We’ve posted before about Steven and Nancy, our friends who generously volunteered to adopt Hanni when she retired from her duties as my guide dog. Steven and Nancy and Hanni had a great several years together–Hanni lived to 17! But when she died earlier this year, Hanni left a big void. Nancy has posted here before, and here she is with some happy news.
When we lost Hanni in May, I was so sad. I cried more for her than I had for many people, which makes me a bit uncomfortable to admit, but there you have it. Could still cry about her if prompted, 6 months later.
We tried to look at the upside. We can travel and not have to worry. No more frigid trips outside late at night. However, those things didn’t really seem to help the fact that life seemed emptier without her.
We started to look at shelters and rescue sites. We need a dog who likes other dogs so when Whitney or any of our other family dogs come to visit, there isn’t a problem. We also have family cats. And then there are kids. I didn’t want a dog that can’t be around kids or an elderly person. So finding an adult dog who is dog, cat and kid friendly….that is more of a challenge.
We looked at a yellow lab mix but somehow it just didn’t click. I got in the car afterwords and bawled “We’ll never have another Hanni.” So, our new rule came to be: no yellow labs or goldens to remind us of our girl. Too much pressure to be compared to her.
I found eight or so dogs that looked like possible fits over a few months. I filled out the adoption forms for Great Danes and German Shepherd mixes and Heinz 57 varieties. We had house visits and interviews and my friends vouched for us…..but they all would get adopted before we could get approved and get to the shelter, which is good news for all of them. I had many matchmakers trying to make me a match. I figured something would work out eventually.
Then we made an appointment at the Pet Project in Marseilles, Illinois, a shelter close to my home town of Peru. There are some great people there who are really devoted to finding the right home for the right dog. We would look at a few pooches, including Wayne, a black lab. We got there and Wayne had just walked out the door with his new family.
But who just walked in the door? Doug. We had seen him on the website a week ago and knew he wouldn’t last a second. Sure enough, he went out the door like a shot, but was brought back for being too big, or some reason we don’t know.
Doug’s five years old, and he’s a big boy, 90 pounds and a major league face licker with a sweet disposition. Good with dogs, cats, and people of all ages. And, he looks like the love child of Hanni, Whitney and Harper, yellow lab to the core. But, it didn’t matter.
We clicked, birds sang and there was no question that he was going home with us.