I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve recently visited the animal shelter so often that I know some of the dogs awaiting adoption recognize me. Yet, Emil and I haven’t felt a connection, that inexplicable spark convincing us a certain
dog has been waiting just for us.
In the last 25 years, we’ve shared our lives on our farm with three dogs. This cast of colorful canines has brightened our lives!
Luke Was Our First Teammate
1996 – Before there was a local animal shelter, Emil picked Luke out of eight puppies in a wire pen sitting outside the vet’s office. While his siblings frolicked, Luke moseyed over wagging his tail. Luke already had figured out that Emil was a good guy. The two were inseparable for 12 years.
2000 – Although Luke was generally Mr. Congeniality, he took his responsibility of keeping wildlife out of our yard very seriously. A growl that started deep in his throat was most impressive.
1997 – Although Luke was a friend to young and old, strangers were reluctant to get out of their vehicles until they were reassured it was safe to do so. Luke had very, very sharp, healthy teeth.
2008 – Toward the end of his life, Luke needed a little help to get in Emil’s Gator. It was always Luke’s preferred mode of transportation and his ticket to lots of fun farm adventures.
Cody Emigrated from Houston
In the late 1980s, Cody gladly wore a red winter coat to please my mother-in-law Geri, who dressed as Santa. When she was away quilting, Cody would hop up in the lap of my father-in-law Pete, but abandon him as soon as Geri walked in the back door.
In 1997, after Geri and Pete died, Cody’s future looked grim. There was talk that he should be put down, so we brought Cody home to stay. Luke had such a big heart that he welcomed the orphan with no reservations. In fact, they shared bones, taking turns gnawing away on them. We laughingly called Luke and Cody ‘the twins.‘
In 1998, Cody rapidly turned his back on city life and developed a zest for rural living. The only thing he asked was to be part of every activity, including keeping me company in my office. One day when I was interviewing a Fortune 500 CEO on the speakerphone, Cody had one of his coughing attacks. The hacking racket stopped the conversation dead, but fortunately, the CEO was a big dog lover.
Kally Was Our Third Partner
In 2008, after Luke and Cody had left us in old age, we noticed a sweet pup named Baby in the local animal shelter’s weekly ad. When we walked up to her pen, she fixed us with a placid stare and slightly wagged her tail as if to say, “It took you long enough. Let’s go home, and oh, by the way, change my name.”
By 2020, Kally and I walked many, many miles together. Also, wherever Emil drove his Gator through our pasture and woods, she trotted alongside, regularly drifting off a little to check tantalizing smells and follow intriguing fresh trails. After she returned from being spayed, Kally vowed to never again ride in a truck or car. She didn’t want to leave our farm and she didn’t. For the rest of her long life, the vet came to see Kally, not the other way around.
In early 2021 as I stroked Kally’s head for the last time, I wondered if she would be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. It’s that mythical place just this side of heaven where cherished pets restored to the best of health happily play until the day they are reunited with their beloved humans.
There will never be another Luke, Cody or Kally. Would you believe there was a
dog out there looking for a new home waiting for us? But that’s another story.
* * *
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Reflecting my cherished Western Canada and Texas rural roots, I am irresistibly drawn to the stories of country people whose lives resonate with purpose, courage and hope. I invite you to read more about them at www.elainethomaswriter.com to see other stories I’ve saved.
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What a sweet story about your beloved canine friends! I never owned a dog as an adult due to a traumatic incident with a dog as a child. Instead, I had many different cats, each with its own unique personality. However, I later learned to bond with several dogs owned by my adult children and thoroughly enjoy my time with them, having become their Grand Ma Ma. They recognize the sound of my car, so don’t even bark when I approach their homes. Instead, they greet me excitedly with love in their eyes once the front door opens. Even though I don’t live with them, I felt a loss when a couple of them died. I hope that you find another beautiful canine friend to fill the void left by Kally, who is waiting at the Rainbow Bridge to meet you and Emil again someday.
Carolyn, I’m sorry that a negative childhood incident with a dog colored your life but glad to know that you are now a happy Grand Ma Ma. Isn’t the unconditional love of a dog a special blessing? Thanks for writing!
Thank you, Rhonda.
What a wonderful story! Our furry friends are such an important part of our lives. We still miss our granddog, Darla, every day. I know she will be waiting for us along with our cat, Freda, at the Rainbow Bridge in Heaven.
Thanks, Bev. Perhaps Darla and Kally are playing together!
What a wonderful story. I have tears. God Bless you for giving Bow a great life. We lost our “baby” in 2014, I still hurt. Can’t replace her yet. For you to do this is like performing God’s work. Taking care of the animals. Smiles, hugs. Keep up your great talent of writing. I’ll be waiting for more Bow stories. Until next time our friend.
