Philosophers have argued for years over the issue of destiny versus free will. Do we create our own paths or is there a force greater than us that propels us through life? As a dog blogger I am not here to answer that discussion, but I can tell you that the kind souls in Puerto Rico who rescued Destiny from that tree in the woods and who bestowed upon her such a powerful name hoped that they could help guide her to her own destiny.
As I type this, Destiny is not snuggled by my side nor is she chilling in her crate a few feet away. She is in her forever home across town from me where she is an only dog in a household of people who love her.
After Destiny’s leap over our gate, which I failed to mention in my prior blog was during a visit with a prospective family who had come to meet her, I decided I could not let her go. I lobbied to keep her here with us and tried to overcome my husband’s more logical objections.
Her freedom from kennel rest meant she could go places and run and play like a normal dog and the months of trust that we had built together combined with fun things to go and do meant that our bond strengthened daily. She grew more confident and snuggly and in less than a week I was even more head-over-heels in love with our petite little island dog as we went for long walks, car rides and other mother-dog adventures.
My husband, though, was adamantly sticking to our decision to let her find her forever home. “There is a family out there who desperately needs her to fill a spot in their home, just like we needed Jax and Tink to fill a spot in ours,” he told me repeatedly, “We love her but we don’t need her like another family needs her.” I knew deep down that we should not have three dogs, particularly with me focusing entirely on writing as a profession, but my bond with Destiny was starting to override the logical part of my mind.
While we went back and forth on the topic and I tried to change his mind, I volunteered to take Destiny to an adoption event that was scheduled to occur a few miles from my house. As much as I wanted to keep her I was not going to stand in the way of her finding an adopter and a local open house it meant that a nice family from the country or our small suburb might adopt her since I could not picture her as a city dog after her fence hopping incident. To the west of us it is quite rural even though we are about 50 miles west of Chicago.
A few minutes after I arrived at the adoption event a familiar looking family arrived and Destiny and I greeted them immediately. I quickly remembered that I had met them at a different adoption event earlier this year. I had liked them immediately and was touched at the love they had for their dogs who had gone to the Rainbow Bridge, including their most recent black Labrador who they had lost to cancer.
I think it was the fact that the husband is a pheasant hunter just like my own Dad, though, that really made our meeting stick out in my mind. There is just something about the love between a man and his bird dog that I understand after a lifetime of seeing my own father and the love he has for his dogs. I don’t mean the type of bird dog who lives in a kennel outside with an assortment of other dogs; I mean the type of bird dog who hunts a few times a year, sleeps on the bed and is attached at the hip to his or her human.
They spent a lot of time with Destiny, walked her around the property of the event, sat with her, played with her and petted her. They met the other dogs and spent time with them but then came back for more time with Destiny. They talked to me at length about her background, her time with me, her medical issues and I shared everything that I knew. I shared how far she had come, not just geographically but physically and mentally. “She is a very special dog,” I told them, thinking about how those same words from my breeder brought me to my own Jackson when we were choosing him from his litter.
I was elated when they told me that they wanted to adopt her but were going out of town for a few days and wanted to make sure she would be ok with their six cats before completing the adoption. It was a valid concern because so far I was not sure she knew exactly what a cat was. She had spent a little bit of time with our rescued cat Nala, but Nala has an entire section of the house to herself as a retreat when she needs to get away from our Tinkerbell, so I was not entirely sure how Destiny would be with a braver cat. There was also an issue of timing since my family was going out of town for ten days for vacation and Destiny would be going to a fellow foster mom’s house while our own dog sitter stayed with Jackson and Tinkerbell.
Fortunately Destiny’s new family volunteered to be Destiny’s puppy sitter while we were on vacation which would give them a chance to see how she would do with their cats. Although not something normally done with Chicagoland Lab Rescue, in the end it turned out to be exactly the thing that all of us needed. While my family and I were roaming Walt Disney World and spending time with my family in Florida, Destiny’s new family was falling head over heels in love with her. I smiled each time I received a text and photo from them, sharing with me how much they loved her. They were able to see how she acted with their cats and to consult some behavioral experts for tips on socializing the cats with her and I was able to keep my mind occupied by vacation instead of getting used to a home without her in it.
Of course the day that I took her there two weeks ago was more difficult than I had imagined. I started crying the moment I began to gather her things to take with her, sobbing hysterically with giant tears rolling steadily down my face as I picked up and folded her special yellow blanket that I had purchased for her as soon as I learned she was coming to me. I gathered her food and her paperwork and took it to my car, barely able to see through the tears. I sat in the driveway with her in the front seat, forcing myself to turn the key in the ignition to take her to their home. I managed to stay tear-free at their home but when I arrived home without her and put her bowls in the dishwasher for cleaning I lost my composure once more. I cried until I could not cry anymore and then my sweet Tinkerbell came to console me. At least I think she was trying to console me by sprawling across my lap so that I could hold her favorite moose antler while she chewed it.
Last night I went to Destiny’s new home to process her adoption paperwork and this time my eyes were dry. I had been counting down the moments all day until I could see her and right away I could tell how happy she was to be in her new home. She was confident and trusting and relaxed just like she had been at my house which told me that things had fallen into place just like they should. As much as I love her and she will forever be in my heart and my soul, she is in the right place and doesn’t need to share the attention with big personalities like Jackson and Tinkerbell like she would in our home. Her forever humans are all hers and I have a feeling she is going to blossom more each and every day with them.
Destiny has found her forever home in a family of dog lovers who will never treat her badly, never tie her up to a tree to die with a bag around her snout, and never add another scar to her beautiful body. They will never do any of the things that happened to her before she was rescued on that November day. She has been adopted into a loving, safe forever home where she can be spoiled with toys and treats, where she will be petted gently and with love and compassion and tended to with the best care possible, just like every single dog deserves as their own destiny.
If you would like to support Chicagoland Labrador Rescue’s other Labrador Retrievers click here to go to their site: http://www.chicagolandlabrescue.org/ and click the Donate button on their site. To support Love Puerto Rico Goldens, the rescue organization that initially saved Destiny in Puerto Rico, click here to follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LovePuertoRicoGoldens. Both organizations are always in need of financial donations in order to continue the amazing work that they do to help save Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.