Still Waters: The next one who needed me


When Ebony died in January, I was without a fur face in my house for the first time since 1989. It was incredibly odd and lonely. I slept with the kitchen light on and still put fresh water in the bowl outside just in case a stray cat or bird needed a drink (hopefully not at the same time.)

Almost all of the pets I have had have been ones that needed me for one reason or another. I prayed for the next one who needed me. Still paying off a trip, I couldn’t afford to adopt a dog that would cost much, if anything. I don’t remember ever paying for a dog except for the time I sprang Teddy Bear from the dog pound at his last hour, and he went to live with my folks for the rest of his days. Usually folks are just trying to get me to take dogs off their hands so there’s no charge.

God knew my circumstances. I prayed for the next dog who needed me and tried to be patient in the meantime. I made a couple of trips to the Conour shelter in Monte Vista, once just to get a doggie fix and pet sweet Reagan whose mistress works at the shelter and another time to take my friend Bill to the shelter to look for a pet. (I think he’s still looking.)

Two weeks ago the next dog who needed me found me.

Amarah’s grandmother Vicki (Amarah is the young lady — a teenager now if you can believe it! — who writes the weekly column from the “Kids Like Me” perspective) called me one evening and said she needed to find a new home for Oso because he and his kennel mate, a Great Pyrenees, had had a couple of altercations over treats, and they had had the Pyrenees longer so felt that the newer dog probably needed a home where he was the only dog. Most of the time the two dogs got along fine, but they didn’t want to chance the occasional altercation and wanted what was best for both animals. She thought of me.

Oso (“bear” in Spanish, aptly named) had lived with Amarah and Vicki not quite a year and had formerly lived with one of Vicki’s coworkers who could no longer keep him. He’s about two and a half years old and an odd mixture of black lab, chow and Shar Pei, though I don’t see much evidence of the Shar Pei. He is a very furry black dog with a curled tail and the colored tongue of the chows.

Vicki did not pressure, and I did not promise, but I said I would go meet him. A couple of nights later I took a break from work in the evening to go visit him. He licked my hand and later took my hand in his mouth, something my Katy dog used to do.

Although it was breaking Vicki’s heart to let Oso go, she was willing to let me take him to see how it would go. Oso was confused, of course, but he rode home with me and started checking out the yard and house. I had to go back to work for a few hours, so I locked the gate, prayed and left Oso to his own devices. When I came home, he was sitting on the porch taking in the cool night air.

For a while when I would leave, he would go to the gate with me like “thanks for the visit, but you can take me home now.”

Then I think he decided it might not be so awful living in this new place. He never got into the trash, laundry or any of the things I had not had a chance to pick up before bringing him home. Most of the time he lies down in whatever room I’m in, as close as he can get (even on my lap if possible) and snuggles in. He’s an affectionate sweetheart who gives licks and kisses, and when he’s in a feisty mood takes my hand or his chew toy in his mouth to play with. 

Last weekend he went with me to my folks’ house for Father’s Day. I was praying he and Bailey, my little sister’s Sheltie from Littleton, would get along. Bailey, who is not yet a year, wanted to play with the “bear,” who is not as lithe and agile as Bailey and tired more quickly, but they did a few chases around the yard and living room. Mostly Oso would stand and watch Bailey run around him.

The new dog seemed to fit in pretty well, for which I was grateful.

My brother-in-law Kevin said when he first met him, “Oh so (Oso) cute.” He is a cutie and a sweetheart, and of course I’ve fallen in love with him.

He was the next dog who needed me.

But he also was the next dog I needed.

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