Both Hubbs and I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed the companionship of dogs for most of our lives. Our 21 years together have certainly been enriched by those canine souls that have shared our home. We have loved and been loved by quite a few dogs during those years - and have come to understand that dogs embody the purest definition of the word "love". We have learned that the joy of sharing our days with a dog far outweighs the loss felt when that all-too-short life comes to an end.
We have loved and lost our precious Bernese Mtn. dog, Sadie, our Newfoundland, Maddie, our dear sweet elderly rescue, Hickory, our beloved rescue Oakley, and two years ago, Brown Sammie - all of whom had shared our life simultaneously for a brief time. Amazingly, 5 dogs didn't seem like too many. They all had such different personalities and energy levels - it just seemed to work.
After the loss of Brown Sammie, I threw the idea of adding another rescue dog to the Universe. Rather than actively looking for another dog, I handed it off to a higher power. At this point, Chester was 5 years younger than Annie; and Annie was heading towards the age of 10. Chester would not be a happy "only" dog as he suffers extreme anxiety when left all alone. There was no doubt about it - eventually Chester would need another sibling.
I am a firm believer that this existence is filled with magic and the key to realizing that magic is to know in one's heart that it exists. I knew the right dog would come along, without any effort. I can't tell you the amount of messages and calls I got from family, friends, and acquaintances with links to dogs that needed homes. I'd read the bios and look at the photos, but none of them spoke to me. I have learned to trust my gut when it comes to finding the right dog. In my world, the right dog chooses its human - not the other way around.
If you've been following our journey over the past 6 months, then you already know the story of Forrest... our rescue puppy. But, you see, there is a little more to Forrest's story than I have shared up to this point.
Let me first say this - a puppy was nowhere on my radar. I did not want a puppy. I didn't want to have to train another puppy. No, in my mind, I wanted another dog like our Oakley had been - a rescue who was already grown, and farm-worthy. (You know, good with cats and children and chickens, and such.) For months, the local rescue's Facebook page would pop up on my feed with the "Take Me Home" choice of the day. Again, none of them spoke to me. Until... one day towards the end of June when a litter of puppies appeared on the rescue's post. Eight puppies -" I don't want a puppy"- oh wait... "look at that one, there's something about his face, his smile." The photograph spoke to me, like the photo of smiling Oakley had spoken to me so many years ago. There was just something about that face. There was a lot of chatter about these puppies on Facebook. I knew they would get homes quickly - so I wasted no time. And before we knew it, I had emailed the rescue, filled out an application, and scheduled a visit... not to bring home a puppy, but to bring home "that" puppy.
There was magic in that photograph - a message from the universe - and I had recognized it. The real magic happened, however, when I stepped into then pen at the rescue with 8 wrestling puppies. They were a squirming mass of playfulness - wrestling, barking, nibbling chaos. Except... for one. One singular puppy came right over to me and climbed up my leg - his eyes locked on mine. Could it be? I recognized him immediately - and there was no doubt about it, he recognized me as well. It was the same pup as the photo. He wasn't at all interested in joining the squishy pile of puppy mayhem that were his brothers and sisters. No, he had a message for me and he was bound and determined to get his point across. I picked him up and never put him back down. Signed. Sealed. Delivered. A gift from the universe.
"Let's call him Forrest, " Hubbs said. Perfect.
Aside from the trials and tribulations of raising a puppy, we have come to understand a lot about this particular canine soul. I swear there are several dogs inside of his 50 pound body. You just have to watch him run and play to see them. They are all there moving in every direction at one time, and he is barely able to contain them. Seriously. I honestly believe that Forrest is the embodiment of each and every dog we have loved up to this point. This puppy carries the soul of five dogs. I kid you not. He is 10 pounds heavier than his siblings - filled to the brim with the souls of his predecessors. This dog was a gift from the universe. This dog is the evidence that there is magic in our world. We just have to open our hearts and see it!
As Hubbs always says to those who say "I'll believe it when I see it" -
"No, you'll see it when you believe it!"
Yes, this universe is filled with magic... but first, you must believe!
Today... a woodsy walk (View here on Youtube if video doesn't load)