Saved From a Life of Doglessness, Part II

March 19, 2013  

Lovie finds out what love is, and smiles

By Eleanore MacDonald
You can read Part I here.

“She can’t stay here.” I said. ‘She’ll die of fright’. I was told that she had been carried in by a harried woman with toddlers her side. She was 8 months old and good with dogs, children – and cats. With 19-year-old Queen Lily at home, those were words that clinched the deal and I heard myself say (while another self was yelling ‘No NO NOOOOOOO Eleanore!”) – “I’ll foster her.”

It took me four hours to coax her out of the car. I sat, reading by the open car door, trying to let her know that she was safe. Darkness fell and I needed to get Posy goat put to bed for the night. Frustrated, I walked Posy to the goat villa and en route whispered to Djuna, wherever he may be. “Help her, please.” When I turned back to the house, there she was – standing in the open, tail tight between her legs, but out of the car. It seemed to be her safety zone, and she dipped in and out of it, trying her legs on new ground, looking for trouble and when her well of courage emptied, she’d hop back in to fill back up.

She slept in the car that night.

The next day, she came in after much coaxing – and immediately found Djuna’s sofa. Her power-spot. I examined her, doctored open wounds, and when she’d summoned enough of that special courage she had, she began to explore a bit. She returned from our bedroom with Djuna’s favorite (disemboweled, destuffed) stuffie, the hedgehog hanging from her mouth. A bit of a twinkle in her eye. Tail wagging. I have no idea where she found it. Maybe Djuna showed her.

Paul and I awoke at dawn the next morning, just at the time that Djuna would always come to snuggle with us, to this thin little being jumping on the bed – and taking Djuna’s place. “I’m afraid I like her.” Paul said.

Lovie is her name. She’s had her ups and downs here but once the dark shroud of trauma began to wear away, Lovie began to come alive. She started her second life like a tight rosebud, and shedding her fears one by one slowly opened to the light of love, as a flower opens to the sun. Each fresh petal told us more of her story. The sound of motorcycles in the distance sent her into a panic. She’d been terribly mistreated and had swellings on her body, signs of abuse. Large men with no hair and gruff voices brought on the shivers, her coat pilo-erect. The sounds of children in the distance perked her up, and while she eschewed kibble for days, she LOVED the rustle of a bag of chips, and dove into the butterscotch wormer the vet offered her. Chips and Candy! She’d had children of her own, and likely was their angel, that buffer between them and violence in the home. Dogs terrified her. She was covered with open bite wounds and old scars. We discovered that he’d been shot, as there were pellets under her skin, showing in small and hard, round wounds that she chewed at furiously for her first few days here … and purged herself of the pellets as though purging herself of her past life.

A bit of bird-dog betrays her lineage as we watch her sneak up on the birds and then hold a perfect ‘point’. She follows their flight path with envy and sometimes tries to take off after them. She loves water and mud puddles and has her own little pool now that she leaps into from six feet away with great, triumphant splashes, rolling and wallowing and grunting like a little pig. (We’ve found it to be difficult to keep her out of the horses’ water troughs.)

Lovie is just a pup, probably for the first time, really, in her short life. She’s learning how to ‘be’ in love and in safety, but really has come so far, so quickly. She’s studied the book that Djuna left behind for her in all of his scents that still linger. Food is good. Burying bones is good. Zoomies, leaping and flying and dancing, tongue waggling – good. Stuffies and sticks and water and pinecones – and socks and shoes are all good. (But Djuna forgot to tell her the part about bringing all of the things she asks us to throw for her, or those things she steals, back to us, running right past in mischievous squigglyness instead.) People are good. She has a job keeping us in line and making us laugh. She has horses to watch over and cats to cuddle – and is learning to speak the dignified language of ‘goat’. Greek will be next. With the great compassion kind dogs have, her boyfriend ‘Rudy’ has melted her icy fears and she now plays and leaps and runs with indomitable joy. She now loves the dog park and her pack of ‘littles’ there, and the larger dogs who can only try to keep up with her deer-like agility.

The car is REALLY good, and with the window open she leans her head on the sill, eyes closed, blissfully studying the notes that come to her in the wind. She’s been through ‘cat school’, being tutored, severely at times, by Madame Lily who, at 19 still has it in her to show her how to become an Honorary Cat. She has been to the beach. The pictures here tell us what she feels about that.

Lovie has been with us for two months now, is sleek and soft – we can’t see her ribs any more.

And she smiles.

With an incredible capacity for forgiveness, Lovie blossoms, filling our once dog-joyless home with the essence of great contentment – and a lot of laughter – echoing and magnifying all of the happiness (that filled dog shaped holes) that was graced us by all those who came before her – and when she comes up on the bed and nestles into our warmth … we smile.

People tell me how lucky she is that we rescued her.

But we’re the ones who’ve been rescued. Lovie Cupcake saved us, from a life of doglessness.

This article was originally published in Notes From an Endless Sea.

Eleanore MacDonald is a musician, animal advocate, and writer. Her first novel, All the Little Graces, revolves around the complicated beauty of the human-animal relationship. The book is available online as well as at Sammie’s Friends in Grass Valley, CA and the Skiathos Dog Shelter in Skiathos, Greece.

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