Hawthorne’s Gotcha Day

12 Apr

Two years ago today we met people from Vermont off an interstate exit who were driving home from picking up two rescue dogs in Cincinnati.  One was a Fox Terrier.

One was a terribly thin, anxious, confused Airedale which was squished into a crate too small for a tall dog. The Airedale was coming home with us.  The rescue people had been told by his first home that he was unmanageable.  He came with a three-inch stack of paperwork to document it.

Those people were wrong.

If you do not know: I have a way with animals.  I inherited it from my father, I think, and perhaps my grandfathers.  Two degrees in animal science and one in education have helped hone that gift from God.  Head knowledge enters in after other  heart or body or empathic knowledge.  It is a two way communion.

Whatever one wishes to call this gift, it was clear within minutes of meeting him that the primary thing wrong with this dog was a hurt heart. He was sad. He had never felt part of his prior home’s ‘pack’, never felt loved.  And his doggy heart was broken.  It was also clear that his name was all wrong.  As we sat together in the car on the way home, he was clearly Hawthorne.

Zip forward two years.

Here is Hawthorne Tugger Stumpwiggle  Saturday.    After a morning walk on which he runs and sniffs and digs and investigates and rambles.  After morning raw chicken.  After playing outside with his current favorite toy–an orange rubber squeaky sort-of octopus. After morning nap. After more afternoon play.

He has his own sort of doggy purr,  and a groan of pleasure, and uses one of these, or sighs loudly, if you scratch him in just the right places. He was left alone (accidently) outside for 15 minutes!  And just stayed in the yard, playing with his toy.

He can be allowed outside in cold weather to go pee on his own and will come right back.  For a piece of pepperoni.  He is still very much a ‘will-work-for-food’ boy. He now loves to be loved.  He likes hearing “Good for you!” and being lovingly roughed up when he does come, when he does obey.  Which is most all the time.

He is neither scared, skinny, confused or unloved anymore. Rather, Hawthorne is confident, muscly, aware, integrated into our lives,  and very much loved.  And happy.   Happy!  Cheerful!  Exuberant!

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