(Our dog Emma’s story began in 2011 when she was four years old. This is the first part of her three-part story…. or four)
For over a year I debated whether I should adopt a dog… made pro and con lists…talked with people and told myself all of the things everyone was thinking: responsibility, schedules, the two cats. But a dog would be good for my husband. Companionship.
I changed my mind, and then changed it again. I had a poster of Kisu, a magnificent akita (the only dog we ever owned) framed and hung it in the family room. But it wasn’t enough. Then one evening I read an article about companion dogs and Alzheimer’s patients. Boris needed a new interest. A friend.
So I decided to adopt a rescue Labrador retriever. I contacted a local organization and after a lengthy interview and tour of our home, after my veterinarian and references were checked, we were “approved,” but five months later I was still on the waiting list, having been turned down three times because we didn’t have another dog, children, or a pool.
No longer able to wait, I began visiting all of the area shelters, and that is when I found Emma. Every dog at the kennel was barking wildly, but Emma just stood there, her big, sad brown eyes looking at me. She was recently separated from a litter of puppies, so her nipples hung down and her tail curled tightly under her.
Emma had just arrived from Georgia, rescued by a local woman who makes monthly trips down to the horrible gas chamber kill shelters to rescue as many dogs as she can. Emma had been tied to a tree with six other dogs, scheduled that day to die. Instead, she made the 13-hour car ride to New Jersey through Hurricane Irene.
No, Emma’s not a lab. She might have some lab in her, but she’s “just an old Southern hound,” to quote my mother. And in our eyes, she’s the most beautiful dog ever. As I write this, she is lying on the floor against the sofa where Bo is napping, his hand on her head.
Riding Together in the Car
They walk together, sit together, go in the backyard together. Emma’s so happy you can see the change in her eyes, but Bo can’t remember where we got her, when we got her, or what her name is. “How old is she now?” he asks regularly. And I say it again: “She’s four.” Our Emma is here to stay.
Home at Last