When I saw Stan’s slightly lopsided white muzzle and one cloudy eye on the rescue organizations website, I knew he was the one. He came from the garbage dumps of Taiwan to a large Taiwanese rescue organization, was shipped to SFO, and eventually made it to the Palo Alto foster home where we met.
He was shy and unsure, too thin with huge paws and a magnificent coat, but like a Golden, sweet and kind and trusting. He rode home in the backseat of our SUV that afternoon with his blue rubber ball. That was the moment my life began again.
I was recently home from a two-month stay in an out-of-state hospital fighting the parasites that had invaded my body from a tick bite years prior, and I needed a purpose — something to focus on outside of myself. Stan was sick too, having been adopted and returned three times in the past two weeks because he would have accidents on the floor. No one had ever thought of having him checked by a vet; they just got rid of him, again.
Right from the get-go, Stan was special. I am not sure what he thought or felt after arriving at his fourth home in less than 14 days, but my husband and I doted on him and treated him with compassion when he got sick. We spoke softly and kindly as we would clean him and the floor. When I found out how much he loved riding in the car with his head out the window, we would take him for rides just to see the joy reflected in his windblown jowls from the side mirrors. I made him special food and soups, and I took him to the vet weekly.
He was sick — really sick — but after copious vet visits, antibiotics, and a few surgeries, my guy Stan is perfect. Taking care of him and our other rescued pets is what gets me out of bed in the morning. When I am overcome with the Lyme Disease that still resides in my body, my dog pack, my buddies, still need me. I hook them up to their respective leashes and we go out into the wild redwoods and dirt roads that surround my home. If it were not for them, many days I would not get off the couch. As they pull me down the stairs and off the porch, I look around me and am overcome with gratefulness.
We walk, somewhat slowly, as arthritis and age are still a factor for us all. I look up at the mountains of redwoods and little bits of fog stuck like pulled cotton in the trees, and I thank God for my life. The life I was given back.
Stan has a permanent remnant of a dog bite on his grey muzzle from his former life on the streets, a pin in his leg from an accident left untreated for years, dental problems from years of malnutrition and eating whatever he could find, and one eye that doesn’t work quite right. Once in awhile he forgets where he is, usually at night. We took him to dog school so he could learn commands in English, and it soon became obvious that someone had worked him once upon a time, before throwing him out in the garbage.
After everything Stan has been through, he still is able to love and trust us completely. Sometimes I wish he and our other rescues could talk and other times I am satisfied with the not knowing of what they have all been through.
Because I rescue seniors, I treat everyday like it might be their last. I try to think of every experience as something on their bucket list. Rides in the car, jaunts to the beach, tug of war with an old sock, and specially cooked meals are the least I can do for these wonderful creatures who have given me back the will to live.
Yes, my pack of rescued seniors are the ones who rescued me.