Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dog on the Blog: The Bonnie Saga - Part 2....... An End and A New Beginning -- Love Is Lovlier the Second Time Around

Bonnie had added a few years and a few pounds, like most of us old-timers. But she remained healthy and happy into her golden years -- until tragedy struck and her beloved partner of twelve years, Lloyd, died and left her a lonely widow.

We watched helplessly as Bonnie's appetite dwindled, and she lost weight as well as her will to live.

At about the same time, Ricky and I met Robert Cabral, a man of many talents who wears many hats, including that of a highly skilled dog trainer, a professional photographer and a devoted
rescuer. Robert lives in Malibu, California.

Robert was searching for a place to send Lucas (pictured above shortly after his arrival at the farm). Lucas is a Shar Pei/Pit Bull cross who had already lived the greater part of his life, but who still had a twinkle in his eye and enough personality for three dogs!
Lucas had more than three strikes against him, which kept him from having much chance at being adopted through the Animal Shelter where he lived. First, he was very old. No one ever knew for sure, but it was clear that he was a senior -- and a pretty old senior, at that. Second, he had cataracts and was losing his vision. And third, he had severe arthritis in his hip joints that made walking a struggle for him. And if all that was not enough, he was deaf as well!

Robert knew that Lucas had no chance of adoption, and he desperately wanted to save this sweet, gentle, old soul. We agreed to provide a home for Lucas to live out the final days of his life.

Little did we understand at the time what a fortunate decision that was, for everyone involved!

Robert raised some money, and then paid the rest of the cost himself, so that Lucas could fly to Houston and come to the farm. Lucas loved giving kisses. Here he is smooching with Ricky! From the moment we met Lucas, we knew he could have a friend and would benefit from having another dog around him.

As we thought about it, the idea suddenly dawned that maybe -- just maybe -- a friend like Lucas might help Bonnie get over her grieving for Lloyd.

So we took Lucas out to meet Bonnie in her play yard. Lucas was gregarious and friendly, just like Lloyd had been. Bonnie eyed him suspiciously at first, not sure what to make of this new dog come courting her in her own yard!

But Lucas' friendliness was contagious. It was impossible for Bonnie not to smile at Lucas and some of his antics, as he tried to win her over! Soon she was falling in step beside him, taking walks through their yard together.

Side by side, you could almost imagine Bonnie kibitzing Lucas, "Lucas, be careful where you step" "Walk a little faster, Lucas... You need to keep up." "Lucas, what is that all over your fur? Did you get some of your breakfast on you, and didn't even clean it off? What will you do next?"

Bonnie was being a crochety little old lady to Lucas' easy-going elderly partner... but you could see the bond growing between them every day. Whether seated on their porch together, or sunning themselves side-by-side in their yard, Lucas and Bonnie became inseparable, and each brought out the best in the other.

It seemed like they were both growing younger, instead of older. Bonnie was pulled from her grieving funk by this funny little old man from California, who brought sunshine into her days and contentment into her nights.

Lucas and Bonnie was a match made in Heaven... and Lucas gave Bonnie a reason to live once again. They reigned as the farm's premier golden couple. Bonnie and Lucas had found love and excitement at a time in their lives when most are just coasting. Love was lovlier the second time around!

Theirs was a happiness that made everyone smile... which made it difficult for most of us at the farm to see the storm clouds gathering on the horizon, or imagine the devastation that was to come -- all too quickly.

Be Sure to Read Tomorrow's Blog:
The Bonnie Saga - Part 3: Nothing But a Heartache

Jay Hellerich, executive director
smiling dog farms
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wharton, texas

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