Judy, thank you. I’m sorry you and Manual lost your pal, top. Perhaps when the time is right you’ll be able to welcome a new friend. We can’t ever replace a pet. What we find is there’s room in our hearts for another one that wants/needs us as much as we want/them him or her.
Loved reading all about your canine friends. Beautiful story. They love us as much as we love them. We have always had a dog at the farm, the latest came as a puppy for my birthday. Maggie is loyal and fun loving. She is a Australian Shepherd. She, along with our former grand dogs, have been wonderful companions.
What a wonderful birthday present Maggie was! I do miss the companionship of a dog, especially when I’m walking. Perhaps one of these days… Thanks for writing, Catherine.
Our family always had a dog or two and several cats out on the farm that we lived on about 14 miles out of Ganado, Texas.One dog, Tike was just a lazy hound dog. I don’t know where we got him from, and I remember Dixie, the sort of white coated dog that I claimed as mine. She never had pups, but I loved her. She was unique in that her tail curled up and usually stayed that way. I was quite young then and I don’t know if she died while we were in school or what?
Now Tike was the black and brown dog I told you about last year…the one who went hunting the Easter eggs while the family was in church on Easter morning!! I did not care for him. Mom told my brother Dan in later years that she found Tike later that day laying on his back with his stomach swollen up, looking miserable!! He didn’t eat the Easter eggs that the Bunny Rabbit laid later that day.
Barbara, I always enjoy hearing your memories. You have such good storytelling skills. I can see Tike and Dixie. A little girl and her dog! I bet you were inseparable. Thank you for telling us about these old friends!
Thanks, Elaine! Love you. Barbara
Hi Elaine, thanks for your lovely doggy stories! I think our dogs choose us, and not the other way round Three good ones already picked your family and I bet there’s a fourth one waiting for you
Thanks for the positive vibes, Mary. As I have said, we consider adopting an animal as a lifetime commitment. Each becomes an integral part of our day-to-day life. In the best of all worlds, we’re there for our pets and they’re there for us!
We lost our little Sadie to the Rainbow Bridge this January. It looks like Kally enjoyed the same long life. I am sure they are enjoying a bark, a squirrel chase, and maybe even a good nap or two in the sun. Thanks for keeping us full of good memories.
John, I too hope that Sadie and Kally’s days are filled with fun adventures and much peace. I hope when they compare notes that they both remember how much they were loved. Thanks for writing.
Great remembrance, Elaine! Doofus, who appeared to be a Lhasa mix, wandered up our driveway one evening and made us his family for the next 14 or so years. Very depressed at the end of the summers after the boys started college and weren’t home every day. If there aren’t dogs in Heaven, then it’s not really Heaven.
Doofus sounds like he was just what your family needed but never placed an order to receive! You’re right about dogs in heaven. It’s a comforting thought, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your story.
Loved the story. Julie and I have had many dogs in our forty years together. Now we only have three. Always a doxie and usually a healer. Now we include a poodle. Likely as we near crossing time ourselves, these will be our last ones and we may well be the ones waiting on the rainbow bridge for them.
I bet you could cover a wall with photos of all your special pals in the last 40 years, Jim! I also bet you remember each one’s personality. Best wishes to you and Julie and your dogs. Hope the Rainbow Bridge is way, way off in the future. Good to hear from you!
Thanks ET, so well written, as always.
Luke, Cody & Kally will most certainly be waiting to greet you on the other side.
Thank you for continuing to bring focus to adopting the many loving family members that are out there waiting
Love and prayers for your loss
Thank you, Mike and Lisa!
What a beautifully written story about your fur babies. We love our fur babies too. They bring immense joy into our lives. Currently we have four…Pooparoo, Gypsy, Sugarfoot and Freckles, formerly known as Obama, so named by my daddy. When daddy died in 2012, Obama, now renamed Freckles, joined our family. Since we built our new home on this same land in 2020, she now once again lives on the same land where she once lived with my daddy from 2007 to 2010 when she was head honcho riding shotgun with daddy all over the ranch he operated for over 65 years. Freckles rules the roost and boasts longevity in years and in time living on this land, but the other three Pekingese are totally in charge of security detail. They alert us to all strange activity that might be occurring with their little yapping barks. No need for alarm systems here. Lol.
Love your stories…that special puppy is out there just waiting to become part of your family, that much I’m sure of!
Laurie and Rick
In my mind’s eye, Laurie, I can see Freckles ruling the roost at your home. An inherited dog is extra-special. Years before Kally came to live with us, Emil’s mom was in the hospital and a bunch of family had gathered at her house. Cody came over to the sofa where I was sitting and sat down in front of me – his back to me as he watched the others in the room. Someone said, “Oh, look, Cody likes you!” At that point, Cody didn’t go out of his way to build a relationship with anyone but Emil’s mom, so I replied, “Cody doesn’t even know me.” I look back now and think he knew more than we gave him credit for! Thanks for writing.
