Emma has come to stay.
For over a year I debated whether I should adopt a dog… made pro and con lists…talked with people. I told myself all of the things everyone is thinking: responsibility, schedules, the two cats. But a dog would be good for Boris. Companionship.
I changed my mind, and then I changed it again. I had a poster of Kisu, our only dog ever, framed and hung it in the family room. But that wasn’t enough.
Then one evening I read an article about companion dogs and Alzheimer’s patients. Boris needed a new interest, a friend.
So I decided to adopt a rescue Labrador retriever. I contacted an organization and after a lengthy interview and tour in our home, after my veterinarian and references were checked, we were “approved.” But five months later I was still on the waiting list, having been turned down three times because we didn’t have another dog, children, or a pool.
I couldn’t wait any longer, so I decided to tour all of the area shelters, and that is when I found Emma. Every dog at the kennel was barking wildly, but Emma just stood there, her big, sad brown eyes looking at us. She was recently separated from a litter of puppies, so her nipples hung down and her tail curled under her.
Emma had just arrived from Georgia, rescued by a local woman who makes monthly trips down to the horrible gas chamber kill shelters to rescue as many dogs as she can. (See link) Emma had been tied to a tree with five other dogs, scheduled that day to die. Instead, she made the 13-hour car ride to New Jersey during hurricane Irene (watch “Take Me Home” on Emma’s Link.)
No, Emma’s not a lab. She might have some lab in her, but she’s “just an old Southern hound,” to quote my mother. She points at birds and rabbits, digs holes for her bones, and doesn’t like the mailman. In our eyes, she’s the most beautiful dog ever. Fifty pounds of love. As I write this, she is lying on the floor against the sofa where Bo is napping, his hand on her head.
They walk together, sit together, go in the backyard together. Emma’s so happy you can see the change in her eyes. But Bo can’t remember where we got her, when we got her, or what her name is. “How old is she now?” he asks regularly. And I say it again, “She’s four.”