For months now my oldest has been begging for a dog.
We just aren’t in a place (both physically and generally) where a dog makes sense for us. Although, having grown up with a dog, I’m with her. I miss the happy and abundant joy of arriving home to a dear face that has missed you and will happily smother you with licks. My husband and I remind my dear little one that she has a cat that equally needs her love and would love to be the focus of this unbridled attention (well… maybe…) but she says, “Yeah, but SHE has claws and doesn’t like to play the same way a dog does. And she bites me when I try and pet her.” Too true. Our cat has an affection for bare feet and unguarded legs that is…well…unnerving.
After a calm quiet morning at home, both girls had a bit of cabin fever. The sun was shinning, and I was trying to dream up some fabulous homeschooling adventure. (Hard work when the biggest thing you planned on all day was going into the kitchen and mixing up the ingredients for home made coconut milk ice cream… and then putting it in the ice cream maker and walking away. SIGH.) So, with out a real agenda, I bustled two little girls into the car and backed out the driveway without a real plan. Where were we going? Hm…
As we pulled in and parked, she could barely contain her bouncy joy. We’d talked about this possibility a few times, and we had never quite gotten the day together.
A chorus of barking ensued as we neared the doorway, much to both girls’ joy. The youngest squealed in excitement and pointed with her crooked little pointer finger saying “OOOOH…..ABBY!!” (Abby is our kitty’s name, and funny enough, the word she uses to every animal we come across. Sheep, Abby. Chicken, Abby. You get the idea.)
We walk in the door and greeted by an incredible group of very happy and friendly people who work there. We tell them we’d like to volunteer, and they sign us right up and are quite sure of the perfect dog for us when I say “Probably no one who is too jumpy and nervous with two little girls…”
When they bring Brooke out, I have to laugh. She is a Saint Bernard with drool dripping off her chin. I check myself in the mama-sense that we all find ourselves doing ten zillion times a day and act like this is a walk in the park. I coo. I pat her giant head and puppy talk to her. I take the lead and off we go. My daughter holds the “extra” leash they gave her so she can “help,” but without a doubt, Brookey weighs more then the two of us together and quite honestly it is she who is taking us for a walk.
Down the road we go, chatting and trying to manage walking with a dog this huge. A hilarious and adventuresome task, and not without a huge amount of excited joy. My daughters are thrilled. We talk about how dogs have a very alert sense of smell, and Brooke must check out each nook and cranny of this road as we walk down it. We talk about how she spends a big chunk of her day in a wired in cage so it is very important to let her enjoy this walk. The wired in cage is not uncomfortable, by any means, it is definitely large enough and has her food and water in it. A soft place to lay down. Without a doubt, the animals at this shelter are loved and cared for in a way I haven’t seen too many shelter pets be. They are not miserable, which is a relief. I have been witness to too much animal sadness in my life, and this is a breath of fresh air.
The workers are kind, respectful and loving to their animal compatriots, as well as the volunteers who come at regular intervals. From what they told me, the volunteers who come to this shelter in Edgecomb are plentiful and regular.
When we returned Brooke to the staff, my girl spent a good fifteen minutes playing with the kitties. She threw the ball and giggled and chased them around. Many of them hid. (My daughter has a bit of squirrel energy in her….) But the kittens thought she was wonderful, watching her and the ball with wide and curious eyes.
We left with promises of returning soon.
“Can we come every week, Mama? Every day?” She asked and I smiled.
Lessons learned for each of us.
(For more information on the Lincoln County Animal Shelter, visit their webpage. They encourage volunteers and visitors at any age. Donations are also accepted in the form of pet food, dishes, leads, or other goods.)