He’s about a year old, this sweet, small, yet long-legged Beagle mix. He’d been found sick and starving by a woman two counties away who’d contacted our Humane Society to ask for help with him when her own county could not. Our Humane Society is an amazing no-kill shelter that opens its arms and hearts to all animals in need, and they offered help. Then they called me because they knew I was interested in adopting a dog ever since my 21-year-old Hilary cat died last year.
“He’s much different than the usual animal that comes in,” the shelter staff person said. I spent a few hours visiting with “Sonny” the next day, noting his sweet demeanor, my ability to keep up with his walking pace, and most of all those endearing beagle eyes when they stared into my own eyes. Without hesitation I told the staff person on our return, “Yes, I want to adopt him.”
I haven’t owned a dog in three decades, not since my children were young and we lived on the farm, and raised border collies. In the late 90s, I swerved onto some unplanned roads in my life’s journey that led me away from the farm. I decided I’d have cats for pets, not wanting to leave a dog home alone for 8-10 hours a day while I worked.
Harriet, a Maine-Coon-former-barn-cat, hopped into my car the day I moved from the farm, and shortly gave birth to Hilary, a beautiful tabby who wanted to remain as she’d been born: an only child. In passing years, I discovered Button, abandoned in my back yard when he was about six days old. Coincidentally, he wanted to be an only child, too, and given time the two cats eventually achieved a quiet truce whereby they could pass by each other without a snarl or swipe.
When Hilary died, I sensed that Button missed her company despite their ever-seeming indifference to each other. Then I got an idea as I watched Button acting at ease with my daughter’s two dogs, and thought a dog might work well.
A month later I brought Beau home. Button froze by the glass door as he saw Beau shyly approach. After giving them sight time through the window, I opened the door a few inches and we soon entered the house. Button hissed softly, Beau was silent as he inspected this new-to-him environment, and that was it. Since that time three weeks ago, they have become respectfully curious and friendly with each other. Beau sits to my left on the love seat at night as I watch television and knit, in the spot that used to be Button’s. Button relinquished the spot with relative grace, and moved to the larger nearby couch. He’s retained his spot by my feet as I work at the computer and still sleeps on my bed each night.
I love having a dog again. Button might say, “Oh, he’s okay; I’m just glad he’s not another cat.”
And Beau? Well, I think he might say, “It’s good to have food and water every day, I’m glad my skin doesn’t drive me crazy itching anymore, my new human loves me a lot and I love her. And the cat? Well, he’s interesting, but what was my human thinking when she named us? Button and Beau? I guess she thought we were cute! Whatever. I’m just glad to be home.”