HAPPY GOTCHA-DAY, SHADOW!
I’m sharing this again today, as the celebration is bittersweet. We desperately miss Bravo, but his Shadow-Pup lives up to his destiny. He’s been a bright spot of joy during incredibly trying times. Here’s his Gotcha-Day story. . . first published June of 2020.
Bravo-Dawg had an eventful week. So did we. When you love a family member threatened with a serious illness, it feels like living under a shadow. In this case, though, the shadow brings hopes and smiles. And wags. That’s what happens when adopting a comfort puppy.
Last Sunday on May 31, 2020, as my husband and I planned a day of yard work, we discovered an abandoned puppy. The little one, far too thin and with a sore hairless patch on his side, wanted attention. Oh, and food.
Of course, we brought him inside. He drank two bowls of water, and three offerings of cat food (since his puppy teeth couldn’t handle “big dog” fare). Because puppies often carry “bugs” that we couldn’t risk spreading to our crew, the little boy spent that day and night in the garage. With the lights on, of course. I posted a video of him to a few “lost pet” sites but didn’t hold out much hope for finding his owner. This little one was too small, too fragile, and too young to have strayed on his own.
Bravo and Karma knew about him, of course. The sounds and sniffs through the closed door gave lots of clues. On Monday afternoon, our veterinarian gave him a relatively clean bill of health, other than intestinal parasites. The sore on his side, rather than contagious, appeared to be a healing burn. That cleared the way for Bravo and Karma to (very carefully!) meet the new twelve-week-old boy. Learn more about puppy to dog or cat intros here.
Shadow, the Comfort Puppy
Shadow, or more specifically, “Bravo’s Shadow,” arrived without warning. We didn’t plan for him. We didn’t want another pet. Our hands (and our hearts) are full of the challenges of Bravo’s potential diagnosis. We traveled to Plano last week for Bravo’s bone biopsy, and expect the results in a week or so. Waiting sucks.
But waiting with a new puppy, a new friend that Bravo adores soothes a bit of the angst. Who can cry all the time, when a puppy demands playtime? When Bravo brings Shadow toys to play with, and teaches the fine art of un-stuffing stuffies? He’s a twelve-pound mini-shepherd baby that, dare I say, also looks like a shadow-version of our Magical-Dawg. Karma-Kat has already adopted and decided to school Shadow in the proper way to treat a cat. So I smile through the tears, grateful for happy times even if tempered with worry.
We have some potent pain medication for Bravo for the next ten days and he’s no longer limping. Aside from a shaved shoulder and leg where they took the biopsy, he doesn’t look or act any differently. But he’s not allowed to run or jump for the next three weeks, as the diseased bone and sample removed make the leg more fragile. Our big athletic baby-dawg doesn’t understand why he can’t zoom around the property and must stay on a leash.
It helps enormously for Bravo to have his very own comfort puppy to keep him company and relieve his boredom. And it’s ideal for Shadow-Pup to learn how to be a dog from one of the all-time great canine companions.
Puppy Joy vs Scary Unknowns
A new puppy brings great joy. I remember when Magic arrived, and again less than two years ago when Bravo came home. At age twelve weeks, Shadow shares a birthday with Bravo. And now Shadow brings hope to this house, along with his puppy kisses.
These days I look for hope in the unexpected gifts that arrive, usually without fanfare or explanation, when we least want or think we need them. When we instead want to bury our face in our hands and weep, or scream against the injustice, or lie awake at night with no sleep, and rail against everything and everyone out of righteous anger and pain.
At our house, we’re living with painful scary unknowns. Much of the world also struggles these days with a myriad of unknowns, arguably of far more consequence than Bravo’s situation. At our house, though, we’re now also living with a new hope that came equipped with a wagging tail.
Now, Bravo’s a Tripawd dog. But he has a puppy attached at the hip, LOL!
Whatever your situation, I pray that you find your own shadow of hope in the unexpected gifts of your life.
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!