One day about three years ago I called a friend who breeds Golden Retrievers to see if she had some male puppies at her farm. I had been looking for an Old English Sheepdog. (OES). My OES Dave was getting pretty old and I thought it would be great to have another one after he left me. Dave was my heart dog. I mean we were so bonded. I was his charge. The thought of his being gone was very hard for me to think about. So I called breeders and looked at Rescues. My husband and I visited an OES rescue that we hoped would be a fit but when we met this giant rowdy dog we knew he wasn’t the guy. I didn’t need another dog. We had five already. But 4 were getting pretty old. There would be a time where we would say goodbye to a number of these sweet friends (and that time did come). So perhaps I was rationalizing getting another dog by telling myself Lemon our youngest dog would need a friend to play with. But honestly I really was scared about losing Dave.
I called my friend about the Goldens after I realized that finding an OES might prove to be hard. I had loved the Golden mommas I had met on a visit to her farm. My friend said she did have some male pups ready to go in a week and she could show them to me that afternoon. Something felt right about this so I told her ok.
I wasn’t looking for another heart dog. I knew that those types of dogs don’t always come one right after the other. And my next heart dog was supposed to be an OES right? But I felt like getting a friend for Lemon would be a good idea so going to look would be fun. I told Kevin – my husband- we were just looking but he knew better. He knows me well.
We pulled into my friends farm and as we walked around the back of her house I saw a round area of small fencing filled with bouncing gold puppies. My heart melted. Yes we were getting a dog.
I wanted to choose the right dog. When we picked Lemon it was my kids who chose her and well she’s a great dog but let’s just say she has her quirks and I’ve learned a bit about choosing a puppy since then. So I thought I would pick each one up and see who allowed me to hold him. Can I turn him over? Make eye contact? I stood looking at the puppies as we chatted about them for a few minutes. I watched them romp and play and roll and chew on each other. My friend asked me which pup would I like to choose first. And I just knew. A little golden boy was laying quietly in the ruckus chewing a bone. I liked that he was calm in the storm. I pointed to him and my friend pulled him out of the pen and in my arms he was placed. Oh holy puppy breath. I held him and looked at him for a second and then brought him up in to my shoulder in a hug and he proceeded to melt into my shoulder. No wiggling as might be expected from a seven week old pup. I pulled him away to look at him. He looked at me. Right at me. Eye contact. ” he’s the one ” I said. My friend looked at me perplexed. Didn’t I want to hold any others? I handed the pup to Kevin and walked over to the pen and took a look. A cute little boy came over and I stuck my finger in and he licked me then nipped me. He was cute but I felt like I had found the right one for me. I stared a little longer. “Nope he’s the one”, I said. So he became mine. Or really it was the other way around.
We named him Rudy after the movie about the Notre Dame football walk on. His registered name is Rudiford Dempsey of Mount Airy. But that’s just a mouthful. I guess I wanted something fancy for the papers. Rudy quickly was part of the family after the old dogs got over their shell shock. But Rudy also decided it was me he was going to focus on. Maybe it was because I carried him around until he became too heavy. Maybe Dave told him he was passing the torch. But all of a sudden I had two heart dogs. You can’t get anymore lucky than that.
Dave and Rudy would go places with me together until it became too hard for Dave to get in and out of the car. He went to the door less and seemed fine that Rudy was my co-pilot. You see I have an anxiety disorder and Dave was my unofficial service dog. His precense calmed me in situations that made anxious. It was Dave and Rudy who saw me through cancer treatments -Dave on the floor as he couldn’t get on the bed anymore and Rudy laying by my feet as I rested.
Dave lived almost 2 years after I got Rudy. He loved him. Chewed on his ears every chance he got. I still don’t get that but it was sweet. I think Dave knew I was in good hands when he finally told me it was time for him to go. And I was. Rudy has been nothing but the best friend. He loves to play with his dog friends but I’m the priority. He has wiggled his way deep into my heart. I still miss Dave and writing about him still can bring tears but I have the best memories of him and I know to appreciate what I have now with Rudy. Rudy isn’t Dave and that’s good. I didn’t think I was ever going to be lucky enough to get another heart dog and I had two at one time. I never guessed that that little ball of puppy who was chewing quietly on that bone would turn out to be one of the greatest friends I would ever have. But it’s true. He is. And I’m blessed.
Thanks for reading.