Dear Elaine, I am sorry to hear about the loss of Kally. She sounds like a lovely soul, as do Luke and Cody. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute. Thinking of you…Spring
Thank you, Spring. I know you are a dog lover, too, who understands the pain of losing a pal, but also the joy of having one in our lives!
Animals have always been an important part of my life. I have grown up with a cat and/or a dog. My mother was not sure she wanted to have “household” animals but soon became the best friend of a small dog (breed unremembered;) that followed her about the house and was even welcomed by the next door neighbor when Mom went over for morning coffee ;o) Thank you for writing your story. If you get a chance to write a story about pet cats, I lam sure it will be as touching and yet enjoyable. Many thanks for telling your stories – and helping us become and stay caring folk.
So glad that pets have always been important to you, too, Janetta. How heartwarming that a dog made its unconditional love felt in your Mom’s life too.
Here’s a link to a post about two cats in my life that I think you may enjoy! https://elainethomaswriter.com/a-tale-of-two-tomcats/
Thanks for writing!
Remembering your black lab from the farm outside okotoks, even in old age he got around
Wasn’t Mutt a sweetheart? He was devoted to Mom but enjoyed everyone who came to visit. He was so easy-going and lovable. Thanks for the great memory, Dawn!
What a wonderful story — perfect for Good Friday. I’m sure that special dog will present itself to you soon.
And sometimes, you find love in unexpected places. The shelter called me last year needing to place a senior dog who’d been picked up as a stray. He’d already been adopted once, but returned in a week because he didn’t fit in with his new home. I’ve told the shelter to always let me know if they have a senior they can’t place, and I’ll come get him. I think it’s heartbeaking for a senior dog to wind up in a shelter.
In Pierre’s case, I feel like he was a gift from God. He’s my constant companion now, and hates to have me out of his sight. I never expected to be this much in love with him. Truly a blessing for both of us.
Bless, you, Liz for taking senior dogs like Pierre into your life. Like Cody, he didn’t have many options left. We never expected Cody to enjoy life so much on the farm when he’d been a one-woman dog all his life and very, very pampered to boot. (Needless to say, his collection of costumes for Christmas, Halloween, etc. didn’t move with him.) I think dogs also teach us about ourselves and if we take the time to notice, provide life lessons. We are hoping for a new pal but take the very relationship seriously. It’s got to be right for both the dog and us or else we both miss out… Thanks for writing!
Elaine, am I mistaken or did I not meet Kally the day you hosted we “Paper Dolls” at your lovely home? I remember meeting who I think was Kally on your back porch. Sweetheart, do not give up visiting the shelter! When we lost Fred (our 9 lb. mini-doxie who you played with at our home!) at age 16 1/2 in 2016, I thought I would never recover from my sadness/depression. Freemon was adamant that we not get another one, causing him to have to watch me re-live a loss that hit me so hard. Several times after Freemon’s death, I thought of getting another–especially during early-Covid days but the shelter was closed for months. I now am content in enjoying the company and antics of my friend’s Allie, Sophie and Sadie. I love visiting with them and they greet me at the door!
Yes, Brenda, thank you for remembering Kally! She particularly enjoyed ladies who visited our home. I know Fred must hold a very, very special place in your heart. What a long, loving life he had! Glad you are content these days to be without a dog but have the affection of your friend’s dogs. You may change your mind one of these days! TAke care and thanks for writing.
Dogs and cats have been part of my life (and Royce’s) forever. Even when we were medical students and not really able to afford cat food, Royce, came home one day with two kittens, who offered us much comic relief when we were “studied out.” Since that time we have had a white German shepherd, four white Labs, and a wonderful Beagle. I miss each one of them still. The best one was the day that we brought Saffy home, with Glory still a very viable member of our household. At first she wanted nothing to do with this “young whippersnapper,” but after about three days, she finally gave up and became our new Lab’s permanent au paire. What would we have done without her?
In my mind’s eye, I can see you two young medical students taking a breather and being entertained by your two adopted kittens. What a wonderful cast of dogs you have had. Watching Glory step up to mentor Saffy must have been hugely satisfying. Thanks so much for sharing these heartwarming memories!
Our dog is 15 and the thought of not having her and trying to find another just right pup sounds like a nightmare.
You’ve expressed our feelings exactly! Thank you, Linda.
LOVE this story. I am an avid dog person. I teared about the last pat on the head and the rainbow bridge. Been there many times. It’s so hard to lose our beloved four legged family members in a few short years. But you are right, they give us such love along the way, it is worth it.Much easier to get along with my 4 legged family than most of my 2 legged family. ; )) Dogs
are one of God’s most precious gifts.
Thanks for your warm understanding, Glynis. Yes, dogs are one of God’s most precious gifts. I can understand that not everyone is a dog person, but I can’t understand why anyone would neglect a dog.