Little did I know that I was the one being rescued.
A number of years ago, I lost my first Newfoundland dog at only a year and half old after multiple hip replacement surgeries failed. I swore I would never get another Newfoundland again.
We moved & my life was an utter mess until I eventually made the decision to get some help. But none the less I didn't like myself, or my life at the time.
Less than a month later, out of the clear blue, came a phone call from a rescue group out of South Dakota asking if we were interested in adopting a Newfie that had been abandoned on a farm for the first year and a half of his life. Now bare in mind we hadn’t signed up on a list of potential adaptors… to this day we don’t know how they got our number in the first place. All we know was that they had a Newfie named Fish (strange name for a dog), and wanted to know if we wanted to adopt him. They said that they were going to make him a service dog, but his hips were not good enough for that, and that if we wanted him we could have you, so we did.
We went to pick up Fish in SD. They had to shave down the dog because his coat was so matted down it was causing skin infections. He had a scar across the bridge of his nose from fighting off coyotes on the farm. I remember walking up to this mess of a dog, who barked and tried jumping on me and thought to myself… what the hell did I get myself into? I grabbed the leash and began giving commands and training him on the spot.
From that day forward … he never left my side.
Through all of my life changes, divorce, new jobs, relocating twice (once across the country), relationships … he was the single constant that I could always count on. On bad days, I would sit at my chair and sometimes breakdown because I thought life was too much… and he would walk up to me, nudge my arm, whine and bark at me. It was like he was saying “Excuse me, what are you crying about? You know what I’ve gone through in my life, you can get through this, this my friend is easy!”. He was amazing.
Lately he stopped eating, and lost a dramatic amount of weight. This morning, during emergency surgery, they found a massive inoperable tumor. I gave my vet permission to end his suffering. It was so hard. When we brought him in I knew something was wrong, and I prayed to my higher power that if there is something wrong, to take him NOW, and not make him suffer - prayer answered.
Sometimes, someone or something is placed into your life, and there is no earthly answer as to why or how. I call it a “God Moment”, because that is the only explanation. That was Fish. Fish entering my life was indeed a “God Moment”. I don’t know how they found our number, I don’t know how I let my now ex-wife talk me into adopting him. All I know is that he was, as my Mom put it upon hearing the bad news, “the one rock I had in my life”. Truer words were never spoken.
I have always said that we as human beings are blessed that we have the ability to stop the suffering of our companions when they are ill. This holds true today. As much as it hurts me, I know that he is no longer suffering, which is truly the greatest gift I could give him. I gave it to him when he was rescued, and gave him an amazing life, and in death I also was able to give him that gift.
No one can understand how he has given that gift back to me ten-fold. He truly saved me from me, in a sense he rescued me. So while that handsome black and white newfie named Fish wasn’t good enough to be an official “service dog”, he was the biggest, slobberingest, life-saving-service-dog money could never buy.
My dearest Fisher (boo-boo) you are free my friend. Thank you for your companionship. Thank you for my life. Thank you for the smiles and laughter. Thank you for being by my side for the past 5 plus years. Go run, go play, go be.
Your friend, the one you rescued - Erin