she got there. I really missed her when she was gone.
I'm not sure I realized how much I missed her company until I was wandering through the snowy Tennessee woods with a companion who would plunge his nose through the snow into an unseen hole in the ground, expel a big snort into the hole, pull his snow covered head out and look at me like it was the coolest thing he had ever done.
I was in heaven. We chased deer from the scrub, climbed fallen trees over frozen creeks and shooed away noisy crows.
In the process I lost my fear of loosing another pet and regained the excitement of having a companion that thinks that sticking his nose in a hole in the ground is the best thing in the world.
Of course, I had forgotten that with a large puppy you have to live with a yard that looks like a battleground for some time. We'll work through that.