I’ve had Mayberry for a few months now, and he is showing himself to be a wonderful dog, and a truly worthy successor to Annie. I couldn’t have imagined I’d luck up twice now, but it seems I have.
Readers of this blog know how I first met Mayberry, coming across his listing on Petfinder.com one weekend. I arranged a rendezvous with his foster mom, who had also rescued Annie nearly 10 years ago. Though he appeared a wreck of a dog — lumbering, scarred, with an uneven gait — he placed his big whiskery head in my lap, and I fell for him.
I brought him home about a week later. Since then, I have marveled at his stature and his stubbornness. This dog will stop in the middle of the road on our walks and refuse to budge, forcing me to either pull him by the neck or push him from behind. Treats thrown down the street will work, but not always.
Last weekend, however, I learned more of the big guy’s story when I ran into his foster mom and other animal volunteers at PetsMart.
One person told me Mayberry was at PetsMart every weekend for a year, hoping for adoption. People passed him by, week after week, as he looked out at them from the big pen.
She also told me how kind and patient he was, never growling or fussing with the other dogs. How he tried to sit in her lap every time she rested beside him in the pen.
A year waiting for adoption! Rejected time and again!! The thought just broke my heart.
The heroic lady who rescued him also told me how when she took him from his previous owner, in addition to having nearly starved to death, he was in a filthy pen and covered with “everything,” she said.
He has tested positive for Lyme antibodies, and I think he must have been exposed during his previous life. She agreed that since he has not shown symptoms of the disease in the 1 1/2 years she had him, I can feel pretty good that he was exposed to the disease, but with any luck will not contract it.
When I got home I couldn’t wait to give him a big hug. It’s pretty certain this guy has won the lottery.
And he’s earned it too. Not just with his previous years of suffering, but also with his behavior these days. As I write, he is sharing his big bed with our cat Garbo, who is hogging the lion’s share of it, so to speak.
Over the weekend, I was visited by one of my favorite neighbors, a 10-year-old girl who comes over to visit the animals from time to time. She sat on the floor with Mayberry, petting him, ruffling his fur, patting his head and doing everything short of pulling on his tail. I kept a close watch to see if he was getting annoyed, but to the contrary, he curled up beside her as close as he could get.
So while no one can ever replace dear Annie, the great Bodhisattva and Zen dog, I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have found Mayberry.
And, he might say, the feeling’s mutual.
ON THAT NOTE, if you haven’t seen it yet, this article describes new research showing dogs are at least as smart as human 2-year olds. As I’ve always said, any animal that I have to spell words around has got to be pretty smart.