Guest post: Hanni left big shoes to fill, and this guy can fill ’em

November 15, 2017 • Posted in guest blog, guide dogs, Seeing Eye dogs, Uncategorized by

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.

photo of Doug licking Steven.

That’s Doug, 90 lbs. of yellow love, showing it for Steven.

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.

Harper Knezovich-Towles On November 15, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Welcome To the pack Doug, can’t wait to sniff you hello.

Diana On November 15, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Love this story and can relate. Finding the right dog can be hard and the pain of losing one is so hard. My Harley is almost 17 and I tear up just thinking about losing him but, based on experience, I know I’ll love another one when the time comes. Thanks for sharing.

Linda Lyon On November 15, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Doug has found the perfect home! We, too, miss Hanni. She used to sleep outside our door when we visited Nancy and Steven. She was guarding us! We look forward to visits from Doug when we return to Galena. He’s a lucky dog to have found a home with Steven and Nancy!

Beth On November 16, 2017 at 7:19 am

My thoughts exactly. Doug is a lucky guy!

Bev On November 16, 2017 at 7:00 am

Happy, happy, joy, joy! Thanks for sharing your journey to Doug with us, Nancy.

Sue Doyle On November 16, 2017 at 8:52 am

Heartwarming story. Happy for all!! Good people, good dogs, good homes!

Annelore On November 16, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Congratulations…. and many happy years of love!
In our home reside many memories of past dogs (and cats) and maybe even a spirit of two? They fill the empty spaces of life.

kathy moyer On November 16, 2017 at 7:39 pm

It’s like a Thanksgiving gift!! Glad you got Doug (a very masculine name, I might add)!

Nancy B On November 17, 2017 at 2:54 am

Doug might be a tough guy name but he’s more of a warm and fuzzy schmooper!

Teri On November 22, 2017 at 11:28 pm

It was meant to be!! So thankful that you and Doug found each other! May you continue to be a blessing to each other!

Beth On November 23, 2017 at 9:14 am

A match made in Heaven, perhaps?

Deborah Darsie On November 29, 2017 at 12:12 am

Welcome to Doug, that handsome hunk of a lab! He couldn’t ask for a better forever family based on Hanni’s retirement.

Lucky pup!

Beth On November 29, 2017 at 6:52 am

Yes, lucky pup. We just had a chance to meet Doug face-to-face, and I’d also say lucky Nancy and Steven. Doug truly is a love, and already seems right at home with them.

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