Last week I visited the park a dozen times compared to the previous weeks since I had lost you on October 25th. One of those days I watched a girl become so frustrated with her young Golden Retriever, that I stepped in to help her. Mostly, because I knew the dog was no more than a year and obviously afraid of the teenager. I knew the teenager was frustrated, didn't mean to scare the dog, but was trying to train her to walk with her on the leash. I knew this because, well, I remembered it wasn't that easy training you to walk with me on a leash, Ally. I recognized the young girls frustration. I may not have been as frustrated on the outside, but there was times I wanted to pull out my hair because you pulled me into the mud, or I fell because of your urge to chase a cat. I calmly walked over to the girl, made conversation, looked into the dogs eyes, pet her, and positioned myself to show the girl how to walk with the dog on the leash. We spent a few minutes there and you saw the light come on in both their eyes when they both realized what the other was trying to do. I was very happy for the young girl, and the Golden Retriever. Her name was Sammy. Sammy was a beautiful English Cream Golden Retriever. She was about a year old, and new to the family. The parents allowed her to rescue as long as she was responsible for the fur baby. I saw Sammy and Delilah a few days later. They were walking gracefully together, and it was nice to see this. Delilah was very thankful. Her parents were also very happy to see that she was working well with the dog. Delilah asked me a few more questions and I gave her some positive answers. I am eager to hear how it all turn out the next time I see her. They're regulars at the dog park Ally. They also own a German Shepherd. I bet you would recognize them if you saw them, because you always perked up to the German. I believe you both had many conversations as you barked, friendly, back and forth to each other.
The day after that I watched a woman spank her dog. She was very mean to her retriever. I remember telling her if she hit the dog again, I'd be happy to make sure she never hit it again. I believe she caught my drift. It's so funny because I ran into her again today, and funny enough, she seemed a lot more connected to her dog and it's feelings. Sometimes, you just have to step in. I remember she told her father what I said, and her father asked why she was hitting the dog in the first place. I am guessing her dad stepped up to make sure she understood it was wrong. That made me smile.
Well today, a bunch of children were chasing a squirrel that fell out of tree because they threw a rock at it. The squirrel looked injured and I stopped them immediately. The squirrel ran off, and I asked where their parents were. The mother seemed upset that I had yelled across the field for their children to stop. The truth was they were far away, and were in my photo shoot when I had noticed. If I did not yell to them, not at them, they would have killed the squirrel. I explained to the mother what I was trying to do. She said, "it's just a stupid animal." I said, "No mam, it's a squirrel who has done nothing to bother your children. Today it's a squirrel they beat up, tomorrow it's another kid, or a puppy you adopt. It's never too late to teach compassion for living beings and I think you may want to start now. The next time, it may not end so well. The animal might attack in fear of it's life, or someone might get arrested for animal cruelty." I don't know if I made a difference as they scurried off, Ally. I know I feel better for saying something. If even one of those children take away that moment, that means one less hurt animal.
I have been coming to this park for years with you Ally. We have stopped so many bad people from doing horrible things. Bad pet parenting, rescuing drowning kittens, helping a goose who had fishing line around it's foot, and more. It's who I am. It's who you are. A beautiful, patient, dog who loved to watch her momma do good things. It was then I realized it, Ally. I wasn't a good person because of just who I am. I am a good person because I had a love so loyal with you. You taught me patience, compassion, and loyalty. I use it to help or educate others. For that I can never repay you, but I can share it. I can share everything you have taught me with another fur baby.
I was waiting for a sign from you Ally, but the truth is the sign was always there. It never really left. God doesn't move mountains to show you when it's time to put your heart out there again. Fate doesn't drop a puppy in your lap with a sign saying here, move on. You are my sign.
The patience you taught me to have is a sign that I'd be willing to take on a new chapter, no matter how difficult. The love you gave me, and I gave you, is a sign that I'd be willing to love, no matter what, and to eternity for another. The same way I will always love you. The loyalty you gave me is the same loyalty I could bestow upon another, and in return, have that given back to me through the eyes of another fur baby. My sign was in the push that fate gave me to stop a woman or a child from abusing an animal. My sign was in the strength I had to show a complete stranger an easier way to teach a dog to walk with them on a leash. You're not just a visual Ally. You're the wind that gently blows across my cheek, the light that comes on in my eyes when I'm feeling passionate about a design or idea, the soft touch I place on animal when they need nurturing, the smile that spreads across the face of a dog I have never met, and the love I feel for animals of all types that come across me every day. You're all of that and more.
This morning I was not sure I was ready to adopt, and I was tired of hearing people mentioning it. The truth is, I had to see it for myself, and today, I saw it, and I felt it. I could never replace you, but I could add to our love with even more love, because I would be a fool to waste it not loving another pet at all. Even if it's just by volunteering. I'm open to the possibilities now. I hope I keep seeing these signs in everything I do. It may have taken a moment for me to step back and see it, but I really do now Ally. I love you Ally. To the moon and back, Always and forever.