Friday, October 24, 2014

Howard be thy name

Author Anne Lamott has a new book coming out called SMALL VICTORIES: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace. 

I was thinking about Anne's book as I drove to work this morning and wondering whether I would buy the paper or electronic version.  And then my thoughts recalled reading that Anne calls God Howard. And that thought brought me to think about a dog we adopted named Howard. And I thought his story was a story of Grace and writing it would honor him 

In honor of Anne's upcoming book and the dog named Howard, here is a Grace story.

My son had been bugging me to get a new dog. Our yellow Lab, Zoe which is Greek for life,  had died several years ago and I was not interested in going through the loss of a beloved pet ever again.

I kept telling my son "no" to his constant inquiry and got some respite from his questioning when my husband and I visited his brother in North Carolina. It turned out that they had a Cockapoo named Mollie. I stayed away from Mollie as best as I could while we were there but she kept sitting by me. By day two she was sitting on the couch with me. And I enjoyed it. It reminded me of how wonderful it is to be unconditionally loved by these amazing creatures.

After we arrived home from the trip I searched for a dog to adopt from nearby shelters until I found Howard. Howard's description said he was a Cockapoo which is what I wanted because Mollie had such a nice temperment. I showed my family and asked if they wanted to go see him. They said yes and off we went to visit Howard.

We liked Howard from the start. He was black with a spot of white on his chest. He was small which made him easy for me to handle. After some discussion, we filled out the adoption papers and left to wait for a call in a couple of days.

We were so excited when the shelter called to say we could adopt Howard. We picked him up that day.

We were all in the living room and Howard seemed perfect until he attacked my son. It was shocking. I thought it might be because Howard was nervous and needed to get comfortable with us. But the attacks continued. So I hired a trainer and began training Howard. He wasn't getting any better. My sons said there was something wrong with Howard. So I brought in another trainer to evaluate him. It turned out that he was a red zone dog which meant he needed a lot of rehabilitation and training. And if we were to keep him the trainer would have to train us too so that Howard would not go back to this red zone state.

The trainer also offered to get us a perfect dog for our family if we chose to return Howard. What a decision!  I wanted to rescue a dog to do something good, to save a life and now was faced with returning him. Oh the heartbreak!!!

We decided to return Howard because we did not have the means to help him.
After a week of grieving I called the trainer and told her we were interested in the dog she offered.

Several months later the trainer gave us a dog, Dash a 14 pound Maltese. His family could not care for him and wanted him to go to a loving home. We were the lucky home! 

Dash came into our lives on a Friday in December 2012. He was so excited to be with us! I loved him from the moment I saw him.

The next day after Dash arrived the trainer asked me how it went with him. And I said it went really well. He calmed my anxiety and I slept great! I asked if it was possible to bring him to people in hospitals and she introduced me to Dog Therapy. 

Several months later Dash and I were certified as a Dog therapy team and have been visiting people ever since! 

Yes Anne, God's name is Howard and he works in the most mysterious and marvelous ways.

As I wrote this post a friend posted this link to her Facebook page.