I’ve found my forever home so I’m one lucky dog. Bow “Tip” Thomas is my name and the pursuit of happiness is my game. I’m a rescue.

That’s a polite way of saying that somebody who professed to like me (or tolerated me for a year or so) one day threw me out like a piece of trash. In early March 2021, I was dumped on N. Horton Street in La Grange, Texas.

Bow was no longer wanted

When I landed on the concrete, I bruised my chest on the left side and scraped the fur off my elbow on my front paw. It still hasn’t grown back. For hours, I frantically ran up and down the street attempting to pick up a scent that I could follow home.

But I couldn’t find it. I barely missed being hit by a car, but later wished it had ended my misery.

By the time the City of La Grange animal control person came for me, I was a mess, physically and emotionally. Although the enclosed cage on the back of his truck was very clean, it reeked of fear to my sensitive nose. Obviously, I wasn’t the only animal who’d been shell-shocked from being abandoned or lost.

By the time I was admitted at the Gardenia E. Janssen Animal Shelter, I was shaking like a leaf. Can you believe that the fellow who put me in a pen climbed in with me? He held me in his arms until I could get hold of myself.

I’ll never forget his kindness. Elaine told me later that she’d seen me that morning.  

At first, I held out hope that I hadn’t been dumped. Maybe it had been a mistake and in no time, I’d hear a familiar voice and footstep outside my pen. But that never happened.

My mugshot appeared in the paper.

Elaine visited the shelter regularly and I tried in vain to catch her eye. She would sometimes pause at my pen, but we didn’t click. I was sort of scrawny and my chocolate-colored brown eyes mirrored my deep depression.

Besides, it’s not in my nature to make a fuss, which may have made me appear standoffish.

During the day, there was lots of activity at the shelter and we’d get to go out in the yard and run around. The nights were long, especially with the racket from the dogs over in the barking section.

A shelter is definitely not a home. It’s where we unwanted animals go to wait for permanent placement, and we are fortunate to have it.

When would it be Bow’s turn?

Over the next few weeks, I saw a lot of dogs strut out of the shelter on their way to new homes. I wondered what they had that I didn’t. I went to the vet and was neutered. The shelter staff who taught me to walk on a leash said that had improved my adoptability.

But nobody ever gave me a chance. One Saturday, Elaine came by again, only this time she was accompanied by Emil. They stopped at my pen and she said to him, “How about this boy? He seems nice.”

I got so anxious that I forgot how to wag my tail, but when Elaine laid her hand near the latch, I timidly licked it through the wire. Then I couldn’t help myself; I whined. I know that’s not the thing to do, but Elaine didn’t seem to understand that I fully believed that I was the dog she was seeking.

She and Emil slowly turned around and left. Ok, ok. I could understand where they were coming from. They were still getting over the loss of Kally, their longtime pal.

They’d had only three canines in the 27 years they lived on the farm and Elaine was terrified of bringing home the wrong dog. I heard her compare adopting a dog at the shelter to getting married at the end of one blind date.

A positive start to Bow’s week

When the shelter opened the following Tuesday, my life took a turn for the better. Elaine was back, this time with her friend Christa. I didn’t even have time to get nervous before a staff member walked up to my pen with a leash in her hand.

“Come on, Oxbow, you’re going on a meet and greet.”

So Elaine, Christa and I sauntered out the side door, crossed Svoboda Lane and sat down on the grass under the big oak tree. Then Elaine proceeded to outline her lofty expectations for the lucky dog that she would one day take home.

Elaine and I checked each other out.

She desired a dog that would walk three or four miles every day with her. I could do that easy. Elaine wanted a dog that wouldn’t jump up and knock her, Emil or visitors down. I could be that dog.

She needed a dog that wouldn’t run off. If a dog could laugh, I would have chuckled because once I was adopted, there was no way I would ever voluntarily leave my new home.

Elaine was looking for a dog that wouldn’t mind keeping her company in the office while she worked. Visions of lying on a mat and nodding off as a ceiling fan turned slowly overhead while Elaine typed on her computer ran through my head. That sounded divine. 

