I just had one problem. My husband, Jack, and I had downsized several years earlier to a home just the right size for us and Sam, our 65 lb. German Shepherd/Rotty/Chow mix. When close friends could no longer keep Sam’s best friend Bozzy, he joined us. Bozzy was a 100 lb. lap dog, a 10-year-old mix of Australian Shepherd and some very large breed. Soon, I found, rescued, and brought home a cat, so compatible with everyone, I named him Buddy. Jack teased that we’d have to add a room to accommodate anyone else. Turning serious, he said, “Please, no more.” He was right, and I agreed. But Harley happened so fast I hadn’t had time to talk to him. I wasn’t worried, though. Not really. Soft-hearted, kind, and patient, Jack loves animals as much as I do. And this just seemed meant-to-be. When he got home, I’d greet him with, “Surprise, honey! It’s a boy!”
Every time I came home, Sam, Bozzy, and Buddy, in that order, lined up just inside the door to greet me. When I was home, all Bozzy wanted was to be close to me. As soon as I opened the door, like he always did, he pushed Sam aside to get to me first.
When Harley arrived I was the one pushed aside. Buddy and I watched the canine ritual of circling and sniffing, sizing each other up. And just like that, there were three, as comfortable as lifelong friends. From there they moved almost as one, Harley getting the grand tour of the house and yard. When Jack got home all three were snoozing in the living room.
Jack wasn’t terribly surprised; he knew Harley had won me over, and could see he’d worked his magic on Sam, Bozzy, and Buddy as well. By bedtime, Jack had joined us under Harley’s spell.
That night as l fluffed Harley’s comforter, wondering where to put it, Sam went to his spot, his comforter on the floor on Jack’s side of the bed. Bozzy’s comforter was on my side, but he didn’t go to it. Following me to the foot of the bed, he waited until I put Harley’s comforter down. With a contented sigh he settled in. Harley went to Bozzy’s longtime spot by me, snuggling against the bed. Beautiful Bozzy had given his bed to Harley.
We knew Harley had found his forever home, forever family. He had adopted us.
We enjoyed watching the dynamics of our trio. Sam and Bozzy knew there was something different about Harley, often sniffing his face, ears, and head. They watched out for him on walks, even guiding at times. Our small home wasn’t crowded. It was cozy, and we were content.
During Harley’s physical exam upon entering the shelter the vet found a small protuberance just below his right jaw she believed to be a foreign object. I dropped him off the morning of surgery and went about my day.
Soon I got a call from the shelter, saying it was urgent, get there now. With Harley under anesthesia, the vet gently opened his mouth to show a tumor so large it covered slightly more than half his throat. I had two options: Let him go now or wake him up and take him home for the days he had left. Days — not weeks or months — days. I held him until the end. The vet and tech shed tears with me.