My Telulah. Known by most as ‘Lula’ or my ‘wretched redhead rescue,’ at home she is most often simply called ‘Lu.’
So Lu and I were mowing the back 40 last weekend, luxuriating in one of the first sunny days after months of relentless gray, wet and COLD. The yard is still rough (too cold to go out!), but on that sunny Sunday, it looked like heaven.
Every few passes as I criss-cross the lawn Lula dive-bombs the mower.* Here she comes, a swooping red streak, teeth bared, scary attack face on.
I can’t help but laugh as she comes flying. Of course I yell, joining her shrill, no-stopping-for-breath banshee bark — “Whoo!-Whoo!-Whoo!-Whoo!-Whoo!” — with my “No!-No!-No!-Nooo!” It would be great — just once — to hear our ridiculous little opera from my neighbors’ perspective (thankfully, they love us).
While it’s admittedly silly, this game moves me deeply. I celebrate these moments for the blessing that my ‘wretched redhead’ is here at all.
. . . R e w i n d . . . November 2007 . . .
Countless animals in need cross my radar daily, and I routinely fall in love about five times a day. Like most in animal welfare, I’ve developed a thick skin, lest I collapse in a puddle of despair for my inability to save them all. Always front of mind is the fact that working to support those in the trenches — in rescue, transport, etc. — is how I can contribute the most.
Plus, while I want to save that funny/only a mother could love /gorgeous/desperately deserving creature (every one of them is), the commitment to my existing (aged) pack means first preserving their comfort and joy.
So in November 2007 there I was, falling in love but holding fast as usual. I received an alert from friend/rescue rockstar Connie Theil about “Peanut,” a “little 2-year-old Doxie” who’d been pulled a day before she was to be euthanized. “I’ve got her,” said Connie. “She’s fearful and kinda crazed; will you put the word out?”
My usual reply was: “Done.” That day, it was: “I’ll take her.” Clearly greater things were at work. I didn’t think; didn’t see a photo; didn’t ask questions. And didn’t have a moment’s doubt.
I collected “Peanut” (in a crate) the following day. In our garage I opened the crate and car doors, and let her settle. In time I was able to get her in the house, where she crouched in a pillow-stacked corner for two days. Eventually she came upstairs, and finally into my lap.
She was beautiful, but she was no Doxie (a breed which, to my disbelief I’d fallen for years before), and not two, but almost five. She was extremely fearful. Laptime and bedtime were challenging — one wrong move frightened her, putting her in defense (read: attack) mode.
Introducing friends and family to Lula (her former name was laid to rest along with her previous life) was handled with great care. She remained fearful and on guard. One day each month, when the new issue comes in, 14 people come to load up to distribute it. While here, the awesome people who deliver Spot pop in, chat, and sometimes stay for coffee or a bite. We call it “Truck Day,” and it’s a circus (in a good way).
As months passed it was a joy to see Lula graduate from having to be held when new people arrived to being able to move about normally, greeting visitors with relative ease. It was wonderful to hear, again and again, “She’s come sooo far.”
Who rescued who
Lu’s been with us almost four years now, and while each of my three is “the dog of my heart,” she is special. As it happens, just before she hit my radar that November day, I had survived a violent near-death experience myself. Those first days together we were both extremely fragile, but alive. Lula had weird bumps on her head, neck and back, which I eventually identified as scabs from the bites of the large dogs she’d been penned with.
Slowly, over time — in great part thanks to having each other — we both grew stronger.
Strong enough to face the future head high and full of hope. Strong enough to take on monsters
. . . even that hateful machine in the back 40, laughing all the way.
Yours in everything pet,
*Fear not: all safety precautions are in place :)