Sunday, October 23, 2022

Petco entry for the win

Here is Leslie's entry for the Petco contest for Reunion Rescue's chance to win $10,000 for the dogs!

 Gauguin: The Art of the Dog

My dog Van Gogh had died at home and was buried under a headstone that said “Companion, Friend, Teacher.” Then there was nothing left but my grief. I knew I wanted another dog, but I was looking for a pit bull because of how maligned they are and Van Gogh had been a pit bull terrier. I emailed Cindy at Reunion Rescue about a couple of dogs on their site. Cindy listened and said she had a dog that needed a friend. She said, “Festus” had been found on a brutally cold day and taken in by someone who couldn't keep him. Festus was a few months old still in “training.” He had been in two foster homes and a failed adoption. Cindy said we should both go for a walk and I should “check him out like a library book.” Reunion Rescue has a foster to adopt program and a 100% lifetime guarantee so no pet ever goes back to a shelter.

I took gangly Festus for a walk and was told he was kind of a pain – super energetic and athletic. After the walk we played fetch and he and I fell into a nice rhythm. I did NOT feel ready, but sometimes the dog knows better and “our time” was just beginning. We have the best adoption day picture EVER. The kids in the neighborhood all came over that day to meet him and they took him on a walk. Everybody loved him.


Throughout many other fosters, other cats, a turtle and many moves, Gauguin (renamed from a close friend to Van Gogh) has weathered the storms. Gauguin outlasted my marriage and several moves – including a cross-country move from Texas to Minnesota with Gauguin in the passenger seat. 
Throwback to his beginnings on that “brutally cold day” and now he has many fashionable coats to keep him warm and dry. He has run many miles and we still walk twice a day. From his frenetic youth, he has slowed to a very sweet guy who loves to lean on me. He is like a Gauguin painting, colorful, bright, mystical.

He's not your average cuddler, but he does allow me to use his hip as a pillow. I am very grateful that he was there with me to visit my difficult mother. He was there for me when I went to her funeral. He always travels back and forth from Texas with me and while he does not seem to enjoy it - he does it without complaint.

Wherever we walk he chooses human and animal friends to visit and people are so proud to be “chosen.” I get lots of strange looks and chuckles as I call him “Sir” when addressing him. It reminds me that he deserves the respect of being a separate and whole entity with his own life beyond our friendship.
Gauguin is my best friend in the world, my soul companion like that Jimmie Dale Gilmore song, “Reunion,” “we’ll remember that we’ve never been apart.”