A TALE OF TWO DOGGIES
Maybe three doggies.
Yes. Before we get in too deep today, I might as well confess that in fact four dogs will appear in this story.
Please forgive me.
I simply could not pass up an allusion to my favorite Dickens’ novel. And quite honestly, you should consider yourself lucky that I didn’t say A Tail of Two Doggies.
(No, seriously. Bad puns run in my family.)
If you know me in real life or online, you’re already aware that I’m a dog person.
And if this is the first time you’ve heard of me, take my word for it:
I think dogs are better than most people, and I KNOW they’ve been a major source of joy for my family since 2005.
That’s the year we no-dog Gardners drove past a home with a litter of Labs playing in the yard and stopped “to look” at the puppies.
We (probably) had no intention of taking one home, but the breeder urged us to pick our favorite.
When I pointed out that I had no crate or supplies for a puppy, favorite or otherwise, she shrugged. “Put her on your lap.”
I tried other protestations, but the only thing that mattered to the woman was that in 2005 I still carried a checkbook in my purse.
The kids were begging. Bill was too.
So we caved and we bought Bella, and thus began our 14-year love affair with dogs.
Yes, that’s dogs, plural.
We knew we wanted a second pup someday; but after Bella, we promised ourselves we’d only adopt from shelters or rescues.
When Bella was four, we met our Bailey.
Bailey likes yogurt. (Or anything else you’ve got.)
The shelter estimated she was 12 weeks old, so using our very best math skills, we counted backward and guessed June 1st 2009 to be her birthday.
Six years later, we adopted Scout from a litter of seven that had been born after their pregnant mama was rescued by the good people of Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue.
They told us Scout’s actual birthday was June 1st 2015.
I’m pretty sure Bailey didn’t love having her thunder stolen, but we loved the birthday coincidence.
We also loved the family who fostered Scout’s mama and her puppies, so we remained in touch, sending pictures of our dogs on occasion, and always reaching out to thank them on June 1st.
When we lost Bella eight months ago, I was wholly unprepared for any of it. I’d expected our grief would be bad, but oof.
We were heartbroken.
Still, we promised to keep our broken hearts open, to adopt again when the right situation came along.
But how will we know the situation is right? I thought.
Fast forward to this June 1st.
I got a text from Scout’s foster mom saying HAPPY 4TH BIRTHDAY, SCOUT!
Such messages I’d come to expect from her after years of birthday texts.
But this time she added, “We’re at it again, fostering a new litter. Are you interested?”
And that’s when we learned this new litter, also of seven puppies, had been born on…you guessed it…
A stray Lab had given birth next to a freeway, then hidden her babies in a bush. She led the rescuers from Hope for Paws to them.
I still get teary-eyed imaging that. She was only two years old, abandoned, and delivering pups without any support or understanding of what was happening to her. And yet she saved all seven of her pups by pure instinct.
That’s mother-love for you.
We brought sweet Zoe home on August 6th.
And as of today, we have three rescue dogs ALL BORN ON JUNE 1st.
(Now isn’t that a tale/tail worth telling?)
Even better, Scout’s original foster name was actually Zoe. We loved the name when we adopted her four years ago, but we’d already agreed that our next dog would be Scout. (Thanks, To Kill a Mockingbird!)
This time we figured, if they can share birthdays, why not a name?
So our newest little one became Zoe and made us once again a family with a three-pack.
We adore her as much as our other girls.
And it feels a little bit like this crew was meant to be. Like Bella sent Zoe to us.
When we discovered that Zoe loves to lie on and lick Bella’s memory stone, I posted a picture saying it’s like she’s kissing Bella.
Someone responded that it might be Bella sending us kisses.
That made me cry a little.
I don’t necessarily believe either of those lovely ideas, but I sure do miss our Bell Bell.
And I believe dogs are worth every drop of blood, sweat, and tears we shed while we’re lucky enough to have them.
Such good girls.
Scout, Bella, and Bailey in 2015.
Zoe, Scout, and Bailey in 2019.
A TALE OF FOUR DOGGIES, indeed.
For more information on Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue, go here.
For more information on Hope for Paws, go here.
And if you’re interested, you can find my novels here: