Mr. Gillooly enjoyed Bonnie, and he enjoyed being outdoors, in his own play yard, where he could bark at the chickens and smell fresh air and watch the goings-on at the farm.
And then one day it happened -- again! We found Mr. Gillooly laying still on the front porch of their cottage, Bonnie watching over him and once more a widow. Although it could not be said that his death was unexpected -- he came here expecting to live only a couple weeks -- it was still very sad.
It seemed so unfair that every elderly dog we placed with Bonnie predeceased her, leaving her old and alone one more time.
He came to us just after Mr. Gillooly passed away. He had been running the streets of Corrizozo, New Mexico -- getting out of the yard where he lived. A local rescuer was worried about Clyde, since his wanderings often took him into the middle of busy streets, and Clyde seemed oblivious to the danger.
She finally got permission from Clyde's people to bring him to our farm to live, and Barbara personally drove Clyde all the way from New Mexico to Texas!
Clyde spent his first couple nights upstairs in the bed with us, as we try to do with every new dog. It was clear that he is not dog aggressive at all, and he is very loving. His blindness does not seem to phase him, probably because he was born without sight so he does not know that he is supposed to see!
Ricky and I both had the same idea at the same time... we need to introduce Clyde to Bonnie! And so we did.
Clyde eagerly sniffed Bonnie and his new play yard and wagged his tail. Bonnie was more reserved, as she has become throughout this process. I think she is becoming skeptical that she will ever have a long term partner again.
On Clyde's second day with Bonnie, one of our workers noticed a reddish brown shaggy dog out on Highway 60, sniffing along the side of the road! Understanding that it must be one of our dogs (or possibly one that was just dumped out there -- sadly, that happens a lot; local residents just dump dogs outside our gate on the highway, and leave, hoping their dog will find his way up to our house and safety!), he stopped his car and called Ricky.
It was Clyde! He had managed to climb up and over the fence in his yard! So Clyde came back in the house to live for a few days while we first raised the money to buy two more fence panels, and then Ricky created "toppers" for the fence in Bonnie and Clyde's yard out of those panels. It just adds 18" panels at a 90-degree angle to the outside fence. When the dog climbs or jumps, he hits his head on these panels, and cannot get out of the yard.
As soon as Ricky finished their yard, Clyde rejoined Bonnie and has not left her since!
Bonnie and Clyde are still getting to know one another. Clyde is somewhat younger than the other dogs who went before him. So we are hoping that Bonnie will have a partner for a while.
Today, I am looking out my window at Bonnie and Clyde in their yard. Clyde is more active than Bonnie. He is bark-bark-barking at a red and gold rooster strutting by their yard, while Bonnie watches with amusement from the porch. Later today, I know that Bonnie will join Clyde for a walk around the yard, as she has done with Lloyd and her beloved Lucas and then Mr. Gillooly.
I often wonder if, as she strolls her yard with Clyde, Bonnie's mind goes back to past months when she would enjoy this same routine with Lloyd, who had pretty much grown up with her and spent the majority of their lives happily playing and napping with one another.
Or if Bonnie still thinks longingly of the joy that Lucas brought into her life, her amusement at his playful old-man antics, the comfort she felt curled up touching Lucas' body with hers in the warm afternoon sunshine -- that in many ways, Lucas was the love of her life, found very late in the game, and ended far too soon.
Or if Bonnie remembers Mr. Gillooly and his funny rambling gait and the happiness that he brought into her life, after losing Lucas.
Bonnie is one of the oldest living dogs here at the farm. She has spent virtually her entire life with Ricky and me, moving from New Mexico to California to Arizona to Texas. She has seen a lot and done a lot.
Most of all, Bonnie is a survivor. She has had some very happy relationships with some very sweet dogs. She has had sorrow, and joy, but through it all, Bonnie has learned to accept what she cannot change and enjoy each day for what it brings.
Jay Hellerich, executive director
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