What we failed to see was how close to the end it was for little Lucas. Despite his myriad physical ailments and handicaps, Lucas was full of life and had a sparkling personality. Somehow, we just figured he would be with us much longer than he was.
One sad day, we discovered Bonnie sitting next to a still and lifeless Lucas, out in their yard. The end had come so suddenly and quickly, we did not see it coming. Bonnie was watching Lucas intently, as if she was waiting for him to get up and take their morning walk around their yard together.
When we took Lucas out of Bonnie's yard to be buried under the live oak tree, she sat perfectly still, watching as we carried away her Lucas. She seemed confused. And sad. One more time, her special friend had been taken from her, and she was once again alone.
We immediately went through our mental rolodex of which dog was older and alone and could become Bonnie's friend. We knew better than to leave Bonnie to grieve all alone, like we did with Lloyd's passing. We felt Bonnie needed a new friend -- someone to help her deal with her sorrow over losing Lucas.
We decided Otto was a candidate. Twice Bonnie's size, Otto was an Akita mix who came to us from the Texas City Shelter through Laurine Murtaugh. Otto and his lifelong companion, Erika, had lived with an older couple, who had to move in with their son because they could no longer care for themselves. The son refused to let Otto and Erika come with the couple, so they were sent to the shelter. Laurine knew they were not likely to be adopted because of their age, much less adopted together. And separating dogs who had been together for as long as Otto and Erika had been together would be criminal. So they came to the farm to live.
Just two weeks before Lucas suddenly died, we found Erika inside her cottage. She had died quietly in her sleep overnight. And from that moment on, Otto was alone.
We introduced Otto and Bonnie. Otto seemed happy to have a friend again. Bonnie did not register much reaction at that time. I think she was still numb and grieving the loss of Lucas.
But as time passed, it was clear that Otto and Bonnie were forming a friendship. How close a relationship they would have formed we will never know, because only a couple weeks after Otto moved in with Bonnie, he also died quietly in his sleep. Maybe it was just because he was very old and it was his time. Maybe losing his lifelong companion, Erika, was more than he could bear.
All we know for certain is that Otto was gone very quickly, leaving Bonnie alone again for the third time in six months.
Be Sure to Read Tomorrow's Blog:
The Bonnie Saga - Part 4: Mr. Gillooly Intervenes
Jay Hellerich, executive director
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