I really wasn’t sure how it was going to play out a few months ago when I welcomed two old dogs with health issues into our home. Would it be too much to take on? Would I be able to help them? Will it become a waiting game?  Could I go through this again?  I was so grateful to have more time with Kipling that last year, but it rattled me and broke my heart.

When my daughter was young, she could sit for hours cleaning and polishing stones she found in the dirt. Bringing out their beauty was her reward. Like mother, like daughter, we both love to bring  the best out in things. For her it’s a visual satisfaction, but for me there is an emotional reward. My heart broke knowing that these boys lost their homes so late in life.  I was determined to help them live their last stretch as bright as possible.

Zak came to me suffering from nightly incontinence. He was overweight, depressed and aloof. Kiefer came here also depressed, as well as itchy, bald, smelly and greasy. And he was afraid he wouldn’t get his needs met.

So here we are after a lot of “polishing”.

Kiefer is eating real food for the first time in 11 years. His hair has started to grow back and is less greasy. The last time he barked at me, he realized I understood what he needed. He smiled and wagged his tail enthusiastically.  He is trusting the flow.

Zak has improved, too. He lost weight, his digestion is great, and best of all he is much more animated.  Every morning he bounces through the air as he heads outside. On a really good day he might even attempt a twirl.  Quite a difference from the old man who puttered into my home a few months ago.

I know that when someone feels good, they are more likely to be tender towards others. Last night as I watched the unbearable news about the Texas school children, tears quietly ran down my face.  Zak, out of character, leapt onto the couch and slid into the tiny spot next to me. He hugged his body perfectly around mine, looked up into my eyes and licked my face over and over again.  It was such an unexpected act of compassion.

The journey with these boys will play out as it will, but for now I have been greatly rewarded.