She also spoke about home and farm security. Deer in the yard were bad. Armadillos in the yard were bad. Barking at people she and Emil didn’t know was OK, as long as I didn’t bite. Friends would need to be welcomed.

Well, I had a vague awareness of what deer were, but didn’t have a clue about armadillos. Nevertheless, I thought I could fake it until I found out. As for sorting the good guys from the bad, it would just take me time. I have a good memory.

Up close and personal

While she gently stroked my head, Elaine told me they’d like a dog that was housetrained or willing to learn. I had that covered, too.

However, the next two expectations made my paws sweat. A new dog at the Thomas farm would not be allowed to chase either cats or cattle. Although that’s in my blood, I was willing to undergo behavior modification.

Please, please, please, let me try, Elaine.

Christa thought I’d make a splendid pal.

Miracle of miracles, we went back to the shelter and casually walked past my pen and all the other dogs that still were locked up. Even when we went to the front desk and Elaine started filling out paperwork I wasn’t overly confident.

I overheard that she was taking me home on a trial basis. If I didn’t work out, the shelter would take me back, no questions asked.

Well, we’ll see about that, I thought to myself.

On the trip home, I sat in the back seat with Christa. About halfway, Elaine looked in the rearview mirror and said, “You’re not Oxbow. That’s too pretentious a name for you. We’ll call you Bow.” Christa and I agreed that my new name suited me.

I left the moniker of Oxbow at the shelter. Now I am known as Bow.

My middle name is Tip. It’s a reference to the four inches of white hair on the end of my tail courtesy of my ancestors the blue heelers. I also have white socks but I’d rather be known as Tip than Socks.

Bow approved of his new home

When we bumped across the Thomas cattleguard, Emil was there to greet me and so was their neighbor Denise. I got a lump in my throat because she brought me welcome home treats.

I’d never before had my very own toy. Empty plastic water bottles don’t count.

It was all so thrilling that not long afterward I neglected to make a pit stop and had an accident on the floor of Elaine’s office. I thought I’d literally blotched my copybook, but she took it in stride. As I hovered around trying to help her clean up my mess, she asked that I let her know when I needed to go outside.

I have done so faithfully with no exceptions ever since. The following morning, I was sprawling on the floor of Elaine’s office with the ceiling fan slowly whirling above my head just like in my dreams. When the phone rang, it was Teresa at the shelter wanting to know if Elaine was bringing me back.

I take power naps while Elaine works at her computer.

Elaine said, “No,” and then asked, “Bow, do you want to go back to the shelter?” I opened one eye as if to say, “Surely you’re joking?”

After 10 days, Elaine returned to the shelter and made my adoption permanent.

My new life is all I ever dreamed of during those long, lonely nights in the shelter. Oh, the stories I could tell you about my experiences and the people I’ve met in the last four months.

Thanks to my Lab ancestors, I enjoy my daily dips in the ponds.

It’s going to take time

However, I must confess that both Elaine and I are a little worried about her visit to Canada that’s coming up soon. You see, I still sort of fall apart when I let her out of my sight. Once you’ve been abandoned, your self-esteem is mighty shaky.

A disturbing little voice at the back of my head says I could be abandoned again. However, I hope to work out this issue because I don’t want to give Emil, who is a very good guy, any grief while Elaine is gone.

Before I sign off, can I please share one more story? When the youngest members of the Thomas clan visited a few weeks ago, the little boy asked if he’d met me before.

I love kids and they love me!

Elaine shook her head and explained that I was taking the place of Kally, who had died at the age of 13 in February. Then the little fellow asked how long I would be around.

“As long as Bow lives,” Elaine replied.

You should have seen my grin. Right then and there, I knew that I’d truly found my forever home.

Home, sweet home.

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Oh, by the way, if you’d like to hear more about my adventures, please comment below. Perhaps you can persuade Elaine to let me write a blog post again some time.

Find your forever friend at :

Check out the extraordinary dogs that Emil and Elaine had before Bow in this April 1, 2021, post:

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Bow the Dog
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